A Word of Caution When Using Commercial Forms!

Dikran Abrahamian, Ontario, 3 May 2009

I received a brief request from a good friend about a petition initiated by Ararat Centre entitled No to Capitulation! 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.

Dikran Abrahamian, Ontario, 3 May 2009

I received a brief request from a good friend about a petition initiated by Ararat Centre entitled No to Capitulation! 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

 

Please sign this petition and forward to all your contacts. Thanks.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: 'Ararat' Center <[email protected]>
Date: May 2, 2009 1:05 AM
Subject: Join the Petition / Miaceq kochin / Prisoedenyaytes k peticii

 

Join the Petition
NO TO CAPITULATION!

Միացեք այս հայտարարությանը
Ո'Չ ԿԱՊԻՏՈՒԼՅԱՑԻԱՅԻՆ

Присоединяйтесь к петиции
НЕТ КАПИТУЛЯЦИИ!

 

7 comments
  1. ARARAT Center’s Commentary on Keghart.com’s Editorial

    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 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

     

    1. In Response to Ararat Center

      The comments made by Ararat Center are welcome and are received in the spirit of improving the use of the Internet. A few points of clarification would probably serve the readers of any Armenian website and help the initiation of a meaningful co-operation between them, related to major Armenian issues, which Keghart.com wholeheartedly supports.
       
      1. The concern raised earlier with respect to spam-mail is not "theoretical". It is based on facts. It is true that anything posted or initiated from whatever point through e-mail addresses is subject to not being secure. The majority of people who use the internet presumably are aware of it. The advices provided by Ararat Center in # 1and # 2 are valid. Additionally, nothing should "hold us back from joining this crucial campaign".
       
      2. It’s not only a matter of spam-mail, the more relevant point is in whose hands the emails of participants land. The role of the internet and its use by Turkey and Turks has been stressed previously and need not be reiterated here. That is the overriding concern in relation to "obtaining" emails from Go-Petition and commercial venues of the like.
       
      3. There is nothing wrong at all in posting the petition directly in the Ararat Center Website. Indeed that would be the preference of Keghart. Even now, it may be transported where it legitimately belongs. After all, why shouldn’t Ararat Center get the credit for it when it is all over clear that it’s initiated by it? Worries of being criticized should not have held the Center from doing so. Those who criticize will do so irrespective of what. Alternately, a stand-alone petition form without irrelevant advertisements could have been created by any expert Armenian webmaster, and here is an example http://www.varnitec.com/petitions/hetq that was disseminated by Keghart, but it had a minor role in terms of its formulation and process of collecting endorsements. It was quite independent, and the more pertinent issue, the emails did not fall in the hands of unknown entities.
       
      4. Finally, regarding "misplaced individuality", it was and is in the following context. Each website and blog has its individuality. The more such websites and blogs with Armenian concerns the merrier. That gives opportunity to more people and groups to propagate, inform and combat the many ills in our society and the Turkish foe. However, when there are matters that are of national importance, then co-operation between individuals, groups, organizations, centres, think tanks etc. would serve the cause better, and probably lead to better success in the mission. That is what’s lacking, and hence the "individuality" of each is misplaced, including that of Keghart.com
    2. I disagree

      Ararat Center seem to be a newbie on the internet. The options you are providing are not good guidance for Armenians, here’s why:

      If MSNBC, CNN, Fox news, etc. will host their petitions or surveys on a different site, I will be very cautious in voting, since they might be hiding something by not hosting it themselves. We should expect a legitimate petition to be hosted by the website of the initiator.

      Another point is to host on FREE websites full of advertisements, some of them vulgar and adult-oriented, which we don’t have any control over. There are no freebies in this world, specially the internet. Hosting anything on a free website means you are endangering the identity of the voters, in this case, the Armenians.
      Not all petition sites are spammers but they are not free as well.

      Your "word of explanation" or justification to host the petition on a spammer service is an insult to all of us. Do you think we are that stupid?? admit it, the only reason that you hosted with go petition is that you didn’t want to go into any expense, no matter how legit the motive is. We, Armenians like to donate money to charities, but when it comes to the Internet we are so cheap, it disgusts me!

      Ararat Center’s explanation and justification is misplaced, inaccurate, inappropriate and insulting to all Armenians! I believe that such an unprofessional website and management could cause a lot of aggravation to Armenians around the world. Be very cautious voting on freely hosted sites.

      I don’t like the fact that keghart.com is promoting a gopetition site or any free site whatsoever. I hope they will stop that practice and remove the links.

      I hope and expect Ararat Center to remove the petition immediately and replace it with a locally hosted one on their website.

       

      Yeghish A.
      Pickering, Ontario
       

  2.  Fair comments!

    Fair comments!
    Welcome; a decent dialogue and clarifications.
    Well done!

  3. The comments related to on-line petitions

    The comments made are welcome and are received in the spirit of improving the use of the Internet. A few points of clarification would probably serve the readers of any Armenian website and help the initiation of a meaningful co-operation between them, related to major Armenian issues, which Keghart.com wholeheartedly supports.
     
    1. The concern raised earlier with respect to spam-mail is not "theoretical". It is based on facts. It is true that anything posted or initiated from whatever point through e-mail addresses is subject to not being secure. The majority of people who use the internet presumably are aware of it. The advices provided are valid. Additionally, nothing should "hold us back from joining this crucial campaign".
     
    2. It’s not only a matter of spam-mail, the more relevant point is in whose hands the emails of participants land. The role of the internet and its use by Turkey and Turks has been stressed previously and need not be reiterated here. That is the overriding concern in relation to "obtaining" emails from Go-Petition and commercial venues of the like.
     
    3. There is nothing wrong at all in posting the petition directly in the Ararat Center Website. Indeed that would be the preference of Keghart. Even now, it may be transported where it legitimately belongs. After all, why shouldn’t Ararat Center get the credit for it when it is all over clear that it’s initiated by it? Worries of being criticized should not have held the Center from doing so. Those who criticize will do so irrespective of what. Alternately, a stand-alone petition form without irrelevant advertisements could have been created by any expert Armenian webmaster. Finally, regarding "misplaced individuality", it was and is in the following context. Each website and blog has its individuality. The more such websites and blogs with Armenian concerns the merrier. That gives opportunity to more people and groups to propagate, inform and combat the many ills in our society and the Turkish foe. However, when there are matters that are of national importance, then co-operation between individuals, groups, organizations, centres, think tanks etc. would serve the cause better, and probably lead to better success in the mission. That is what’s lacking, and hence the "individuality" of each is misplaced, including that of Keghart.com
  4. It’s not only a matter of

    It’s not only a matter of spam-mail, the more relevant point is in whose hands the emails of participants land. The role of the internet and its use by Turkey and Turks has been stressed previously and need not be reiterated here. That is the overriding concern in relation to "obtaining" emails from Go-Petition and commercial venues of the like. 
    1. Exactly!  We should be careful

      Exactly!  We should be very careful in what third party services we use, since almost all of them make their money by selling our identity (emails and more) to whoever will ask for them; it can even be the Turks.

      Despite cautionary notes every year I see Armenian organizations using those services extensively to get as many signatures as possible, hence giving away our information to others as well.

      I know an Armenian organization that has petition servers already created for such instances.

Comments are closed.

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