The Petition to End All Petitions

May 25, 2004 7:35 AM

Say you're trying to drum up popular support for some ideal. One of the best ways to make me discount your cause out of hand is: a link to PetitionOnline.

This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane. -- The Slashdot poll page.

Does anyone really believe that any cause is going to be served by associating it with the kind of accuracy and balance of opinion associated with online polls? Remember that thing about how you should always send paper mail to politicians, because it proves you care enough to make more than a token three minute effort? That must apply several orders of magnitude more to online petitions. Anyone receiving such a poll would most likely think "It's just a bunch of wackos, and three guys from SomethingAwful voting a few hundred times each" and throw the whole thing out.

PetitionOnline is another one of those lazy options: "How can I convince myself I'm accomplishing something worthwhile, without more than two minutes effort?"

As such, I urge each and every one of you to sign my petition for the abolition of online petitions. You know it make sense. Please pass this URL on to everyone you know, so I can present this petition to PetitionOnline, and by the very logic that defines their existence, they'll have to listen! You can stop the rot! You can make a difference!

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The Petition to End All Petitions Being the sweetheart I am, I like to do my friends favours when I can. Help Charles convince the world to adopt the no more online petitions policy, by reading his post and signing... Read More

No offense intended, but I think the answer  Read More

8 Comments

Elected representatives would rather get paper mail not just because it takes more than three minutes to send, but because the envelope comes with a zip code of the post office the letter originated from, validated by a government agency. It's by no means a perfect science, because you could walk across district lines to send a letter, but zip codes roughly translate into electoral districts, and the people sending the mail roughly translate into potential voters. You're far better off sending form letters by postal mail (if you didn't agree with the form letter, would you have sent it?) than you are by email or through a form or even worse as you suggest, through an online poll or petition.

Oh, that's a great idea. Because, after all, nothing that happens online is really *real*.

Why are you blogging, again? Nobody whose opinion would matter is going to be online reading it. Hey, YOU'RE online. Why would anyone take you seriously? So is that Slashdot bit. Why are you taking that seriously?

Your entire premise is contradictory.

Don't you have some work to do instead of this? I sure do.

Some Guy: Your clue is in the mail. Until it arrives, I suggest you stay away from sharp objects or public scrutiny.

I get blocked from "Advocacy Groups" from work, so you'll have to take my vote as given ... shame I can't go there though, some of the polls (look up the religious ones in particular) are GREAT entertainment.

poor Some Guy, suffered an irony bypass way back in 1998 and never really recovered.

Politicians usually treat a single regular written on paper and posted via the postal service piece of mail with the importance of 5000 emails. So if the organisers can't get 5000 signatures on his stupid petition they would have been far better off just writing a letter anyway.

A letter writing campaign is about a million times more effective than an online petition and letter writing campaigns aren't exactly top of the list either.

"I have read the The Petition to End All Petitions Petition to Petition Online, and I hereby sign the petition:"

Sounds like a re:petition overload to me :-D

Richard: You know that thing where if you look at a single word repeated often enough, the word loses its meaning? That happened to me writing this post.

Dear god, this post is EXACTLY what i am thinking more times than not lately. You get all these petitions for so many things - corporate petitions, movie petitions, government petitions, sports petitions, blah blah blah blah blah....

And do you think anyone in power ever READS these things?

"Petition George Lucas to hire Peter Jackson to direct the last Star Wars film" was one petition a few yeas ago. Like Lucas will be paying attention to that? "Demand George W. Bush's resignation" -- ain't happening even if you DO sign this petition...

ANd they keep happening... Ugh.

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