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Kathleen Wynne takes heat for mailed in Reddit AMA

Posted by Derek Flack / February 11, 2014

Kathleen Wynne RedditWhen Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that she'd be doing a Reddit AMA this week, there was reason to be cautiously optimistic that the forum would provide an opportunity for the provincial leader to drum up some interest provincial politics, and, of course, her own position on issues of concern to her constituents. The goings on at Queen's Park don't typically tend to enrapture the general public to the same degree that, say, a cracking smoking mayor might, but taking to Reddit just sounded like a smart way for the Premier to engage with a younger set of voters.

Well, that didn't happen. Instead, Wynne mostly squandered the opportunity by being overly selective about which questions she answered (10 in total) and failing to demonstrate much by way of openness and personality. In fairness, the AMA was only an hour, but the whole thing seemed like it was mailed in. This didn't go unnoticed by those participating in the thread, who racked up over 600 comments and questions, a healthy dose of which were critical of the Premier's perceived guardedness. If you want to interact with a community known for its high level of engagement, playing it too safe can ultimately backfire.

Perhaps aware of the disappointment in her performance, Wynne promised to answer one additional question a day for the next week. What do you think? Did the Premier miss an opportunity here?

Photo by Mark Spowart on Flickr

Discussion

68 Comments

Hazel McCallion / February 11, 2014 at 03:31 pm
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Were there any questions about my wattles? Maybe about my caruncles?
Cyril Sneer / February 11, 2014 at 03:50 pm
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I'm always amazed when politicians do this. Very few of them seem to get how it works.
raccoonw/bread / February 11, 2014 at 03:56 pm
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This was a terrible idea. She didn't just mail it in, she gave up once people started asking legitmate questions. The AMA should be moved from /r/IAMA to /r/cringe.
chester replying to a comment from Cyril Sneer / February 11, 2014 at 04:04 pm
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So true. Everyone talks about AMA's and how they boost the persons profile and issue when they do them right. Most celebs or in this case a bonehead politician think I'll go on Reddit and answer a few obscure questions and they'll love me!

Im shocked she doesn't have a competent Social media expert on her team in this day and age who doesn't understand the demographic of people on Reddit. As a member of Reddit community we admire honesty and we can see and smell bullshit from a mile away.
CaligulaJones / February 11, 2014 at 04:18 pm
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At least we were spared the earnest "I'll just pump my fist when answering a question and hope nobody realizes I didn't answer the question"...
Hazel McCallion / February 11, 2014 at 04:36 pm
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Wattles?
Sacha / February 11, 2014 at 04:38 pm
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"Perhaps aware of the disappointment in her performance, Wynne promised to answer one additional question a day for the next week."

Great. A whole seven more questions.

Really not helping yourself here, Wynne.
iSkyscraper / February 11, 2014 at 04:43 pm
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Politicians can only exist in controlled environments. It would be insane to expect true openness and candidness in such a forum.
Dan / February 11, 2014 at 04:51 pm
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Perhaps she could tell us why she plans to put a gas tax on us after wasting a billion dollars on cancelling the gas plants

CALL AN ELECTION NOW!
AM / February 11, 2014 at 04:54 pm
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Dear Premier Wynne:

Why do you keep raising my taxes and destroying living standards in Ontario?
Chris replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / February 11, 2014 at 04:57 pm
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"Politicians can only exist in controlled environments."

And this is why politicians, as we know them today, will eventually die off. Loss of habitat.
NotThatDave / February 11, 2014 at 04:59 pm
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Only hitting soft ball questions, hmm Wynne's learned something form the brothers Ford.
Josh / February 11, 2014 at 05:17 pm
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What bugs me more about the whole answering an additional question for a week is that her and her handlers now have nothing but time to come up with "answers". We've heard the talking points already, Wynne.
tracey / February 11, 2014 at 06:01 pm
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blogTO, you are in dire need of a proofreader. Call me.
shaniqua / February 11, 2014 at 07:03 pm
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blogTO, you also need a comment moderator. or better yet, delete your comment section entirely. have you ever seen what gets posted in here? dear lord.
Dimitri TL replying to a comment from tracey / February 11, 2014 at 07:17 pm
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Hey baby, I'd love to call you. What's your number?
richard replying to a comment from shaniqua / February 11, 2014 at 07:21 pm
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Shaniqua, it's only the comments I come for. Harsh, unfiltered Toronto at it's best :)
Steven / February 11, 2014 at 08:07 pm
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Someday, we'll see Wynne & McGuinty paying back the province with their 'time' from their lies, thefts etc. Good riddance.
Stacey / February 11, 2014 at 08:48 pm
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I wanna see you Wynne'll it just a little bit
Jubal / February 11, 2014 at 08:51 pm
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Yo Shaniq's why don't you just stop reading the comments then and just let the rest of us lead the charge. Removing the comments? So you want a blog or a newsletter?
Steve / February 11, 2014 at 08:56 pm
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Right or wrong At least Ford created his own YouTube channels so he can control the questions and what he puts out as answers. But Wynne goes to an open forum to m!make it look like she's open but closes herself down? Not the right way to execute Wynne.

