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The White House Is Sick Of Your Joke Petitions, Quadruples the Number of Signatures Required for an Official Response


Attention, American public: The White House has seen your petitions about building a Death Star, investigating the feasibility of building the Enterprise, and giving each state an official Pokémon. In one case they even responded in a particularly awesome way. But now they have another message for you: Cut it out, guys. It’s getting tired.

To that end, We the People—whitehouse.gov’s official petition site–is upping the number of signatures required for an official White House response from 25,000 to 100,000.

Writes Macon Phillips, President Obama‘s Director of Digital Strategy:

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.

As of this writing the “most popular petitions” involve legally recognizing Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group and revoking their tax exempt status, supporting mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food, repealing Obamacare, and requiring free Internet access to scientific journal articles that exist because of taxpayer-funded research. Not a Pokémon in sight.

I think this is a good move—25,000 signatures has always seemed a bit low to me, and though the government’s Death Star response was awesome in that it addressed actual scientific advances, I imagine there’d be a lot of facepalming around Washington if they had to issue an official response to ”ban hammers and baseball bats“ and “officially recognize the Sasquatch as an indigenous species and have them lawfully protected by laws banning any hunting.”

(via: The Daily Dot)

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  • TKS

    Sounds to me like a recipe for extinct bigfoots.

    bigfeet?

    bigfootapodes?

  • AnnaB

    100K? Challenge accepted.

  • Blaster_For_Hire

    Who said we were joking?

  • http://twitter.com/LanceBravestar1 Lance Bravestar

    This made me laugh so hard.

  • http://twitter.com/nellydreadful Nelly Dreadful

    Reminds me of the time here in Canada when we had a twidiot named Stockwell Day running on a “grassroots” platform saying that if he became Prime Minister, any issue that received more than 350,000 signatures on a petition would go to an AUTOMATIC NATIONAL REFERENDUM.

    Rick Mercer, one of our better political comedians, promptly put out an online petition wherein we the people demanded that Stockwell Day legally change his first name to Doris.

    It matched the target number within days. Doris… I mean Stockwell Day promptly began mumbling about how he had always thought the 350,000 number was too low. Mercer cheerfully offered to match any number he named. By the time it was shut down, the survey boasted over a MILLION SIGNATURES. Many of which were almost certainly fake, but still.

    Mister Day never did become PM.

    Que será, será.

  • Kryptoknight

    I fully and truly support the Enterprise petition. Get us out into space again dammit!

  • Anonymous

    Given that the top-ranked proposals now involve actual, serious policy propositions, I’d say this was a good move.

    I’m very much in favour of giving the public ways to exert greater influence on the government and make their views heard, but you need to set the threshold high enough to make it easier to weed out the jokes. Online, though, there may not be a threshold high enough – when it takes 5 seconds to sign a petition, there will always be enough pranksters to get silly ideas up there with serious ones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Bates/1173018076 Kevin Bates

    Whatever, if ANYTHING was being done as a result of the petitions, they probably wouldn’t be used as trolls’ stomping grounds. All this does is mean that legit petitions will be ignored even harder than before, and joke petitions will still get in.

  • http://twitter.com/Milly_Wee Emily Martin

    Bahaha I love Rick Mercer <3