Who’s who on the Dean Forums. Who, indeed?

Election 2004 | Familiarity

Let’s say you had a question for Howard Dean, leading contender for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004. Here’s the most frequent contributors you may run into on the official Dean For America forums: practical-magic, BrionLutz, NJHack, Grizz, Jakey, Dean-Uber-Alles, Jakey, WVMicko, slam-the-neocons, Bush_Stopper, Zackpunk, Kire, IndieMind, Political Amazon.

A nice, welcoming bunch, right? For all the emphasis on the face-to-face, “Meetups” of the Dean campaign, the official forums look like a rogue’s gallery of cyberspace…

I’ve written a little bit longer on how vanity usernames could undermine trust (see Know your users’ names). Incidentally, it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s an independent set of forums, the Dean Issues Forum, run by Bob Jacobson. The forums have a well-thought out taxonomy, a stable of over a dozen moderators, and– guess what– everybody posts with their full names. A much more civilized place to be. Yet, ironically, not the official site. Too bad; I could have been a useful contributor to the Dean campaign.