Wynne please release the Ornge report/investigation so Ontarians can have the details before the next election OR is that why you're hoarding it?
Hazel McCallion / February 11, 2014 at 09:20 pm
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Wattles? Shaniqua, you talking wattles? Caruncles, maybe?
Hazel McCallion / February 11, 2014 at 09:22 pm
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Release the wattles/caruncles report!
v79 / February 11, 2014 at 11:00 pm
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She and her government haven't properly answered a question during Question Period (or I guess "Oral Questions", as they call it here) since they came to power, why would anyone expect her to start now?
St. Louis du haha / February 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm
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I know it's a dick move to comment on grammar, but this article is awful.
Sonny / February 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm
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Someday we'll see Wynne pulling Norm Kelly by the dog collar! These two have got to go!!!!
Arturo / February 12, 2014 at 02:06 am
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Wow...a criticism of a Liberal politician. I'm impressed BlogTO. Although, I suppose at some point despite one's best efforts - objectivity must start to seep in at some point.
Hazel McCallion / February 12, 2014 at 07:07 am
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Kathleen doesn't have no wattles! Asshat Ford already has wattles!
Dearboiurne / February 12, 2014 at 08:06 am
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And I see your true colors shining through! We need to strip Wynne of her powers right now before she destroys Ontario any more,
Eve / February 12, 2014 at 08:10 am
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Wynne and Stintz in office will be a political powerhouse to be reckoned with. Come on Stintz get in the game already! GirlPower!
Hazel McCallion / February 12, 2014 at 08:34 am
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Wattles Power! If you got 'em, shake 'em like me 'n Rob! But...why does Rob prefer Subway to Mr. Submarine?
Elly Kleinman Americare / February 12, 2014 at 09:31 am
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This is the good alternative. Anyone content incredibly wonderful, incredibly useful for individuals. Thanks a lot.
Bob Trotta / February 12, 2014 at 10:19 am
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That’s some fantastic piece of writing. I just really enjoyed the content very much whereas perusing.
Shauna / February 12, 2014 at 10:36 am
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You're simply the best, better than all the rest
Better than anyone, anyone I've ever met!!!!
kyle / February 12, 2014 at 11:10 am
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She failed hard. I even asked a question, and sunrise surprise she didn't answer it. She did perhaps one of the worst AMAs I have seen during my time browsing Reddit.
Hazel McCallion / February 12, 2014 at 11:16 am
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Thank you very nuch! Wattles Power!
beenthere / February 12, 2014 at 11:21 am
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I don't know why people are surprised that Wynne's answers were dry and canned - that's how communications in the provincial gov't works.

She obviously had her office prepare talking points for the AMA, which are usually written by a junior staffer. Now this is typically a younger person with a much better sense of the appropriate tone for Reddit and online communication, but they're hampered by restrictive guidelines and oversight. So even if there's someone with a modicum of understanding of how a Reddit AMA/internet works, they're completely drowned out by the levels of approval above them.

After that junior staffer wrote Wynne's talking points, at least three other senior communications staff would have gone over them to remove anything deemed controversial or offensive. I'm surprised she didn't respond in English and French, seeing as it's policy to translate everything from the province into both official languages. This is a combination of inherited communications policies and a lack of understanding of the online community with which she was interacting.

