An Important Message About Online Petitions – They Are Not All Created Equal!

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pen-signatureI’ve been frustrated and annoyed by many of the Petitionhub and Yousign petitions crossing my Facebook timeline.  Many images look like they were captured with ancient technology,  and while some or most of the images were clearly real,  the incidents themselves are usually very dodgy and “targets” are often vague or entirely absent.  Sometimes there are few clues as to who the perpetrator is either.  When did they happen?  Who is going to send signatures to the target?

Recently, a petition criticizing something Madonna did to her chihuahua dogs in the 90’s was being circulated.  I wondered,  how is this actionable?  Even if true,  why is it being circulated now,  and what possible action could be taken 25 or so years after the alleged incident?  It seems there are many more worthwhile and articulate petitions upon which we can focus,  and I have personally seen that informative,  well-written petitions do get attention.  So I blocked these two apps on Facebook because they were sensationalist,  the incidents were often undated,  they were without targets,  and often written in bizarre language as if the user’s only exposure to English was via Bing Translate.  So please read on,  and please don’t stop writing petitions or letters!  Also noteworthy is the fact that Canadians will be able to submit digital petitions to the House of Commons after the election later this year.

Written by:  Susan Davis

You have heard activists dismiss petitions with a wave of the hand, and frankly when I first opened an account with Facebook I wasn’t so sure about petitions myself and initially veered away from them.  I have witnessed petitions on social media long enough now to know that they have validity…

DO PETITIONS WORK?:

YES they do often work!

I have witnessed petitions work, and the majority of times they work in conjunction with other types of advocacy, but I have been surprised at how often they also work singularly.  Here are some examples of recent victories where petitions either worked in conjunction with direct outreach/demos or were successful as the primary method of advocacy:

1.  Mattel, makers of Barbie ends production of all SeaWorld branded merchandise

2. Global Conservation Group, headed by Jordan Turner were the key players in stopping St. Patrick’s Parish of Wisconsin from hosting anymore pig fighting contests.  However GCG used petitions as part of their endeavor, and numerous signatures played a part in their success.

3. New bills are being introduced in several states to crack down on animal abuse, of particular interest is the one in Las Vegas that is picking up steam thanks to activists there and their use of petitions.

4. Colorado’s Ag Gag bill was defeated.  Obviously this wasn’t petitions alone, but again numerous signatures helped legislators see what the public was demanding!

There are many other examples of successes brought about with the help of petitions or petitions alone.  A great facebook group for activists who have a half hour to sign a slew of petitions is the “ANIMAL ADVOCATE CORNER“.  This group founded by Annoula Wylderich, is strictly for action, no social stuff, and as a result the numbers of signatures are tripled in far less time than relying on the news feed alone!

DON’T STOP WRITING LETTERS:

Nobody is saying to sign petitions in lieu of writing letters.  Letters are far more effective, especially if they are unique and personal.  But none of us has time to write letters covering every aspect of online_petition_0animal abuse.  So the user-friendliness of petitions comes in very handy.  Really, unless you are the author of the petition, there is very little work to do.  Comments help but sometimes we can’t find the words, so a signature will do.  Signing anonymous is just ridiculous, you may as well not sign if that is how you are going to do it, most legislators dismiss anonymous signatures, they don’t count them, and in some cases an entire petition will be thrown out due to one anonymous signature.

I happen to love the petitions by change.org, I have never had a problem with them.  What I would like to see by ALL the authors of petitions is to let us know sometimes when you deliver them and who you delivered them to, and of course let us know if they had an impact, PLEASE!

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

I was just informed by a very trustworthy source that Petition Hub and You Sign Petitions are indeed fake. What “they” are doing is using OLD abuse cases (the most horrific sounding ones) and selling OUR NAMES to SCAMMERS!  I was told this before and I didn’t take it very seriously. NOW I believe it, you can verify what I’m saying yourself by looking at “Nigel Cameron’s” facebook page.  Nigel is no doubt an American name for the Romanian person who is behind this scheme.  My sources are VERY trustworthy – you can see for yourself the type of Petitions he has posted.

scamPlease let everyone know so that we can put a stop to this scam once and for all.  AND, please do NOT stop signing other petitions, this only applies to Petition Hub and You Sign Petitions.  If you are convinced like I am, that Nigel is a fake name, then please report his page to facebook, thank you!  AND to remove all problems and access to Petition Hub and You Sign, do the following please:

Please remove the Yousign and Petitionhub apps in your browser:

Go to your facebook profile –> click on the three points (…) next to ‘View Activity Log’

–> Select ‘Timeline Settings’. Click on ‘Apps’ (on the left)

–> Select ‘Apps, Websites and Plugins’ (on the right)

–> Show all. Select the ‘petitionhub.org‘ app (alphabetical order of the apps)

–> Highlight the app with your mouse, you can see a cross sign

–> click on the cross (remove).

