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back to article Death haunts government petitions site

The Coalition government's epetitions site has limped online this lunchtime but is struggling to stay up. The site was down this morning, despite a message promising its imminent availability. A spinner at Ten Downing Street promised to get back to us. In the mean time, a bit of repeated clicking reveals over 40 petitions in …

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Load balancing

Seriously, have people in government never heard of akamai, or any of the myriad other services that can front-end this thing so at least you could see SOMETHING (i.e. a warning they are busy, and what the website does when it is up) on their website?

It's not difficult - you're expecting some significant portion of 65m people to go look at the damn thing - a VPS from your local host just isn't going to cut it, and this isn't the first time that you've been caught off-guard on the opening of a major government website.

Government IT - maybe we can put a petition up about improving that?

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B realistic

Technical barriers that impede access to the site will drive down the signatures and therefore the politicians will not have to discuss any of the "Silly" ideas presented by the public.

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Big Brother

we don't need no akamai

you completely miss the point. the government always designs these idiot magnets to fail.

they're just a gesture exercise: pretending to be up-to-date, engaging with the public, listening to "ordinary people", letting the great unwashed "have their say", etc, etc. it's all bullshit. there's no fucking way anyone in whitehall takes that sort of thing seriously. call me dave and his chums know that too. as did bliar, gordo and their cronies before them. btw, does anyone remember john major's equivalent success story from the pre-web days, the cones hotline?

all they're doing is providing an outlet for the green ink brigade and other nutters who believe everything in the daily fail to rant.

there are much worse ways of wasting public money.

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Anonymous Coward

more fundamental issues in government IT than that...

... govt IT is dominated by overpaid managers and (often very good) temporary consultants. Most of the day to day jobs pay less than a decent graduate engineer would earn out in the real world, so they struggle to attract anyone with more than an NVQ in IT.

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Facepalm

JOKE ALERT

Seriously, have people in government never heard of akamai, or any of the myriad other services that can front-end this thing

ROFLMAO

Seriously?

You're seriously asking this question?

The Average Minister has barely heard of Windows. His/her children probably 'use this bookface thingy' and probably find webpages for him/her.

I've been using computers for 10 years, of which the last 8 have been Linux exclusively and I haven't heard of Akamai. If you're not "in the right area of business" there's no reason why anyone would have heard of it.

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And?

So what business where the people who provisioned a high-end, public-facing, high-traffic, website in then? "People in government" doesn't necessarily mean politicians. Some tech somewhere put up the backend of that website knowing what it was going to hold.

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FAIL

Umm

For a start, it's more involved then clicking a link and ticking a box, you need to enter your address, email etc. and then wait for an email with another link to click.

I think it's the F1-on-the-bbc petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/158 myself !

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There are multiple F1 petitions

Search for "Formula One" and you find at least 2

Petition 57 has over 700 names now. 158 only has 170.

does anyone know if the "consolidate" the duplicates? (57 and 158 aren't strictly duplicates)

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Big Brother

Former libertarian

"Why a libertarian, small government blogger supports the right of the government to kill people is beyond the scope of this piece."

You missed out the all-important 'former' preceding the word 'libertarian'.

You can't be libertarian AND support the state's right to systematically kill people - however much they might deserve it.

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Trollface

Only certani types of people

I think Fawkes prefers to execute only left-wing people....

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Anonymous Coward

On the contrary

You might want to research that a little, perhaps by starting here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_perspectives_on_the_death_penalty.

It would seem that there is some debate on this subject, and whilst many Libertarians feel that the death penalty is inconmpatible with Libertarianism, many others do not.

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Childcatcher

Don't worry

It's only for child killers, which makes it automatically all right as if you disagree with stuff that's done for the protection of children, you're probably a child molester.

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Why do I need a title to reply to a post?

The way brats behave these days, I'm surprised more of them don't meet an early end.

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Government by Wiki?

Sounds like they should have built it on the stackexchange model....

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'guido'

Erm,

with a name like guido fawkes, you'd have thought he was the last person to wish for capital punishment. However since he seems in favour of it, who are we to get in the way..

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Mushroom

Oh Fawkes!

I think you'll find that his illustrious predecessor was very keen on capital punishment for a small minority of the population - mainly for the offense of "ruling without due care and attention".

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Indeed

Bring back the death penalty for Charles I*!

*and VI of Scotland, if such matters are important to you...

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Can't think of a witty title

Is there a Clarkson for PM petition? If so count me in.

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Joke

better still

Is there a Clarkson for the death penalty petition?