The 10-layer approvals process for tweets and social media content everyone's been laughing about from the Feds isn't just a gov't. legend - it's happening every single day at both the provincial and federal levels. There's literally no understanding of the importance of online communication amongst senior management, so it plays out in embarrassing instances like this. It never gets better either - the junior staffers can't secure full-time employment, so they eventually leave for private industry and senior management can continue to exert their ignorant dominance over a new crop of inexperienced contract employees.
Tony / February 12, 2014 at 11:23 am
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The Liberals only answer questions that THEY want to answer. Ironic this happened before 2 bye elections happening tomorrow. What is mind blowing is how a Premier and her staff can go to a meeting so unprepared and not be able to answer any questions that comes their way. I don't think we expect them to be able to answer every question that comes her way but most people would embarrassed for being unprepared for a meeting. Why Ontario these people aren't put on the hot seat more often is beyond me after she has stated her government needs to be transparent and accountable.
Tony replying to a comment from Tony / February 12, 2014 at 11:27 am
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The Liberals only answer questions that THEY want to answer. Ironic this happened before 2 bye elections happening tomorrow. What is mind blowing is how a Premier and her staff can go to a meeting so unprepared and not be able to answer any questions that comes their way. I don't think we expect them to be able to answer every question that comes her way but most people would embarrassed for being unprepared for a meeting. Why these people aren't put on the hot seat more often is beyond me after she has stated her government needs to be transparent and accountable.
R-b F--d / February 12, 2014 at 11:33 am
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I'm honest about lying. Every politician should be honest like me. BTW, I am going to lose the election! Nick is working for Tory! Goody...Crack, Oxy, meth...I have a retirement plan...and I'm going to marry Sandro!
Jerome / February 12, 2014 at 11:47 am
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RESIGN Wynne RESIGN
Rob Lieford / February 12, 2014 at 11:49 am
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I'm a liar?
Dr. Kukko / February 12, 2014 at 11:51 am
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Re-sign Wynne! Re-sign Wynne!
Zara / February 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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It's getting Wynne in here,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz1GKK_9VLE
Redditch / February 12, 2014 at 01:04 pm
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I also like how some of the softball questions came feom Reddit accounts opened that day. Transparent like hazel mccallion's underwear
Hazel McCallion / February 12, 2014 at 01:15 pm
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I don't wear underwear!
Jen / February 12, 2014 at 01:49 pm
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As a newbie Reddit user – It’s a pretty intense place. So I offer props for trying… cause it'd scare the pants off me.
Rob Ford / February 12, 2014 at 02:13 pm
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Neither do I!
Rob Ford / February 12, 2014 at 02:14 pm
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...wear undies, that is.
Rob Ford / February 12, 2014 at 02:15 pm
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Remember: hate, hate, hate...vote, vote, vote!
Sam replying to a comment from Chris / February 12, 2014 at 02:23 pm
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"Politicians can only exist in controlled environments."

This is exactly what gave Ford his appeal. He's uncontrollable by the system and he does not only stay in controlled environments. This may not always work in his favor but its what makes him different from the rest.
Fran C / February 12, 2014 at 02:37 pm
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Reason to be "cautiously optimistic"... Wynne's last ploy was an Ontario "common ground" website. Wynne asked Ontarians for ideas that people could VOTE on. However for Phase II, Ontarians HAD to join the Liberal party and pay $10. bucks for a membership. What a farce THAT turned out to be.
Dr. Kukko / February 12, 2014 at 05:03 pm
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Reason to be cautiously optimistic: people remember Hudak & Hutton's role in the Walkerton deaths & the death of Dudley George. People remember Hudak's lurid anti-immigrant policy. People don't want Mike Harris II with his hate policies - except you haters who like Mayor Hate himself.
Rob Ford / February 12, 2014 at 05:11 pm
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I'm honest about lying.
Fred / February 12, 2014 at 05:14 pm
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Wow MAX HEADROOM has not aged well! Too Bad I missed his Reddit AMA
Kim replying to a comment from Fred / February 12, 2014 at 05:21 pm
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You're right - she does look like Max Headroom - talking head.
Nicky_James / February 12, 2014 at 11:49 pm
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Tell me who's ballin. Rob Ford Story has +250 comments, this one -Wynnes story, Only +50 comments.

TAP THE BOTTLE AND VOTE FOR FORD
FORD MORE YEARS
2014 BELONGS TO us,
Q
Mk / February 12, 2014 at 11:50 pm
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BWOP BWOP THATS THE SOUND OF DA POLOCE
BWOP BWOP
R-b F--d / February 13, 2014 at 02:07 am
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I'm in charge! Vote hate! Four more years of hate, lies and bullshit, hezza and coke, and the love of Sandro Lisi! Take a gander at Sandro's buttocksz! Cha, cha, CHA!!!
Zomicks Bakery / February 13, 2014 at 10:19 am
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Wattles Bakery / February 13, 2014 at 11:32 am
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These are the best wattles. Anyone loved fabulous, wattles for all! Theennnnkkkssss!
R-b F--d / February 13, 2014 at 12:26 pm
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R-b F--d takes heat for mailed in life.
LIB_SUPPORT / February 15, 2014 at 01:04 am
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The LIBERALS are on fire,spending spree!!!!
Tory Support / February 15, 2014 at 09:46 am
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Hudak's on fire, thinks he's George W. Bush! Hate, hate, hate! The return of Mike Harris! Hudak & Harris Forever! Walkerton Lives!
Mike Harris / February 15, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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I endorse my former Chief of Staff, Tim 'Walkerton' Hudak! My former adviser, Deb 'Walkerton' Hutton, now Tim's concubine will really run province, or, you might say, I will. Pinkos, I-rainians, I-raquis---OUT!
Mike Harris / February 15, 2014 at 02:12 pm
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Teachers--OUT! Unions--OUT! Welfare recipients--OUT! Toronto--OUT! Amalgamate Pinko Toronto with Moosonee!
ConservativeSockPuppet / March 15, 2014 at 08:18 pm
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Hillarious: People are upset a politician is a politician on a different media channel. What exactly were you expecting?

People, 1/2 of whom are probably Conservative party comms staff, are upset with the Premier's performance. lol

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