Shenanigans continue @ change.org

change.org has not eliminated the risk of voter fraud in its Ideas for Change in America campaign that I first wrote about a few days ago: “I committed voter fraud @ change.org”. This morning I was able to log in using the same disposable email accounts I used to test their system with New Year’s Eve. I chose to vote on some of the more inane Ideas in Round 2, to see if ballot stuffing could be used by supporters to help ensure an Idea ends up in the Top 10 Ideas to be presented at the National Press Club January 16.

The flaw allowing this vote fraud, which could have been addressed by monitoring IP addresses instead of email accounts, not only casts doubts on the integrity of the election results, it means that any reported numbers of membership by change.org are inflated.  I count as at least five members, after having my initial account finally deleted for being a pain in their ass.

By default Ideas’ home page is sorted by “Recently Popular Idea”, perhaps a misnomer for “Ideas We’d Like to Promote”.  You must click “Top Rated Ideas” if you want to see real-time status of Ideas there. As in any election, ballot items presented at the top of a list are those most likely to get casual votes. It would be much more helpful to have all Ideas presented on a single page together, grouped by category, the way they were presented at the end of Round 1.

Legalize Marijuana; End the war on drugs; Repeal the PATRIOT Act; and Save Small Business From the CPSIA (Toys); are all Ideas in the top 10 list of vote-getters, yet they never seem to appear on the lead page.  All of these are also Ideas that would be embarrassing for change.org were they to end up on the list to be presented to Obama January 16.

The category Economy must be particularly troublesome for change.org.  In the real world this would probably rank as one of the top 3 issues for Americans.  What are the three Ideas there?

  • Forgive student loans
  • Decriminalize marijuana
  • Save Handmade Toys From the CPSIA

Save Handmade Toys, the top-ranked Idea in Economy at the end of Round 1, is now in second place, but listed last on the Economy page.  Ideas at the top of the list tend to get more votes.  As lame as student loans would be as the most important issue in our economy it is obviously the lesser embarrassment of these three Ideas and is almost guaranteed to end up at the top of the Category, though I doubt it will be in the Top 10.

More significant are the overall vote counts.  An Idea like Toys already has nearly 1500 votes at time of this writing, ranking it #9 overall so far.  I will be taking screen shots of the top ideas as this “election” progresses to see how Ideas and vote totals evolve over the next few days.

Snagging a spot at the National Press Club means the results of this blatantly rigged election will get a lot of attention.  It will be interesting to see if they get away with the fraud.

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10 Responses to Shenanigans continue @ change.org

  1. As the originator of the Stop NAIS idea, I was very dismayed when the vegans ganged up and knocked us out of first place. If they did this using vote fraud I am even more dismayed.

    What really irks me is that NAIS is something that Obama can actually STOP. All he has to do it tell his new Undersecretary of Agriculture to pull the plug. The vegan lunches need congressional approval. Legal raw milk is a state level issue. I heartily approve of legal raw milk but Obama can’t make it so.

    And something Vegans and Vegetarians need to be aware of is that if NAIS becomes mandatory, they will have a much harder time finding wholesome vegetable food. Much of the good stuff is grown by small farmers using manure from their livestock. No livestock means no manure and no manure means no fertilizer for the vegetable gardens!

  2. gabrielaa. says:

    so that’s why I couldn’t access your profile at change.org to leave you a message, Jon 😉

    I was online there a lot on Dec 31/Jan 1 & absolutely agree that it was all manipulated. as I said in a message I was able to post, it’s not suprising but it certainly is disappointing. I mean, what kind of *change* is this supposed to be?

    they also deleted the discussion that developed at http://globalhealth.change.org/blog/view/the_top_five_controversies_in_global_health
    which included denouncing of censorship practices

    but I understand their motivation: if AIDS gets to be rethought, they’re gonna lose the money they’re making from it… 😛

  3. Henriette Vanechop says:

    What a disappointment.. even worse than learning the truth about Santa Claus.

  4. HennyPenny says:

    Change.org is a social networking site, people. Nothing more than that. Ben Rattray is a social networking fan. He has nothing to do with Obama. It has been a hard lesson to learn for the grass roots activists who are fighting to stop National Animal Identification System (NAIS). In the first round of voting a vegan group switched categories very late in the game and ousted us from our position. It is pretty disgusting to see all the legalize pot ideas, and the dopes, to use a pun, can’t even spell it. Cripes.

  5. Diana says:

    Apparently the definition of a stupid idea here at resistanceisfruitful is any idea that isn’t your own. Just because some of the issues that are important to others are not important to you does not mean that they have no validity. You would be surprised how many educated and intelligent (Yes, I know, these two traits do not always occur together) people support some of those “embarrassing” issues that you think so unworthy. Maybe if you would take the time to actually do some research before you criticize ideas that sound wacky to you upon a superficial reading, you might be surprised and gain some understanding why some of these issues are so important to some people and that not all of them are so wacky after all, especially when you learn about the details and the principles involved. So while it still may not make them any more important to you, you may come away a little more educated about them and able to discuss the merits of each instead of just making generalized comments about how stupid they are. Then your site can provide real information and a place for intelligent discussion of ideas, if that’s your intended goal here. In case you’re wondering, I think that you pointing out that the method used at change.org to count votes is suspect and may not be accurate is good information worthy of being discussed but whether the issues presented and supported there by passionate and caring people are any good is a separate issue and should not have been so flippantly treated in this article. In my opinion.

    • Diana,
      Some Ideas were derided in my post for being considered “Top 10” Ideas, not wacky or stupid.
      Not being stupid and being one of the ten most pressing matters to be dealt with by the Obama administration are two different things.
      Not being stupid and cheating, censoring and deceiving are different things.
      Thank you for agreeing that the vote fraud there should be exposed.

  6. Dave says:

    Hey there,

    Very insightful article. What makes it a challenge is that some of us are working quite hard to get important social ideas well-ranked, e.g., http://www.change.org/ideas/view/mobilize_mentors_tutors_and_citizen_teachers_to_help_kids_succeed .

    Hopefully, the Change administration will take note of the potential fraud online, and make its amends to support quality ideas – whatever they are – for presentation in January.

    Cheers,
    –Dave / plml.org

  7. Stefan R. says:

    Hi Jon,

    i think the poeple at change.org blew it. With their censorship and ignorance they make many serious poeple very angry. These are leaving the discussions. The rest are the “Legalize Marihuana”- and “Fresh milk”- guys and so change.org becomes more and more a farce.
    But nice views of “change” we could see there…(somehow fascistic)

  8. You need to CEASE and DESIST immediately before you sabotage the efforts of hard-working students.

    Work with the movement, not against it.

  9. Bess says:

    Thank you for your informative articles! Change dot org is a fraud and we need to get the word out to the National Press Club what they are about. I checked the NPC’s calendar and on Jan. 16 it looks as if the event is to be held in their First Amendment Lounge.

    http://npc.press.org/calendar/calendarday.cfm?whatday=16&&whatyear=2009&&whatmonth=1

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