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Happy

Shirley....

...you mean "death penalty for Clarkson" petition?

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yes

thats what I meant!

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Better hope Excel isn't involved

We have a sheet with the people we are going to execute and the next sheet has the name, address, email of 100,000 people who support it - what could possibly go wrong ?

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Thumb Up

Oh I do hope so

I really do

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GT
FAIL

A very poor system

Slow.

When you submit a petition, you don't get any reference so you can track it. I submitted an e-petition several days ago. I received an email to validate the e-petition, which I did. However, there's no sign of it on the web site, either among the accepted or rejected petitions, although it's taken me about an hour to establish that (I think).

Why not have a reference number per petition, or the ability to search by submitter's name or an email to the submitter when a petition has been accepted? Bizarre

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Paris Hilton

no duplicates

As I seem to recall, one of the original incarnations of BigSocietyLoonMagnet.gov.uk included a stipulation that none of the petitions should be duplcates of petitions already started, actual enforcement of that rule would go some way to limiting the sheer loopiness factor of the sites

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Black Helicopters

That's Hiltonesque thinking

A more Machiavellian way of looking at it is:

As this is just an exercise in *pretending* to listen, having a boat-load of duplicate petitions means less of them actually cross the 100k barrier. As this reduces the number times they have to get off their arses and pretend to listen in the HoC, don't expect to see the copies being culled any time soon.

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The main flaw with a petitions site...

Is that I can't vote against anything. It's alright getting 100,000 people to agree on an issue but that doesn't account for the 500,000 who may actively oppose the issue. I can hardly start a petition to stop the death penalty as it's not an issue - we don't have one - so where is my representation on this issue?

Another huge problem with this site is that most of the issues that will be raised (apart from the ones from the legalise drugs lobby) are the issues that the Daily Mail tells people to raise (until recently this would have been News International but there you go).

I may however start a petition to have paediatricians flogged in public but that's just because, at a very fundamental level, I'm a bad person.

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Have a look at...

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1090

Petition to retain the ban on Capital Punishment

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Toothless

All that happens if 100,000 people sign up is that MPs get to debate it. At that point you'll be able to write to your MP and make your views clear and ask him to vote the way you want. Then he's free to ignore you and do what he wants, so no change there.

Sometimes it's worth signing a petition simply to get the debate because at least that way there's an action and we can move onto the next thing the media want to enrage us with.

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Mushroom

I was tempted to downvote you, just because I can, but you do have it spot-on.

A government-sanctioned petitioning system is totally undemocratic. What sort of second-world mob-ruled state do we want to be?

Though I'm genuinely surprised that the death penalty is currently trumping Sharia law in the media-attention stakes. Won't be long now...

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Death penalty debate

It'll be a short debate:

"We are here to debate the reintroduction of the death penalty. It cannot be reintroduced as it is outlawed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights: both are treaties to which we are signatories. And with that I will draw to a close the debate on captial punishment."

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FAIL

Correct!

Sadly very few people seem to understand our obligations under these treaties, I point this out to people who spout on at me about re-introducing capital punishment and they nearly always then stand their with their mouths flapping soundlessly.

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Mushroom

Rights, schmights...

...the European Convention on Human Rights, ratified by ourselves in 1951, was I think brought in as a response to WW2 and the holocaust, although, Daily Mail readers, being historically supporters of Herr Fuehrer himself, probably oppose it as part of their general pique at the failure of fascism to take hold worldwide.

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Stop

I've said it before

and I'll say it again:

If the penalty for the crime is death then the criminal will kill to escape.

Those advocating the death penalty only need to look at crime in just one Western country - the good ole US of A - to see that it doesn't work. That hasn't stopped the thousands of murders that happen there every year.

And a large part of the reason the murder rate is relatively high in the US is because many of those murders start out as muggings or rapes and escalate precisely because the mugger/rapist thinks "Well I'm going to die if I get caught so I may as well go the whole hog - dead (wo)men tell no tales, right?"

Do you really want the fucker who abducted your kids to have that incentive to kill them because he knows he's going to swing for the kidnapping anyway, instead of him knowing he won't die and giving police negotiators a chance of talking him into letting them go?

If that's what you Daily-Mail-reading oxygen thieves really want, just keep on advocating the death penalty.

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Anonymous Coward

And that's why ...

"Not only do we need the death penalty bringing back but why we need to get out of the EU and scrap all human rights legislation to allow it. And stop immigration which simply brings people into the country which we end up having to hang. If this were a decent white Christian country as God intended we'd be in utopia and the debate wouldn't even be needed. Multiculturalism must end. If you don't agree with all of that you are part of the problem. Once we bring back the death penalty we can resolve that problem."

