Topix Launches New Site, Politix, to Capitalize on Election Interest | Street Fight

Topix Launches New Site, Politix, to Capitalize on Election Interest

Topix Launches New Site, Politix, to Capitalize on Election Interest

That the eventual Republican nominee for President will be Mitt Romney remains somewhat of a foregone conclusion, but the GOP’s Super PACs are still in the midst of one of the most intense seasons of attack ads in recent political history. Once the dust settles, their next target will certainly be President Obama. And Super PACs on the Democratic side will be waiting to return fire. And for Topix, and other hyperlocal sites, this means opportunity.

To capture some of the spending on campaigns acutely focused on key districts, Topix has launched Politix, a bipartisan site focused on local users’ opinions around issues and candidates. The site will aim to leverage Topix’s nationwide audience of 10 million users to solicit reactions to curated news items, topical questions, and sentiment polls.

Topix CEO Chris Tolles told Street Fight recently that Politix is different from from the network’s town-by-town aggregation-and-comments sites, in that there will be more editorial oversight and context around the issues and debates presented. He says that he wants the level of debate to be a little higher than on Topix’s local sites, which have been criticized in the past for enabling “vicious” comment strings.

“We’re not going for a huge amount of interpersonal back-and-forth,” said Tolles. “It’s more giving people a place to take a stand and make statements that stand by themselves in addition to the commentary. … The editor will come up with a set of questions like ‘Do you think Obamacare is constitutional?’ or ‘Do you think this health plan will hurt you?’ We’ll put it in front of our 10 million people and start getting throughput from that — as well as going after other people.”

“You’ll be representing where you’re from as you put your opinion forward, and where you’re from is a highly important piece of information for us.”

The editors at Politix won’t are “primarily going to be a curatorial force, as opposed to writing scoops about things,” said Tolles. He said that they will be there to provide analysis around existing content, rather than to do original reporting — at least at first. Each story has an embedded “call to action,” inviting the user to add their comments, which are then integrated into the site. Using a map feature, users can then get a sense of political sentiment in different parts of the country around specific issues. They can also share their political opinions from the site via social media, building up a “personal political platform.”

According to a release, the site will also provide a sort of clearinghouse, where voters can find where all the candidates running for office stand on particular issues. It will also allow users to endorse opinions from particular political leaders, professors, journalists, analysts and bloggers.

And while Tolles said there’s definitely a local component to to Politix, the product has been designed to have a “national feel.”

“It’ll be localized in the sense that we’re using that same technology,” he said. “You’ll be representing where you’re from as you put your opinion forward, and where you’re from is a highly important piece of information for us.”

David Hirschman is a co-founder at Street Fight.

14 thoughts on “Topix Launches New Site, Politix, to Capitalize on Election Interest

  1. Unbelievable. Topix apparently wants to be a player in politics, yet continues to have a poor reputation due to the excessive amount of libel and cyberbullying it allows on its site. I don’t think many people view Topix as a reliable source of information. They have chosen to have the reputation of a gossip and cyberbullying site. For Politix to be successful, they are going to have to change the reputation of Topix by cleaning up their ruthless forums and requiring users to register for accounts. If they want to have a political site great, but when the reputation of your main site is as bad as Topix is, no one is going to view Politix as anything other than another gossip site where cowards go to bully politicians without having the guts to say it to their face.

    1.  Topix Site in the news – admittedly in a negative light by Topix CEO Chris Tolles!

      Full story: streetfightmag.com

      Topix CEO Chris Tolles told Street Fight recently
      that Politix will be different from the network’s town-by-town
      aggregation-and-comments sites, in that there will be more editorial
      oversight and context around the issues and debates presented. He says
      that he wants the level of debate to be a little higher than on Topix’s
      local sites, which have been criticized in the past for enabling
      “vicious” comment strings.The so-called TOPIX
      News Site also has become critically known for the cyber bullying by a
      select few who believe that it is their “right” to exercise their
      opinion as being the only right opinion. These same people also are well
      known for their name calling of anyone who doesn’t agree with them!
      Many local editors have chosen to relinquish their editor status rather
      than continue to endure these “cyber-misfits” insults that go
      unaddressed by the national TOPIX staff, despite frequent complaint documentation sent to them!

