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I would love to have an open and honest (and civil) AMA from people who are writing these bills. Especially "cyber" legislation.

I personally helped create a government commission in Oakland, California that now decides on privacy topics that go to city council. We need more things like that.




Here's a challenge: how to enable honest AMA for a politician? Every thing a public figure says is read by the media, which gives a very strong incentive for them to not say anything that could damage their public position.

I would absolutely love to get insight into thoughts of politicians and problems they face, but it's hard to trust anything they say on-record, simply because of media pressure.


This is why the Planet Money approach works so well. Rather then an AMA, perhaps there should be two guest economists, and a political topic is chosen to be discussed. The discussion could focus on the economics, which would appeal to the technical side of HN and remove a lot of the typical emotional appeal. I would also propose that for those topics, voting be disabled for the guests replies. The purpose is to show both sides a discussion, and voting typically turns populist on political discussions. (I know about false equivalency fallacy, but I think for politics it is important both sides have a voice)

That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if there is already a HN economical equivalent website somewhere, just its outside our tech bubble so we (I at least), have not stumbled across it.


The very framing of "both sides" is a fallacy: most issues have many distinct sides, not two.


It's hard to fault them for this tendency–they have seen too often that complete openness tends to be risky, without rewards. They're reacting to the incentives the public sets.

One very small thing I'm trying to do is to speak up against unreasonable criticism when it's coming from "my side". That could be conspiracy theories (although the left is somewhat laking in those), or just the silliness of making a big deal out of some misspelled tweets by Trump.

It's much more effective, especially if people know I'm "on their side". I also hope that it could create a "culture of good faith", where politicians could be less afraid of their statements being taken out of context, or being interpreted in the worst possible way.

I have, from time to time, seen some excellent interviews with politicians actually showing that they have deep understanding far beyond the talking points. What usually works is: long (an hour or more), one-on-one, with an interviewer who is genuinely interested in the conversation, and mostly non-confrontational. There was a series of these interviews, called "Through the night with...", I believe, that had a few excellent episodes with this basic setup. "The fog of war" also comes to mind, although it's a different format.


> It's hard to fault them for this tendency–they have seen too often that complete openness tends to be risky, without rewards. They're reacting to the incentives the public sets.

I agree. The problem is systemic. That's the reason why e.g. I never say that some politician is stupid, and very rarely try to attribute malice.

I see how the system is broken, I just wish for some way to work around it, so that we could have a honest and factual conversation with the political sphere.

> One very small thing I'm trying to do is to speak up against unreasonable criticism when it's coming from "my side".

I try to do the same. People look at me weird sometimes, because it's not common. I've raised some eyebrows over the family table by being able to, in the scope of a single conversation, defend both atheism and religion from uncharitable attacks from the other side.


Find a retired politician. They tend to speak the most honest about issues, especially if the issue is over & they're no longer working on it.


There's no "answer" in AMA.


I must be misunderstanding you. Answers are the whole point of AMAs.


AMA is incomparable to anything society had experienced before and it is that way because ordinary me could ask anything unordinary them.

That is unprecedented, and the other part, the answers, are just an usual part of the process - "unordinary they" could use and have used all the tools society has developed since the beginning how to not answer if that suits them. That's called diplomacy.


Still not sure what you mean (besides AMAs being something new on the world stage).

I'm interested in making AMAs more likely to produce honest answers.


You're having some strange attitude toward politics and politicians, precisely you're thinking there's some kind of consequences that block politicians' "honest" approach to things.

So with the AMA too, you're kind of thinking some politician would tell you things in four eyes differently than they would do in front of the millions.

That's the feature dude, not a bug!




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