The Petition to End All Petitions

by Charles Miller on May 25, 2004

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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