Public petitions online - Sometimes democracy and high tech go wonky
Posted: 12 January 2013 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have been following the phenomena of online Whitehouse petitions lately. The idea was to allow the public to more easily present their concerns to our leadership. The experiment is a good idea in theory but one which is already exhibiting a fatal flaw. It is now too easy to submit a petition, so easy that every prankster and joker can put up a petition and if enough people find it amusing and sign it the white house has to answer it.

I have seen any number of foolish petitions appear on the site. The latest critically important petition that the white house was forced to take time to answer was one regarding any future plans for constructing a Death Star like the one in Star Wars (See Here). To illustrate the point HERE is a list of some other idiotic petitions.

Sometimes it seems like we live in a world full of adolescents where even the best ideas can be subverted so Bevus and Butthead can have their fun.

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Posted: 12 January 2013 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m not so much bothered by the wingnut petitions because there are millions of ignorant people all too ready to buy into conspiracies and aliens, as I am about the process. I’ve tried several times to sign a ligimate petition such as the one to free Alexander Aan but couldn’t get past the cryptic code that you had to replicate. The numbers/letters are scrambled and barely legible and every time I tried to enter them I would be kicked back to yet another set. It seems designed to frustrate the signer into giving up. I tried signing an earler petition with the same results. Did anyone else experience this or am I just blind?

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 12 January 2013 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 12 January 2013 03:00 PM

I’m not so much bothered by the wingnut petitions because there are millions of ignorant people all too ready to buy into conspiracies and aliens, as I am about the process. I’ve tried several times to sign a ligimate petition such as the one to free Alexander Aan but couldn’t get past the cryptic code that you had to replicate. The numbers/letters are scrambled and barely legible and every time I tried to enter them I would be kicked back to yet another set. It seems designed to frustrate the signer into giving up. I tried signing an earler petition with the same results. Did anyone else experience this or am I just blind?

Cap’t Jack

No, I’ve run into the same problem with some of the capchas(sp?).

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Posted: 13 January 2013 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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You only have to deal with the Captcha the first time when you set up an account i believe. After that you just log in with your user name and password. It’s been a while since i did it but i think most of the Captcha’s have an option for an audio version for those who have bad eyesight. You will see a small speaker icon with sound waves coming from it.It’s just to the left of the word Captcha in the image below. You would think they would make that icon bigger since the people they are directing it have poor eyesight. They had a smart idea but the implementation was dumb.

recaptcha-example.gif

[ Edited: 13 January 2013 06:36 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 14 January 2013 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Sorry, I thought the Death Star one was hilarious. wink

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 15 January 2013 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’m not saying it wasn’t funny. You can’t help but chuckle when you read the white house response, but given all the real issues we should be addressing a lot of these petitions are just idiotic. It makes this whole process a joke. If the purpose of the initiative was to give us all an outlet for juvenile impulses or unfocused rage it seems to be effective. If the purpose was to allow concerned citizens a way to have direct access to the executive branch for real concerns I think the jury is out on that, especially since the the petitions that get the most signatures and attention are the outlandish ones.

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Posted: 15 January 2013 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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macgyver - 15 January 2013 07:31 AM

I’m not saying it wasn’t funny. You can’t help but chuckle when you read the white house response, but given all the real issues we should be addressing a lot of these petitions are just idiotic. It makes this whole process a joke. If the purpose of the initiative was to give us all an outlet for juvenile impulses or unfocused rage it seems to be effective. If the purpose was to allow concerned citizens a way to have direct access to the executive branch for real concerns I think the jury is out on that, especially since the the petitions that get the most signatures and attention are the outlandish ones.

I see your point and I agree. However, how do you ‘moderate’ such a forum without someone screaming about their 1st amendment rights? Who would get to decide what’s nonsense? I think the backlash of ‘censoring’ someone would be greater than just leaving the stupidity. Granted it does use resources to wade through the crap. I just don’t know what a better solution would be…

Take care,

Derek

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