–> a pop-up appears: Select: “Delete all your petitionhub.org activity on Facebook. This may take a few minutes.”

–> Click ‘remove’

Do the same with the app yousign.org

PLEASE DON’T BE DISCOURAGED BY THE FAKES, There are many valid petition sites like: change.org, care.org, avaaz.org, popvox, securepeta and others.  Let’s be glad we KNOW about the fakes so that our work will be even MORE effective!

Thank you for reading this, and your comments are always welcome!  – Susan Davis

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About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic (but not crazy) vegetarian, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - http://iwl.me/ Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

34 responses »

  1. Thanks so much for this. I knew about the PetitionHub as that is a Facebook Petition site, and YouSign is clearly fake. Newer advocates need to be informed that as you have stated Letters in conjunction with Petitions are the best way to go! Thanks Heather!

    • Obviously I’m disappointed in Change.org if they’ve sold emails. To me, the value of Change.org lies in the trust we have that the petitions we signed are legitimate, that Change.org shares our vision and beliefs in helping those in need. If I do see that they have switched to a model where they’d chase after anti-choice, anti-equality groups, I would be angry because that would mean that they no longer shared any of the same values that I did. If it came to that I’d certainly have something to say or write about it, but I don’t know if I’d stop signing other people’s petitions, to be honest. I have an active petition on that platform running now – but if I need to create another petition I will look into any platforms that have made statements about selling emails or shifting to conservative ideals.

    • Beware of the many trolls, shills, drones and minions of Petitionhub and Yousign. Change.org most certainly is different. No one is complaining about Causes or Change.org or any of the others much at all – now why would that be?

  2. Excellent and timely information, Heather. Hope you’re doing well. Happy Spring! Craig. PS. Spoke at UC Berkeley on 20th April where I got my bachelors in ecology. Went well.   From: heatherclemenceau To: ccdowner@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, May 4, 2015 11:37 AM Subject: [New post] An Important Message About Online Petitions – They Are Not All Created Equal! #yiv8782370076 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8782370076 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8782370076 a.yiv8782370076primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8782370076 a.yiv8782370076primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8782370076 a.yiv8782370076primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8782370076 a.yiv8782370076primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8782370076 WordPress.com | heatherclemenceau posted: “I’ve been frustrated and annoyed by many of the Petitionhub and Yousign petitions crossing my Facebook timeline.  Many images look like they were captured with ancient technology,  and while some or most of the images were clearly real,  the incidents the” | |

  3. Pingback: Petitions | END Trophy Hunting NOW

  4. I recently investigated a yousignanimals that just didn’t sit right. It was about a dog in New York named Sugar who disappeared while in the custody of her dog walker. I was actually able to track down Sugar’s owner and spoke with her. As I suspected, she had no knowledge of the petition and did not know the person who was listed as the host of the petition. She also said that she absolutely did not consent to the petition. Basic information in the petition was wrong, not the least of which was the fact that the dog had been indicted in the disappearance of Sugar (the petition stated that no charges had been filed). Also, the petition sourced a London, England newspaper as opposed to any of the multiple NY media sources that reported on the incident. Here’s a list of known fraudulent sites that are linked to the same Romanian scam artists. I will use a dash ( – ) in place of the dot (. ) to prevent creating hyperlinks on this post.
    Onlineshelter-org
    kimspetitions-com
    yousignanimals-org
    yousign-org
    petitionhub-org

    There is also a Facebook page titled Embassy Against Animal Abuse

    All of these sites are fraudulent and should be avoided at all costs. Here’s some info on them and other fraudulent petition sites. Please be careful what you sign and share. Thank you.
    http://themonstersamongus.com/imposters-pretending-to-help-animals/

    • Thank you for the link and research. I’m continually frustrated by these petitions. I don’t know whether it is a coincidence or not since I tend to be very protective of my email, but after I initially signed a few of these, I was besieged with bank phishing emails from every bank in Canada. Also sometimes written in broken or translated english. These people pray on the kind-hearted and they get victimized all over again when their email addresses are sold to spammers.

