White House Petition Site Turns Three, Still Toddles
This week marked the third anniversary of the We the People website, an online public petition portal developed by the White House. On the occasion, Connectivity editorial advisor David Karpf took a fresh look at the project on his Shouting Loudly blog.
Prof. Karpf has been critical of the White House’s benign neglect of the website, which saw its participation rates evaporate this spring after very robust growth at the end of 2012.
On its third birthday, Karpf praises We the People’s developers for prepping a soon-to-be-launched API, which would get the program around a fundamental problem in its design given that, as a government property, it can’t ethically (or politically) capture user signup data for future activist engagement. Releasing the platform for others to gather signatures and then deliver them to the executive office, “could be a very powerful work-around,” he writes.
He’s in less of a festive mood, however, about We the People’s claim that its user survey showed that nearly 80 percent of people who signed a petition on the site would do it again. Looking at the participation data released by the White House, Karpf notes that only 40 percent of users actually had signed more than one petition in three years.
Some Birthday Wishes for the White House Petition Site (Shouting Loudly)