Want to know why some campaign websites are so restrictive, often taking days to approve user generated content?  Check out this post on Techcrunch about a very disturbing hiccup Arrington found on the new Obama website.  Yikes.

I've seen lots of hiccups like this in my time.  I remember doing some political work a few years back and a volunteer complained about an auto-generated password we sent him.  The password was similar to a certain racial slur in its combination of numbers and letters.  I was told by the client to figure out a way to make sure our auto generated passwords didn't contain any offensive letter  and number combinations.  Good times.

Campaigns live in fear of this stuff.  With social networking features, I think you've just got to accept that you are going to take some lumps on occasion.  The returns are worth the risk.

Update: Joe Rospars from the Obama campaign shares his take in the comments of Techcrunch. 

The past few years have taught most people that it’s a non-story when people post crazy/critical/racist/whatever things in the comments on a politician or organization’s site, and that’s what makes it possible for people in jobs like mine to keep these tools open for all. It’s going to take all of us, no matter what candidate you support, to avoid pretending these kind of things are stories to continue to make progress.

In general I would hope that folks concerned about questionable content on the site will turn to the system of flags or some other means of contacting the campaign directly rather than playing “gotcha”. If we want to play that game, there plenty of content in the comments on the blogs of both the Republican and Democratic Party’s web sites to keep us all distracted from the real task of building better technology, engaging more people, and opening up the process.

Update 2: Cybersoc has a good piece on the controversy. 

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.