Are we reaching peak e-petition?

I’ve now received emails from at least six different organisations about the HSBC tax scandal, with all the related ‘Did you miss this?’ or ‘Thanks for signing, can you forward to everyone you’ve ever met?’ emails.

I think we might be reaching peak e-petition. Or maybe I am. Cos I sign up for too much stuff. Or because these organisations love list-building – several get their funds from donations from a minor percentage of their lists, so they’re incentivised to grow their lists, weakening the case for collaboration. (Collaboration that might, however, more effectively lead to results.)

Anyway, I think digital democracy might not be meant to feel like getting bombarded with emails.

And imagine if you were on the receiving end of the petitions! An inbox full of thousands of emails. If you were a new MP, arriving in parliament after the May elections, only to be deluged… Where do you start? I understand that have built some kind of dashboard for MPs, to stop this from getting too crazy – grateful if anyone can share – but why stop at MPs?

Why shouldn’t we, the great unwashed petition-signatories get a democracy dashboard too? A single viewpoint that shows how many requests we’re getting on an issue and from whom, as well as what’s trending in the subject lines of email petitions everywhere, what’s new, what’s being signed at the fastest rate…

Digital democracy needs to get out of the inbox. In the same way that nobody manages projects with email anymore – we have SlackTrello, Asana – what’s coming to take the place of the e-petition?


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