  2. Sigh.

    The idea that registration makes everything ok is completely belied by Youtube and Facebook (Have you seen the Holocaust denial section of Facebook?).  We believe the best way to move forward is to give people more to do that involves a more structured set of actions than open commentary.

    In any case, the idea that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line never had to build software.

    Chris Tolles
    CEO Topix

    1. People go to Topix for gossip and bullying and not much even. Even Topix own users have often stated they want registration. The users of Politix are more than likely the same users of Topix so to “give people something to do” isn’t going to change the culture at all. No one has ever claimed registration is going to fix everything, but it will hold people more accountable. Everyone can use a username but should have a verified email address and only one account. You Tube is a ridiculous example, because it doesn’t claim to be a “news site” and if there wasn’t registration, it would be much worse. No one said it would fix everything, but it would improve things a lot. When even many of Topix users want registration that says it all, but apparently the customer isn’t ever right with Topix. I had no problem signing up for a Disqus account and with all due respect, neither did you. The same should apply to Topix.

    2. I wanted to leave another comment after some thought and I don’t want you to think I am attacking you personally. That is not my intention. The problem is the culture of Topix. I am sure the website started off well intended, but the lack of registration, more moderators, and probably too many forums ultimately may have led to a lot of comments, but the vast majority of them are attacks on people. I don’t go on Topix personally anymore, but after I posted a message I decided to check out two or three forums that I recall having been really bad and they are even worse than I remember. In one forum, I found a grand total of ONE actual aggregated news source. Journalism requires some fact and research. I didn’t see any of it there. The problem is Topix has a reputation as a gossip and bullying site. As the saying goes it is, what it is.

      As I stated before, registration will not solve everything, but it will help and it will enhance your reputation. Anytime I am reading an online newspaper and they use Disqus or other things that require user registration and still have a strong reporting system that states users will be banned if they cross a line, I still go in understanding some users will try to abuse the privilege anyway, but at least I know they are doing all they can. That is not the case with Topix because for years you have refused to do even basic things. There needs to be registration. There needs to be more moderators and a more reasonable number of forums. If a county has nothing but 15 small towns, the news is going to be the same. It will either come out of a larger city or will be discussed throughout a county. It makes far more sense simply to have one forum per county (which would actually lead to better discussion) or perhaps combine some towns together, and eliminate those that don’t get many posts or those that are nothing but straight up bullying pages such as the AFAM forum. That one doesn’t have one redeeming quality at all.

      The article was on Politix and trying to build a new product. The article in itself mentioned how badly Topix has been criticized. I would venture that even before the site gains much traction, we all assume it will be another gossip/bullying site. It is one of those deals that in the grand scheme of things giving people “something to do” or from what I recall you (Topix) used to post some polls isn’t going to change the culture at all.  Registration changes it to a degree and as I previously stated sites like You Tube are not news sites and their site would be far worse if they didn’t have it. It is not a fair comparsion because Topix doesn’t get the numbers You Tube or Facebook does and both have stronger reporting systems than Topix has. No offense sir, but it sounds like you are trying to justify things. 

    3. As bad as Facebook and Youtube can be, they are nothing close to Topix. Best way to move forward? Bullshit. Topix wants as many hits and trolls as possible on their forums, irregardless of people’s real safety even. They choose profit over people.

      Politix? Check out the politics happening on Topix forums, I dare you to, David Hirschman.

      Or do you choose not to look? I would like to have an answer to this.

    4.  Who said registration will make everything “okay”.   REGISTRATION would make things better, as would MODERATION — better for the people being victimized on your site, but not better for your  bottom line and profit margin, which is why Topix will not do it.  Speak clearly.

  3. When Chris Tolles says ““We’re not going for a huge amount of interpersonal back-and-forth.  It’s more giving people a place to take a stand and make
    statements that stand by themselves in addition to the commentary. …” he is describing what he has longed championed in his forums as “free speech”.

    Translation:  SLANDER, LIBEL, DEFAMATION and ABUSE A LA CARTE.

    Topix regularly AND I MEAN REGULARLY delete comments or shadow ban comments by people defending themselves against libel/slander and abuse, and promotes comments that will keep the conversation (read: fight) going.  Sometimes their admins get in on the action.  You can see a very clear and concise example of how Topix operates here:

    http://sabinefaustin.blogspot.com/2012/05/topix-your-name-your-life-day-seven.html#more

    Anyone who thinks Politix will be different is operating under either heavy delusion or a wealth of misinformation.  The conversations will be biased, abrasive, and abusive, because Topix believes that drives traffic to their site.

