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We The People Petition Signature Requirement Bumped To 100,000 337

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the making-it-harder-to-accomplish-nothing dept.
New submitter schneidafunk writes with news that the White House is raising the signature requirement for petitions from 25,000 to 100,000. From the source: "When we first raised the threshold — from 5,000 to 25,000 — we called it 'a good problem to have.' Turns out that 'good problem' is only getting better, so we're making another adjustment to ensure we’re able to continue to give the most popular ideas the time they deserve. ... In the first 10 months of 2012, it took an average of 18 days for a new petition to cross the 25,000-signature threshold. In the last two months of the year, that average time was cut in half to just 9 days, and most petitions that crossed the threshold collected 25,000 signatures within five days of their creation. More than 60 percent of the petitions to cross threshold in all of 2012 did so in the last two months of the year."
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We The People Petition Signature Requirement Bumped To 100,000

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  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by longbot (789962) <longbottle@gmaCHEETAHil.com minus cat> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:39PM (#42609097) Homepage
    "We got tired of answering crazy shit like building a Death Star or putting a Starbucks on the moon, so we want to make it more difficult for the people to express crazy shit while still looking like we give a damn about them."
  • by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:40PM (#42609101)

    Thanks to those who started petitions for Master Chief statues, roaming motorcycle gangs of justices, and Death Stars. Without you folks making jokes out of serious attempts to make political headway on important issues, we might not have had our collective voices diluted. Making a mockery of those interested in forcing the white house to defend, or oppose, or otherwise make a solid stand of issues sure is helpful.

    Let's see what nonsense you can come up with to raise that threshold from 100,000 to 250,000.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:40PM (#42609111)

    at 9 days for 25,000 (if that rate is sustainable) were looking at 36 days to hit 100,000 on a 30 day petition... well played white house

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:40PM (#42609119)

    Perhaps if people stopped submitting nonsense petitions there wouldn't be a need to adjust the threshold for an official response.

  • by waspleg (316038) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:44PM (#42609169) Journal

    People only did this because they ignored the real petitions and even most of the ones they answer are canned bullshit PR responses. It's a gimmick to make you think they care at all in any way whatsoever what you think.

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:46PM (#42609187)

    Making a mockery of those interested in forcing the white house

    As if this is bad? The point is awareness that unless you pay money, nothing will change. Making a joke about a joke is not bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:47PM (#42609201)

    Y'know guys... if there's an overwhelming number of petitions to dramatically change things, maybe, just maybe, you should consider actually fixing shit that's constantly being petitioned about instead of saying "no, fuck you", and closing the petition.

    Okay. How about if there's an overwhelming number of petitions for ridiculous garbage like building Death Stars or annexing Canada? What should they consider doing then?

    I'm thinking they should raise the number of signatures that trigger a response, but that's just me.

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:51PM (#42609291)

    Making jokes out of serious attempts to make political headway on important issues

    Ah hahahahahahaha.

    Wait, you're serious? The jokes are the only ones getting attention because people have realised just how pointless putting a real issue up for debate is. Bring up anything remotely important, and all you'll get is the canned response about how the current policies are best.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:52PM (#42609311)

    I'd hardly call these petitions a "serious attempt to make political headway." People figured out pretty early on, from responses like that to the highly earnest pot legalization petition, that the White House was basically going to be using these things to trot out boilerplate responses and the occasional cutesy "haha, Star Wars reference" fluff piece. Better that people recognize these petition responses for the pointless PR exercise they are than labor under the delusion that this (or any) administration cares that a few thousand people have signed a viral internet petition. If you want to actually influence the policy of either political party on a federal level, you better bring a few hundred million dollars (or a few thousand swing state voters) to the table.

  • Re:Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rhacman (1528815) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:01PM (#42609457)
    And the sad thing is that in all likelyhood raising the threshold will just filter out more of the reasonable petitions in favor of the pop-culture distractions and other bat shit crazy petitions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:04PM (#42609501)

    Perhaps if they stopped submitting nonsense responses there wouldn't be a need to submit nonsense petitions.

  • by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:04PM (#42609515)

    Thanks to those who started petitions for Master Chief statues, roaming motorcycle gangs of justices, and Death Stars. Without you folks making jokes out of serious attempts to make political headway on important issues, we might not have had our collective voices diluted.

    You have it exactly backward. People did take it seriously. Only when it became apparent that the administration did not also take it seriously, did we begin to deliberately mock the system with these made-up issues. It is clear the administration doesn't care what petitioners are saying. By filling the queue with ridiculous nonsense we are perpetrating a satire designed to expose the false nature of the thing.

    When the administration takes it seriously then we will also. We started in good faith and received only bullshit in response. Now we're feeding the bullshit back into the system.

  • by causality (777677) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:16PM (#42609697)

    Maybe the government is just compiling a list of people who's votes should be filtered out if they sign a petition that the government is not to keen on?

    That is one reason, among several good reasons, why we have a secret ballot [wikipedia.org].

    Be assured that anyone wishing to change that has malicious intentions, no matter what excuse they provide.

  • by sconeu (64226) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:20PM (#42609749) Homepage Journal

    Because responding to a petition to eliminate (or reform -- I can't remember) the TSA by having the HEAD OF THE F***ING TSA tell us about the awesomeness of his department, and completely ignoring the issues raised by the petitioners isn't making a joke of the process?

  • by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:20PM (#42609761)

    Does it really matter? It's a piece of theater to placate idiots into thinking anything they have to say -- even in numbers -- means a shit. Make it five people. Make it a million. It's irrelevant.

  • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:25PM (#42609831)

    Perhaps if people stopped submitting nonsense petitions there wouldn't be a need to adjust the threshold for an official response.

    Exactly.

    Death Stars? Really?
    Thanks a lot all you idiots that jumped on that bandwagon! Nice Job.

    You've proven to the elected officials that constituents should be ignored. Happy now?

    Equal bitchslaps are deserved by this administration for agreeing that any obviously ridiculous request gets consideration if it shows up in the in-box with enough idiots signing on.

    The US has a republican form of government [wikipedia.org], a Representative Democracy, because the founding fathers foresaw this level of idiocy.

  • by Your.Master (1088569) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:26PM (#42609861)

    If the threshold were 1, it would clearly be too time consuming.

    If the threshold were 300 million, where you need near-unanimous support, it would not.

    Finding the right balance, especially when the response rate is increasing, is nontrivial. You must also consider the petitions that aren't utter nonsense but are stupid or impractical for non-obvious reasons, and the fact that even for valid petitions you can only consider so many unless you want to burn another $200k per year taxpayer money for more help.

    I don't know how much time is actually spent on nonsense petitions (I saw a few), bad petitions, etc., and I don't know what a reasonable projection is, but there's no reason to be married to the number 25000. Maybe the right number is more. It might even be less, but I honestly though 25k was a bit low in the age of the Internet. A single tweet from a high-profile celebrity would be almost guaranteed to turn into a petition no matter what its merits.

  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:31PM (#42609913)
    In a democracy *the people* are the arbiters of what is 'nonsense' and what is not. Not some jumped up bureaucrat or an AC fascist apologist. While I might not agree with the Death Star petition, nor the Sharia for USA petition, it doesn't mean that people shouldn't have the chance to put anything to their fellow citizens and have the White House consider them without raising the threshold to un-democratically restrictive levels.
  • by dnahelicase (1594971) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:42PM (#42610055)

    In a democracy *the people* are the arbiters of what is 'nonsense' and what is not. Not some jumped up bureaucrat or an AC fascist apologist. While I might not agree with the Death Star petition, nor the Sharia for USA petition, it doesn't mean that people shouldn't have the chance to put anything to their fellow citizens and have the White House consider them without raising the threshold to un-democratically restrictive levels.

    I think people should be allowed to put anything forward, and they still can, the threshold is just bigger before the White House will recognize it.

    Given how these have taken off, I don't feel like this is unreasonable or in any way undemocratic. If it only takes about a week to get 25k, it seems like 100k should be in reach if its a half decent petition.

    I mean, isn't that around 0.03% of the population? Up from around 0.008%?

  • by oGMo (379) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:51PM (#42610197)

    In a democracy *the people* are the arbiters of what is 'nonsense' and what is not.

    Don't make me laugh. If popular news media, slashdot, and 4chan are any indication of anything, it's that "nonsense" appeals far more than "sense". A lot of people are going to vote for something because they think it's funny.

    If the majority of people were reliable arbiters of sense, we'd have a lot fewer problems in the world.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:55PM (#42610273) Journal

    The White House itself demonstrated that the petitions were worthless long before any sarcastic petition got approved. 75,000 people asked why Cannabis could not be regulated like alcohol. The White House had the drug czar, who is statutorily prohibited from advocating for drug law reform, respond. He failed to mention alcohol once.

    If the White House won't treat our petitions with respect, why should we treat their petition site with respect?

  • by snadrus (930168) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @06:21PM (#42610659) Homepage Journal
    even worse:
    Disban the TSA? here's a response from the head of the TSA
    Legalize a drug? Here's a response from the director of drug law enforcement
    They don't even have a disinterested person (or someone capable of fulfilling the request) respond.

    What we need is a petition system for congressional bill consideration.
  • by runeghost (2509522) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @07:32PM (#42611377)
    Somehow I doubt the "majority of people" in the U.S. would be in favor of:

    regularly using robots to kill random strangers in distant countries
    spending hundreds of billions prosecuting minor, victimless crimes
    while consistently ignoring massive and wide-spread criminal wrongdoing by giant corporations because, "hey, they're big!"
    handing control of their currency to a clique of unelected bankers who then hand out said money by the (virtual) truckload to the aforementioned giant corporations
    cutting sweetheart deals with industry on everything from medical care to oil spill cleanup, at the expense of said majority
  • by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @09:00PM (#42612165) Homepage Journal

    .

    Death Stars? Really?
    Thanks a lot all you idiots that jumped on that bandwagon! Nice Job.

    You've proven to the elected officials that constituents should be ignored. Happy now?

    I think it was a way for the people to say "you don't seem to take this seriously, so why should we?"
    Name just one petition that caused any change, or even that the government appointed a study group to get facts. This is no better than your congressman's automated canned replies stating how much he values your input, followed by ten lines of text proving that he didn't value it enough to even skim-read it. Well, the difference is that the congressman sends a reply for each petition, while the government is honest enough to admit it ignores individuals (but not honest enough to admit it ignores thousands of them too).

    Sadly, the only way to the government's ears is through a CEO (or, for some presidents, through charlatans like astrologists and reverends).

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @09:50PM (#42612621)

    no one reasonable ever thought that this was a real thing.

    the fact that people BOUGHT this bullshit (that those in charge care about our needs) is even more amazing.

    give it up, people. they don't CARE about us. they simply don't care. they got theirs and that's all that matters to them.

  • by nadaou (535365) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @12:54AM (#42613827) Homepage

    "I've said it before and I'll say it again, Democracy simply doesn't work."
        -- Kent Brockman, Channel 6 News

In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

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