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opinion: online petitions, and blanket servey postings


Before I start my article I wish to post some administrative notices.

One of the search previders, google is stating that the site is not
fitting all mobile screen sizes well.

Also that images and text are to small, and several issues like this.

These are not critical issues so I have ignored them, but if these are
the case then maybe something may need to be done.

Nothing has errored out just yet but I could investigate if we need
extra tools etc for all this if it ever becomes an issue, comment or
email me or jared or something and we can look.


As you may or may not have been aware we had what looked to be an
unscheduled outage last week.

It seems to be however that we had an unannounced system upgrade as we
are now using the latest php, a thing we have been asking our previder
to upgrade for the last 1 or so years now.

I am happy we are using the latest and most stable version of php, this
should mean we have another 2 or so years before we need to be concerned
again, however it took ages to get what we needed and it could be ages
before we can get another one.

Lets hope things continue to run smoothly.\

Hi all.

As I sit in my dreery rainy office / bedroom in my house, with the front
door open due to it being needing to be fixed and in the process of
being fixed, I have been catching up on the blog and various bits of
flotsom coming accross my desk.

Firstly, I have noticed that a lot of servays have been appearing.

Asking questions like Is your blind child effected by this virus, or is
your job or your education, effected, or is your business effected, or
are your workers effected and so on and so on.

These and other such questions pop up daily from various sources,
organisations, lists of organisations, unions and other organisations
wanting to  get stats on the lockdown.

But here is the thing.

The questions in and of them selves and the links and the servays are
quite important things.

The information and the statistical data is quite important.

The virus itself is a really important topic world wide.

Here’s the thing.

Yes its logical to post that to everyone that may be interested, however
its really no good if you then chainmail it out to everyone, every list,
forum, usergroup and personal email address you have in your entire
google contact, facebook contact, twitter contact, in hopes you will get
a hit.

Granted, you could send to organisations and those organisations could
send things out to those in their databases likely to be a parent,
teacher, business owner etc that may in fact be able to answer these

But its a little harder, you can’t just blanket post.

Blanket posting will insure you get your information out there.

However, there is a slight drawback.

A large amount of your users will get the information, a large amount
who are not targeted by it.

At best they will just delete the information and accept that this is
going about as I have.

But you could potentially get your users reporting you as spam and
getting you blacklisted all over the places or unsubscribing from your
news lists or not recommending you because you fill their mailboxes up
with spammy serveys amd mail which is not targeted at them.

I have not reached that point but a few serveys have appeared on
organisations like afb, nfb, aph all at once.

These filter down to users that chainpost them all over the place.

I need to now review all my mailboxes, spam, and other things and before
I read a single mail I have to delete half the messages in there, and on
some forums report/block certain users and topics full of serveys.

Its calmed down now though but is this blanket posting of serveys a good
use of resources?

If you are from an global entity like world blind union I guess I’d

But if you are in organisation x posting to y and then z and then to all
other organisations it may be better to get targeted serveys to those in
the database the servey matched with.

Some general posting is fine to a point to and some users will pass that
about to a targeted few.

Now though I am getting serveys at least 10-20 per day most of which
don’t have anything to do with me.

It may be only 2-3 serveys posted to various places, forums, news
letters, etc, from various organisations I am on but then users will
chainpost on and on and on.

For now its all quiet but it seems quite a waste of resources if 50% of
all users may not be your target.

Others may have a view and I encourage descussion.

Next, do online petitions actually work.

News stories I have read over the years suggest they don’t.

Firstly a local news broadcast suggests that they are legally nonbinding.

That in plain english means you give a corperation a bit of paper or a
site stating you don’t like them and they can just ignore it and not do
much about it.

So these are to make you feel good.

They mean nothing, but they make the user think they have done something.

Some sites and news feeds suggest they make others take notice as it
shows the feeling of users in such things as a country where governments
use this form to gage their voters feelings.

However its known that this is just a feel good thing.

What isn’t talked about though is the down side.

To sign these you need to put your name, email address and in some case
the country you are from and your comments if any.

Now granted getting where you are from, your name and email address aint
that hard to do these days.

Some sites get you to set an account where you put a username, password,
address, phone numbers, etc and so on.

Again its not a bad idea in the scheme of things.

If you want someone’s address, phone number mobile or otherwise you can
legally easily get it.

But what seems not to be talked about is who owns these petition sites.

Where is your data going.

There is no garantee that someone is getting and using it.

Names and email addresses are bad enough for spam, phone scams and
junkmail are a bit of an issue but thats not the worse of it.

There are plenty of things someone can do with your mobile, phone, email
and physical address including, physical things like potentially kill
you or rob you.

They can also target you in online swatting, hacking, spamming and

They can be as spaciffic as they want to.

Someone is getting your data, that someone is the company behind the

And for all we know its china or someone.

True you can find out who owns x site easily enough but as other
articles on this blog have shown with wire labs for example this means
absolutely squat.

Names, addresses and all sorts of things can be faked.

You can even make fake creditcards these days.

So now not only are online petitions just feel good they could possibly
be potentially dangerous.

Also, any user from a conciderate organisation to a concerned citizin to
an utterly spoilt brat wanting to be a troll can make one.

I have had several and most of them are written out.

However I have had a couple from whining trolling idiots that are hoping
people will sign their whinings so they feel good.

Sadly with this virus going about these guys have increased.

These trolls will ask how to get money for free, etc.

Of course you can just choose not to sign.

I have signed a few just to make me feel good even though I know it
isn’t worth a damn.

I don’t do this all the time but it does concern me that no one has
looked at the potential user impacts of these online petitions.

The only good thing with the various privacy rules and laws about
especially in the climate of covid 19 especially with contact tracing
every government company and respectible entity needs to put what they
need to access and why in simple and readable english.

If they need to breach privacy run spying or servailance they need to
within reason tell people what they are doing, where they are doing it,
why they are doing it if applicable and when they are doing it and how long.

A lot of grey about and a lot of criminals but assuming things are all
good its still something not addressed.

We do know for example that selling and buying on facebook could be bad
and setting privacy information and misconfigurations in places from
facebook to organisations can be costly.

But no one has really researched how dangerous needlessly posting our
information to somewhere that has no gain what so ever.

It is clear that someone has a lot to gain, pitty its not us, the users.

Informazioni sull'articolo

opinion: online petitions, and blanket servey postings was released on May 2, 2020 at 9:28 pm by crashmaster in general-updates-and-announcements.
Last modified: May 2, 2020.

Comments (1)

  1. Comment by tech date 4 May 2020 alle 12:26 (),

    There is a page on facebook where someone posted a petition to get sites on the Internet to put up accessible captchas. While I signed because I feel it is worth my time, I highly doubt that we will ever get accessible captchas. I tried to implement captcha on a site and got nowhere. I like the one we have here on the blog, but it is integrated through a plug in if I understand it right.

    Most of the time I don’t sign petitions, I’ve signed a few from Demand Progress, but most of the time I see them and don’t think anything of it.

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