    Honestly, Topix wasn’t successful UNTIL they started promoting this type of commentary in their unmoderated forums.

    I’ve started a petition against Topix targeting their advertisers.  All Chris Tolles cares about is money.  He could careless about the lives destroyed and the people Topix forums has hurt with their freedom to libel business model.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/boycott-the-advertisers-on-topix-com-let-them-know-you-will-no-longer-do-business-with-them

    I’ve read Chris Tolles claiming victimhood on behalf of Topix when he or his site is criticized, in the same breath that he condemns victims for complaining about being attacked on his site (it’s freedom of speech as long as he’s not being criticized).

    This is TYPICAL bully behavior.  Targets of abuse can’t say ouch, they can’t defend themsleves, and if  they dare criticize the bully, the bully will always have a good reason for why it’s okay to hurt you.

  4. Hi omigodoshrine@hotmail.co.uk! Guess what?! The manager called me this morning and I got the job! I’m sure this happened thanks to my spell! When I did your ceremony, I was feeling very confident that this would work… And there it is! I thank you and send you much love.
    Harpeet B.

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14 thoughts on “Topix Launches New Site, Politix, to Capitalize on Election Interest

  1. Unbelievable. Topix apparently wants to be a player in politics, yet continues to have a poor reputation due to the excessive amount of libel and cyberbullying it allows on its site. I don’t think many people view Topix as a reliable source of information. They have chosen to have the reputation of a gossip and cyberbullying site. For Politix to be successful, they are going to have to change the reputation of Topix by cleaning up their ruthless forums and requiring users to register for accounts. If they want to have a political site great, but when the reputation of your main site is as bad as Topix is, no one is going to view Politix as anything other than another gossip site where cowards go to bully politicians without having the guts to say it to their face.

    1.  Topix Site in the news – admittedly in a negative light by Topix CEO Chris Tolles!

      Full story: streetfightmag.com

      Topix CEO Chris Tolles told Street Fight recently
      that Politix will be different from the network’s town-by-town
      aggregation-and-comments sites, in that there will be more editorial
      oversight and context around the issues and debates presented. He says
      that he wants the level of debate to be a little higher than on Topix’s
      local sites, which have been criticized in the past for enabling
      “vicious” comment strings.The so-called TOPIX
      News Site also has become critically known for the cyber bullying by a
      select few who believe that it is their “right” to exercise their
      opinion as being the only right opinion. These same people also are well
      known for their name calling of anyone who doesn’t agree with them!
      Many local editors have chosen to relinquish their editor status rather
      than continue to endure these “cyber-misfits” insults that go
      unaddressed by the national TOPIX staff, despite frequent complaint documentation sent to them!

  2. Sigh.

    The idea that registration makes everything ok is completely belied by Youtube and Facebook (Have you seen the Holocaust denial section of Facebook?).  We believe the best way to move forward is to give people more to do that involves a more structured set of actions than open commentary.

    In any case, the idea that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line never had to build software.

    Chris Tolles
    CEO Topix

    1. People go to Topix for gossip and bullying and not much even. Even Topix own users have often stated they want registration. The users of Politix are more than likely the same users of Topix so to “give people something to do” isn’t going to change the culture at all. No one has ever claimed registration is going to fix everything, but it will hold people more accountable. Everyone can use a username but should have a verified email address and only one account. You Tube is a ridiculous example, because it doesn’t claim to be a “news site” and if there wasn’t registration, it would be much worse. No one said it would fix everything, but it would improve things a lot. When even many of Topix users want registration that says it all, but apparently the customer isn’t ever right with Topix. I had no problem signing up for a Disqus account and with all due respect, neither did you. The same should apply to Topix.

    2. I wanted to leave another comment after some thought and I don’t want you to think I am attacking you personally. That is not my intention. The problem is the culture of Topix. I am sure the website started off well intended, but the lack of registration, more moderators, and probably too many forums ultimately may have led to a lot of comments, but the vast majority of them are attacks on people. I don’t go on Topix personally anymore, but after I posted a message I decided to check out two or three forums that I recall having been really bad and they are even worse than I remember. In one forum, I found a grand total of ONE actual aggregated news source. Journalism requires some fact and research. I didn’t see any of it there. The problem is Topix has a reputation as a gossip and bullying site. As the saying goes it is, what it is.

