E-Government

White House raises the bar for petitions

Growth of petitions.whitehouse.gov

The number of petitions submitted to the White House's "We the People" site has grown rapidly in recent months.

The White House recently won over the nerd community with its response to a petition to build a Death Star, but not every submission to petitions.whitehouse.gov is quite so easy. And a rapidly growing number of petitions, serious and otherwise, have been hitting the response threshold on the "We the People" site.

So on the evening of Jan. 15, White House Director of Digital Strategy Macon Phillips announced that the new bar for a public response would be 100,000 signatures in 30 days.

Use of the petition site "more than doubled" in the last two months of 2012, Phillips wrote in a White House blog post. Noting that the threshold had been raised before, from 5,000 to 25,000, as more citizens began to participate, he wrote that this latest adjustment is "to ensure we're able to continue to give the most popular ideas the time they deserve."

Petitions posted before the announcement will not be held to the new standard.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is the Editor-in-Chief of both FCW and GCN, two of the oldest and most influential publications in public-sector IT. Both publications (originally known as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, respectively) are owned by GovExec. Mr. Schneider also serves GovExec's General Manager for Government Technology Brands.

Mr. Schneider previously served as New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company, where he oversaw the online operations of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics, among other publications. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Mr. Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

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