Church and State: December 2011 Archives

December 16, 2011

How not to run an online petition

Scotland: Dozens of people have complained after their names falsely appeared on a petition to the Scottish Government opposing same-sex marriage. MSPs and the Information Commissioner have heard from people whose names appeared on the petition without their consent.

Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said a number of furious constituents had contacted her to say their names had been placed on the anti-gay marriage petition, which has been signed by former SNP leader Gordon Wilson, as well as senior figures from Scotland’s Episcopalians, the United Free Church of Scotland and the Evangelical Alliance.

Scotland for Marriage, an alliance of mostly religious organisations and opposed to marriage, was quick to blame the victims.

A spokesman for Scotland for Marriage suggested that supporters of gay marriage had placed their own names on the site in an underhand tactic to make it appear that Scotland for Marriage had dishonestly added names to the petition.

He said: This appears to be a malicious attempt to undermine the campaign. A police investigation would be welcome.

Those who found their names falsely added to the petition say that they were unaware they has "signed" the petition until it was published, suggesting that Scotland for Marriage had neglected to send out confirmation e-mail to signatories - a standard practice for online petitions. The bogus signatory who spoke to the Scotsman also did not think Scotland for Marriage deliberately added him to boost their numbers, but that someone else did so maliciously. In not applying even the simplest automated check, Scotland for Marriage have thoroughly undermined their own petition. No shenanigans required.

Bogus names discovered on petition that attacked gay marriageThe Scotsman, 16th December 2011.

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This page is an archive of entries in the Church and State category from December 2011.

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