This is a little strange. We recently wrote about Peter Sunde's request for a pardon
in which he lays out a fairly compelling argument for how the Swedish judicial system was railroaded into convicting him. Soon after that, a petition appeared on the site Avaaz in support of Sunde's request
, with the idea being that if it obtained enough signatures, it would be delivered to the Swedish government. Avaaz was actually a very big player in the fight against SOPA, helping to stir up international interest against the bill late last year. But in a somewhat surprising move, as pointed out by TorrentFreak
, the site has emailed users asking them if they find the Sunde petition "offensive, inflammatory or otherwise objectionable,"
in which case they may pull it down.
As TorrentFreak notes, this is odd for a variety of reasons. Beyond it being strange that anyone would think that a plea for a pardon is "offensive, inflammatory or otherwise objectionable," the petition site on Avaaz appears to have plenty of things that would be much more likely to cause offense to some people. TorrentFreak reasonably wonders why, of all the petitions on Avaaz, did it happen to pick out the Sunde one?
But I'd argue it goes even further than that. Why should Avaaz even be asking if petitions are "offensive, inflammatory or otherwise objectionable"? If someone posts such a petition, wouldn't it take care of itself by the fact that people won't sign it
? Trying to pre-determine if a petition is acceptable seems to go against the very setup of an open petition site like Avaaz's.