      As I stated before, registration will not solve everything, but it will help and it will enhance your reputation. Anytime I am reading an online newspaper and they use Disqus or other things that require user registration and still have a strong reporting system that states users will be banned if they cross a line, I still go in understanding some users will try to abuse the privilege anyway, but at least I know they are doing all they can. That is not the case with Topix because for years you have refused to do even basic things. There needs to be registration. There needs to be more moderators and a more reasonable number of forums. If a county has nothing but 15 small towns, the news is going to be the same. It will either come out of a larger city or will be discussed throughout a county. It makes far more sense simply to have one forum per county (which would actually lead to better discussion) or perhaps combine some towns together, and eliminate those that don’t get many posts or those that are nothing but straight up bullying pages such as the AFAM forum. That one doesn’t have one redeeming quality at all.

      The article was on Politix and trying to build a new product. The article in itself mentioned how badly Topix has been criticized. I would venture that even before the site gains much traction, we all assume it will be another gossip/bullying site. It is one of those deals that in the grand scheme of things giving people “something to do” or from what I recall you (Topix) used to post some polls isn’t going to change the culture at all.  Registration changes it to a degree and as I previously stated sites like You Tube are not news sites and their site would be far worse if they didn’t have it. It is not a fair comparsion because Topix doesn’t get the numbers You Tube or Facebook does and both have stronger reporting systems than Topix has. No offense sir, but it sounds like you are trying to justify things. 

    3. As bad as Facebook and Youtube can be, they are nothing close to Topix. Best way to move forward? Bullshit. Topix wants as many hits and trolls as possible on their forums, irregardless of people’s real safety even. They choose profit over people.

      Politix? Check out the politics happening on Topix forums, I dare you to, David Hirschman.

      Or do you choose not to look? I would like to have an answer to this.

    4.  Who said registration will make everything “okay”.   REGISTRATION would make things better, as would MODERATION — better for the people being victimized on your site, but not better for your  bottom line and profit margin, which is why Topix will not do it.  Speak clearly.

  3. When Chris Tolles says ““We’re not going for a huge amount of interpersonal back-and-forth.  It’s more giving people a place to take a stand and make
    statements that stand by themselves in addition to the commentary. …” he is describing what he has longed championed in his forums as “free speech”.

    Translation:  SLANDER, LIBEL, DEFAMATION and ABUSE A LA CARTE.

    Topix regularly AND I MEAN REGULARLY delete comments or shadow ban comments by people defending themselves against libel/slander and abuse, and promotes comments that will keep the conversation (read: fight) going.  Sometimes their admins get in on the action.  You can see a very clear and concise example of how Topix operates here:

    http://sabinefaustin.blogspot.com/2012/05/topix-your-name-your-life-day-seven.html#more

    Anyone who thinks Politix will be different is operating under either heavy delusion or a wealth of misinformation.  The conversations will be biased, abrasive, and abusive, because Topix believes that drives traffic to their site.

    Honestly, Topix wasn’t successful UNTIL they started promoting this type of commentary in their unmoderated forums.

    I’ve started a petition against Topix targeting their advertisers.  All Chris Tolles cares about is money.  He could careless about the lives destroyed and the people Topix forums has hurt with their freedom to libel business model.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/boycott-the-advertisers-on-topix-com-let-them-know-you-will-no-longer-do-business-with-them

    I’ve read Chris Tolles claiming victimhood on behalf of Topix when he or his site is criticized, in the same breath that he condemns victims for complaining about being attacked on his site (it’s freedom of speech as long as he’s not being criticized).

    This is TYPICAL bully behavior.  Targets of abuse can’t say ouch, they can’t defend themsleves, and if  they dare criticize the bully, the bully will always have a good reason for why it’s okay to hurt you.

  4. Hi omigodoshrine@hotmail.co.uk! Guess what?! The manager called me this morning and I got the job! I’m sure this happened thanks to my spell! When I did your ceremony, I was feeling very confident that this would work… And there it is! I thank you and send you much love.
    Harpeet B.

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Name *