petitionI wrote a while back about the ongoing practice of groups of people starting petitions about the most mundane manner and abusing the process.

This process is in full force, with a group starting yet another one of these petition drives. This time around it is to have a blog that I am not real fond of removed off the internet. Despite the blog involved, my position has not changed from the article I wrote about this practice.

Many of my supporters may be upset with me for taking this position.

Having a petition drive to have a blog, stream chat, or other kind of account removed simply because you do not like the author or group or how the blog is wrong and  is also  a complete waste of time. First, there is the issue of the first amendment. It would be a hard thing to overcome since free speech rights are paramount in this country and in most locations throughout the world.

The next problem is that these things are not enforceable. If the goal of signature numbers is reached, then who does one present the results to? The Government, The domain or Blog host?

Instead, there are a couple of alternatives. The first is to simply make the target of the petition accountable. Bring up the issues that caused the petition drive in the first place, point out what the problems are and name names. Do all of these things, however in a dignified and adult manner. Photoshopping pornographic or demeaning images, making demeaning videos or posting personal information is not the way to go. All it does is make one look childish. Using groups like Anonymous to threaten the target by Doxing is not the answer either.

Another alternative is to seek legislation to make US based blogs identify who owns the blog and who administers the blog. The biggest problem on the internet today is the blogs owned and operated by individuals who are not known to the general public. In most cases these anonymous bloggers hide their locations, age, gender and other background information preventing the readers or targets of the blogs know who it is that is operating it or if there is something in their background that would make people concerned to be visiting the site.

One glaring example of why identification of blog and forum owners is necessary is the case of  a forum set up concerning the case of Missing child Haleigh Cummings. The administrator of the blog was known only by Hobbit88.

After a brief blog war, it was found out that the administrator of the blog was a registered sex offender from California and one of the restrictions of his being out of prison was that he was not to be on the internet. When this fact was released to the public and to the proper authorities, the site shut down.

The Blog (or forum) was one of the more popular websites for those following that case and it was a tremendous shock when the truth about the site came out.

With the proliferation of blogs and forums and the ease of operation of these sites, it is hard to know who it is behind the screen name. Is it a concerned mother or is it a pedophile or other criminal seeking their next victim. Doing away with anonymous blogs and forums would minimize the danger of a criminal operating these sites without their identity being known.

Petition drives to eradicate blogs and forums off the internet are not the answer. Not visiting these sites and countering what is said on them is.

Stay Tuned