Online petitions

Everyone say it with me now: Online petitions just don’t work.

The Riverside South Community Association ( is looking to get a postal outlet established in Riverside South. Since the closest one is 20 minutes away, it’s a good idea. So they decided to start a petition and are asking residents to sign. But instead of spending a few days next to the local shopping complex, or going door to door, they decided to post it online (

Right now 55 of 179 signatures are signed anonymous. That’s about 31%. And some of the other signatures are repeats.

I understand there’s an option to not have your signature viewed, but it says a lot about how bad you want a postal outlet if you’re not willing to have your name seen on a petition.

It’s also easier to spam a petition online than it is in person. The association should remember that, as a couple of years ago, one resident posted mulitple times on a web site to have Limebank voted on as the worst road in the province. And what’s to prevent people in Calgary from signing petitions for this area, even though they have nothing to do with it.

To top it off, not everyone has Internet access, and not everyone checks the association’s web site, so most may not even know of it.

This is one time where old-fashioned is better than high-tech.


1 Comment

Filed under Misc.

One response to “Online petitions

  1. Word of mouth can go a long way.

    I agree with you, Tom. While I do think the internet can help out in a situation like this, I don’t think the petition should be online.

    Instead, post the information online, set up times where volunteers will be at malls/public locations, so people can be sure to drop by and sign the petition. Contact information can be posted, so residents can actually talk to someone about it and get involved if they’d like. Using the internet to spread the word is great, but I definitely agree that a petition is much more effective when it’s done the old fashioned way. Putting in the effort to to that shows a lot more committment than taking five minutes to post an online petition.

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