By Gautham Nagesh - 06/29/10 06:36 PM EDT
Curtis pointed to his own experience moderating comments on Fark, which allows users to give their often humorous take on the news of the day. He said only one percent of Web comments have any value and called the rest "garbage."
As an example Curtis pointed to the America Speaking Out website recently launched by House Republicans to allow the public to weigh in on the issues and vote for policy positions they support. Curtis called the site an "absolute train wreck."
"It's an absolute disaster. It's impossible to tell who was kidding and who wasn't," Curtis said.
Among the most popular positions as voted by site users are increasing prosecution of illegal aliens, legalizing marijuana and making English the official language of the U.S. Other popular positions include reducing the size of government, repealing "Don't ask, don't tell" and eliminating earmarks and agricultural subsidies.
“To be sure, a casual look at America Speaking Out early on could very well have turned up some of the loyal Fark commentors that Mr. Curtis is so familiar with," said a spokesman for the project. "We have a much less cynical view of the importance of open debate however. That’s why we’ve been encouraging the thoughtful, honest conversations that have come to make up the overwhelming majority of content on America Speaking Out.”
Curtis acknowledged the success of other crowd-sourced endeavors like YouTube or Wikipedia, but said those sites are successful because they have strong leadership and rely on a team of editors to sift the content.
"You need structure, also known as editing," he said.