I like to argue that a key to successful crowdsourcing campaign is to ask a right question. It doesn’t really matter what this question is about, for as long as it well-thought-out, properly defined and clearly articulated. For, in the end, it’s precisely the quality of the question that makes your crowdsourcing campaign either success or failure.
Obviously, the ability to ask right questions matters not only in crowdsourcing, but in many other areas as well, including, not surprisingly, politics. I thought about that earlier today when watching the FOX News coverage of the Chattanooga, Tenn., shooting. During the interview with a former FBI official, a caption at the bottom of the screen read: “Chattanooga shooting raises question about lone wolf attack.”
Sure, the Chattanooga shooting raises many troubling questions; however, the one highlighted by the FOX News doesn’t strike me as the most pressing. The question I personally would love to have answered is this: How come that the Chattanooga shooter, Muhammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, had AK-47 in his possession? Who can explain to me why on earth a private person–whether a native or naturalized U.S. citizen; whether born in Kuwait, or Mexico or Kansas; whether a devout Muslim, or Christian, or Jew or an atheist; whether a lone wolf or a gang member; whether a school football player or a church choir singer; whether a brilliant student or delusional lunatic–can lay his hands on AK-47 assault weapon? Not a handgun or a hunting rifle, but the AK-47, a firearm which only real utility is to kill people?
(A side question to ask: is it a pure coincidence that such a shooting happened in Tennessee, the state that neither bans the sale of assault weapons nor requires background checks on private sales, the state that was rated with an “F” by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence?)
Every time a mass shooting happens in the United States, the question of gun control–real gun control– rises…and then gradually wanes until the next massacre. For as long as we choose ignoring this question–or keep asking other questions, like whether the shooter was sane or insane or whether he was “radicalized”–our attempts to fight gun violence will fail. Because it’s what inevitably happens to all campaigns that attempt to answer wrong questions.
Image credit: http://www.rt.com