  5. Pingback: WARNING: Your Favourite Petition Site May Be Selling Your Email (Check Our Safe List) | Cecils Pride

  6. so hard to know what is legit and what isnt but thank you for this, I sign a lot and have never really known what is legit so taking this post is legit and I’ll follow advice.

  7. I was just asked by an animal activist site not to post a warning that ‘yousign’ posts scam petitions because they are convinced it is not a scam. I really think we need to start being smarter about the way we read these posts. If there is no location noted, no target (someone the petition is going to), no picture of the abuser, no date of the incident, etc. you should suspect that something IS WRONG! Period. Just don’t welcome a possible scam into your email box.

    • That’s too bad. People want desperately to believe. People who sign these petitions are wasting their time. I’ve left entire Facebook groups because they were nothing but a graveyard of these bogus petitions.

      • Petitionhub is Facebook and it goes nowhere. Yousign is another bogus site. They are harvesting email addresses and nothing more. Change.org and Avazz are both Valid. Avazz is a French site but you can create and post and sign in English and several other languages. They get real results. Thanks Heather!

        Manesandtails

  8. Pingback: Sobre sites de petições falsas | maisk3D

  9. Many of us animal activists spend quite a bit of time signing and promoting petitions.

    Unfortunately, most of our efforts in that regard are a total waste of time and energy, and take away time from actually helping animals or working on productive campaigns.

    Remember that a lot of petitions are created for the sole purpose of gaining email addresses and other information on animal activists. Sometimes this is done by worthy organizations for worthwhile purposes, but is often just a fund raising tactic designed to build databases.

    Most petitions can be evaluated immediately as to their validity.

    Any asking for petitions to governments or elected officials, whether domestic or foreign are usually a waste of time. Governments and elected officials are sensitive to their own citizenry and constituents, but even then only in terms of votes. If you can’t vote for the official you are petitioning, you are pissing into the wind.

    Similarly, if the person you can vote for has nothing to do with what the petition complains about, it was likely designed to build an email list. For example, I recently saw a petition asking for signatures to urge the president to end kill shelters. A worthy objective, and one I support. But the president has nothing to to with local kill shelters. Nor does the federal government. State governments could ban kill shelters, which would impact cities and counties in those states, but the federal government is powerless to order cities and counties to ban them. Just as the federal government couldn’t establish local zoning ordinances.

    However, petitions to government agencies, appointed officials, and judges can be effective. Primarily because they are very sensitive to public relations and media attention.

    The most effective petitions are ones that are directed toward businesses or individuals who are sensitive to public opinion. Businesses dislike being involved in controversies, boycotts, and social campaigns. They do not wish to be a polarizing influence in society, as that translates into the loss of customers, the need to involve damage control professionals, and, if a public company, the need to deal with angry shareholders ( who can force boards of directors to fire management).

    Many times the issue raised by the petition is sufficiently important to share with folks who do not know of it that we share the graphic or post pushing it. And that is undoubtedly easier than redesigning the graphic and deleting the petition. But often the most effective thing to do is something other than sign and promote a petition. Sometimes signing a petition actually hurts the animals because we feel we’ve done something and do not do other things that would be much more helpful (like send emails or make phone calls). If we all came to understand that the petitions are largely useless, we would be much more effective in the use of our time.

    There are exceptions to all of this, but the general caveat is valid: petitions are usually not worth the time and effort to sign and promote. And if a signature would actually do some good, a phone call or email is more effective by orders of magnitude.

    The animals only have us. What we do for them should be the most effective use of time and resources we can expend.

  10. How can I confirm other sites are fake? There are lists including those you mention of Nigel Cameron’s and some others, but one I’m seeing all the time now is dailypetions. I post the info when these come up but many don’t believe and continue to sign. I just quit a group on Facebook for blocking my warning links! Then there is one list I’ve seen that Avaaz is fake which is not. Is there a legal avenue to take in regards to having the real fake ones stopped? There is a petition on change.org to stop Nigel that I post with every fake one I come across; however, new ones can always pop up. Is there an agency or department (of something) that require petition sites be registered for proof of legitimacy?

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