Not my view, but plenty do seem to hold it. It's what could be called Breivik-lite.

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LPF

Yes what do the Knuckle Dragging Plebs know...

They should vote once every 5 years and then allow the Gaurdian and its supportters get on with running the country, as everyone knows, only there view on the Death Penalty is valie all else is rubbish.

The State should never kill anyone as its murder, expect when the Army, Navy, Airforce,Police , Secret service then its OK.

Because when you hang a piece of flith, its massively different from dropping a 500lb GP from 2000 feet onto someone, becuase theie in another country.

So go kill away knowing no matter what you do you will never suffer as much as your victim, you will be fed, and watered , provided shelter and things to do, while they rot in the ground.

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Trollface

Plebs

That's not an argument for capital punishment, it's an argument for euthanasia.

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MGJ
Facepalm

But of course

Perhaps you should do a 'sort' on signature, and you'll see that the most support is for the petition calling for the retention of the ban on capital punishment.

If you want to check out any real knuckle dragging, do a search for 'Sharia'; lots of loonies opposed to something that isnt happening.

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I think you've got the message wrong

Only the banning of the death penalty is "valie" - all else is vile, vindictive, savage, degenerate, eye-for-an-eye bullshit.

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Trollface

Stereotypes

Not always inaccurate.

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@MGJ - But of course

You will find that there are Sharia Courts in the UK. I think the total is 100 courts.

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Headmaster

Sharia Courts

"You will find that there are Sharia Courts in the UK".

And Jewish courts as well.

Though the term "court" in both cases may give an impression which is not deserved; they are more like tribunals and arbitration panels rather than anything which trumps UK law and the traditional court system.

I can understand people being against tribunals and arbitration wholesale but it raises an eyebrow when focus is only on those for one particular section of a community. It suggests some people don't understand the remit and limited powers these "courts" have at best, bigotry at worse.

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Don't forget

That for Guido and his fellow Daily Mail readers, there is no such thing as Europe, La La La, no listening.

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FAIL

WARNING: Idiots and morons at work

Sorry, but it really isn't hard to predict that a government website like this one will have a huge number of visitors when it opens it doors.

But it also isn't hard to design websites that cope with huge numbers of visitors, especially when you know it will have to cope with massive peaks of usage, just wait for the next national televised child killing event to see just how many people want to hang all paediatricians.

This government bangs on about saving money, but replaced one working petitions site with one not working one. Why? Because they wanted to claims the credit themselves, not leave the previous governments petitions site in place.

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WTF?

Warning: Even worse than that

The reason for doing that is because apparently if you rewrite the site and put it on .direct.gov.uk rather than where it is at the moment, you reduce the number of government websites, and therefore reduce the cost of running them.

Of course, apart from domain registration fees, and I don't think they have to pay for .gov.uk addresses anyway, it makes no difference whether the site collecting petition signatures and the site that tells you what housing benefit you are entitled to are both on .direct.gov.uk or they are on two different domain names.

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IT Angle

IT angle!

I found an IT angle in amongst all the mindless right-wing griping on that site.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/45

Lots of petitions related to driving, I've noticed. Increase speed limits, remove speed limits, remove points limits on licences, make undertaking legal. Let me guess - the authors of those petitions were, respectively:

*Done for speeding

*Done for speeding

*Banned from driving for speeding

*Done for undertaking

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Undertaking under the speed limit is fine

Undertaking someone (especially if the undertaker isn't breaking the speed limit while doing so) is a pretty obvious signal that the car being undertaken is in the wrong lane, and causing a hazard to other road users. I'd love to see some 60mph middle lane hoggers done for driving without due care and attention.

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Go

There are some problems with your post.

"Let me guess - the authors of those petitions were, respectively:

*Done for speeding

*Banned from driving for speeding

*Done for undertaking"

Nope. Try these instead:

* Fed up of driving along wide roads with no houses nearby at 30mph

* Fed up of speed cameras sited at maximum revenue sites instead of dangerous sites

* Fed up of people who pull into the overtaking lane of a dual carriageway a mile before they want to turn right then do 50mph all the way.

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Stop

@Greg J Preece

I've never had a speeding ticket but I signed a couple of petitions to raise limits.

Most speed limits were set decades ago before the likes of ABS, seat belts, crumple zones and airbags. It's high time they were updated, especially on the motorways.

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@PC Paul

So it's your petition then? :-p

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