Same same but different?

I had a moment of deja vu when I saw the White House’s announcement of their (impending) platform, We The People, to directly petition the government.¬†¬†Hadn’t I seen this before? Turns out I had. Rewind to Netroots Nation this past June, where MoveOn.org’s Adam Quinn showed off SignOn.org–their new platform for, you guessed it, citizens to create and circulate petitions about any issue of their choosing.

Immediately, I had two questions: 1) How similar are these two platforms, and what do their differences mean (in terms true grassroots-ness, in terms of efficacy, in terms of who’s being petitioned and how, etc.)? 2)What does the fact that multiple groups (that have pretty different priorities) are seeing citizen-produced petitions as the answer mean for participation and ideas about how politics should work?

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