CNN's Forum Beta project

CNN has a new interactive political community called the Forum, but it appears to be pretty buggy from what I can see. A Google search for "Forum CNN" brings up no results about the feature, indicating that it's relatively new, although the oldest comment I found was already 18 days old.

Located at theforum.cnn.com, the feature allows users to create a political "badge" that shows which candidate/issues the user supports. This is where it starts getting buggy for me. Each time I try to upload a photo and select my issues, I'm directed to a Symfony error page.

After building a badge, you can go to a "forum comparison" to see where other users stand on the issues. Currently, the most popular issue is the economy, with 62 percent of users ranking it as their No. 1 concern.

The data can also be grouped by age, gender, candidate choice or "voter leage." There are five voter league options:

It's an innovative move by CNN to appeal to that "community" feeling that Internet users so desperately long for.

Although there appear to be minor, arbitrary bugs, the system is surprisingly user friendly. In the section that asks where users stand on political issues, the wording is in everyday language.

Example of question wording:

One plan to reduce global warming would have the government set a limit on the amount of those emissions that companies could produce each year. Companies that exceed that limit would face fines or higher taxes, but they could avoid those penalties by paying money to other companies that produced fewer emissions than allowed. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?

As far as the "forum" aspect of it goes, there appears to be a lot of discussion taking place about the issues (economy, energy, health care, security, Iraq, social issues, social security). So far, the economy is in the lead with 1127 comments and social security is in last place with 237 comments.

I'm not sure how long the forum will survive because it's not the type of community that's continually updated. It feels as though you put in your information once, snoop around a little, then never return. It's not the kind of thing you need to experience more than once.

UPDATE: Just found another bug, after submitting responses to where I stand on the issues, I got this message:

djdub63, based on your answers, here's your political badge!

I definitely did not register as djdub63, but as laumichell. The badge doesn't match my question responses. I cannot find an option to change my name or my league back to what I registered as. Instead I'm stuck with some random person's political views on my account. Interesting.

In theory, it's a great concept, but maybe they should have waited to launch it. I guess they call it "beta" for a reason.