Why you should submit videos for the YouTube Republican debate

The Entertainment Consumers Association's (ECA) is encouraging people to add videos with a contest to get you, dear reader, to submit video questions "pertaining to game consumer rights" for the upcoming CNN / YouTube Republican debate set to air on September 17. . We think it's a great idea.

But don't do it for the free t-shirt from the ECA; we want our readers to think about this and be intelligent in the questions.

Formulate your thoughts. Read up on the issues, check out recent legislation and the Video Game Voters Network. (While you're at it, definitely sift through the GamePolitics archives.) See how other entertainment industries are regulated (e.g. the MPAA) and how you feel that compares to ours. Do you feel Manhunt 2's ban was just? How do feel about current candidates, such as Mitt Romney, who are already laying out their stances on video games in commercials? If you don't like it, challenge him, but be smart in your retort.

Perhaps most importantly, remember your audience: a group of politicians with likely very little knowledge or first-hand experience with video games. Educate them with your question. Maybe even think about asking them generic questions such as how much they have played video games or if they feel the format is ever capable of being art? But if you do, be sure to talk about why it's important they answer what appears on the surface a fairly menial question.

Don't forget about issues peripheral -- but still important -- to the industry, such as net neutrality.

This is a young industry, and external decisions (such as legislation) can greatly influence the direction it takes. If you feel like it should be protected, tell the government just as much. You may not -- scratch that, you probably won't -- receive the answer you want, but without asking, you'd never have the chance to know in the first place. And our politicians should know what's important to us and should be pressed on issues that matter, because if we don't talk to them, who will?

Sure, you may not like it, but read up on opposing viewpoints contrary to your own. It might help refine your own opinion or enlighten you.

Videos should abide by the YouTube debate rules. Here are video questions from the Democrats debate so you can get ideas as to what you feel works and what you feel doesn't. And, dude, dress up a bit. We don't need to see your gamer fashion juxtaposed with suit-clad candidates.

We only wish the ECA had started this contest with the Democrats debate, given Hillary Clinton's prominent stance on game legislation. We can only hope they continue to run contests with every upcoming debate.

Those who do submit a video question should email the link to along with your name, address and phone number for a free t-shirt. Also, let us know in the comments below; we'll be highlighting the best ones we see.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.