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Articles > Internet > A word of caution when using commercial forms!

By Dikran Abrahamian

I received a brief request from a good friend about a petition initiated by Ararat Centre entitled No to Capitulation! (http://gopetition.com/online/27397.html) My knee-jerk reaction would have been to take the matter at face value and forward it to the recipients and readers of Keghart.com. My gray matter advised me to act otherwise, and based on past experience to write my observations, despite being in agreement with the content of the petition.

Below is the verbatim transcription of the letter submitted to you for your consideration.

Dear B.,

I would have gladly endorsed this petition if it had not used a commercial based form. Go-Petition is a commercial undertaking. Using a commercial-based form taught a very valuable lesson during the PBS campaign which garnered over 22,000 signatures. Despite assurances by the owners of the petition form that the e-mails would not have been used for other than and only for the purposes of the petition, months later people who innocently had signed the petition started receiving unsolicited spam mail with contents including pornographic and other similar material. That raises the question that e-mails are provided by commercial companies to third parties unbeknownst to the signatories and initiators of such petitions.

I wonder why Armenian organizations and individuals still use commercial-based forms. My suggestion is that this practice be discontinued. That's why, based on above experience www.keghart.com has been using its own base for all petitions and statements that request signatures following the PBS experience. See the latest related to the same issue raised in this petition that you are circulating. We Condemn the Turkish-Armenian Agreement www.keghart.com/node/420

I think Ararat Center has the capability to use its own website. If help is required it can get in touch with the webmaster of www.keghart.com. Use of the internet for a variety of reasons is an area that various Armenian websites can and should co-operate in, to come out with the best available solutions to avoid duplications and mishaps as pointed out above. Unfortunately, websites, website initiators, and centres the like of Ararat continue to display misplaced individuality, and that's probably one of the causes of ineffective unity, or the lack of it. The Turks are far advanced in propagating their views on the internet and coordinating their efforts, not to mention monitoring and at times disrupting Armenian sites. Let's not blame others, specially odars, when our initiatives do not translate into the expected or anticipated results.

Good Luck

Dikran Abrahamian
Source: "Keghart.com", Ontario, 03 May 2009

ARARAT Center’s Commentary on Keghart.com’s Editorial
Submitted by ARARAT Center on Tue, 2009-05-05

Dear compatriots,

It came to our attention that Keghart.com had expressed concern to its readers over signing the ARARAT Centre’s NO TO CAPITULATION (http://gopetition.com/online/27397.html) online petition campaign from the Go Petition site, where the petition is currently placed. The reason for Keghart’s concern is that “based on previous experience...,” people signing the petition from the commercial Go Petition site will have their e-mail addresses available to spammers. 

With due credit to Keghart’s theoretically legitimate concern, as well as with full appreciation for the support Keghart expresses for ARARAT’s campaign in its message, we take this opportunity to kindly offer a piece of advice to our most valued readers and supporters who are interested in joining this nationally-important campaign, but worry about possible e-spam from the Go Petition site:

1. Signing up for any page on any website is never completely spam-proof. Nevertheless, most of our audience might agree that the possibility of receiving some (extra) spam should not hold us back from joining this crucial campaign, especially that we all occasionally get spam from different sources anyway.

2. You may create a new (temporary) e-mail address and use it to sign the petition; it will take less than 5 minutes to create one.

Now a word of explanation as to why we used the Go Petition site for this campaign, instead of placing it on our own website, which is fully capable of hosting it: Our motivation for doing so was simply to avoid getting criticized for self-advertising efforts. We felt that if we posted the petition on our website, we might be blamed for seeking to increase its rating through such measure. Thus, we opted to post it on a neutral site.

Finally, we would like to draw attention to Keghart’s puzzling comment about the ARARAT Center, saying that “centres the like of Ararat continue to display misplaced individuality”.  Such description is misplaced, inaccurate and inappropriate, especially without justification. We believe that such an unprofessional comment could undermine the reputation of any party that uses it.

Yours faithfully,

ARARAT Center for Strategic Research

Added: Tuesday, May 05, 2009
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