“The Great Petition Dilemma”

So… in a recent post entitled “Why e-mail petitions don’t work“, I gave figures showing how you’d only end up pissing off the charity/organisation that you’re trying to support if you take part in the standard “e-mail” petitions…

D’ave replied with a solution that he uses… basically saying “Here’s a petiton.  Reply to me if you agree with it… DO NOT sign this message before you pass it on.”  Which is great!  Except that there’s still a lot of manual work to be done…

I guess most other “workable solutions” are kinda tough to actually implement… I guess any real attempt at doing automating this process would be complicated… My three hassles with D’ave’s solution are:

1) You’d still need to sift through the addresses and add up the number of “signatures”
2) People could/would get multiple copies of the e-mail
3) You’d be running the risk that some “kind” sole would modify your petition e-mail, converting it to a “standard type” petition e-mail, hope-ing (sp?) to save you time/effort but only ending up causing your cause more grief that its worth.

So my solution would be to build a website which you could direct people to if they want to sign the petition… they then sign it online and the application records their vote… Possibly recording their ID/passport number, name, IP address, and e-mail address as a way to make sure that nobody tries to enter twice…  [This takes care of point 1]

Regarding getting multiple copies of the petition – you could have a part of the site that says “enter a list of e-mail addresses here and we’ll send them the petition to them (if they haven’t already recieved if, or opted out of petition e-mails)” [This basically takes care of point 2]- the site would need to record the sender’s e-mail address and other details so that it could send the e-mail from them.  And because the site sends the e-mail, there would be no “risk” of anyone tampering with the wording of the e-mail… [This basically takes care of point 3]

Of course the mission would be to make the system easy to use, privacy-friendly, anti-spam friendly, etc. But it could work… depending on how concerned you were about each of the potential problems, you could either leave out that part of the solution or simplify it…


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