This issue has now been resolved. It is business as usual for the campaign!
Sincere thanks to all who contacted Change.org about this.
Updates are now being emailed to supporters.
Doesn't it sometimes feel as though our efforts to do good - 'the right thing' - are thwarted along the way...?
It's with a weary heart that I write to tell you all about a setback with our campaign....
As many of you will know, I've been running a petition challenging Natural England's shocking licensing system which is responsible for the slaughter of thousands and thousands of our wild birds.
As the petition reaches a huge landmark figure of 350,000 signatures and we head on towards the dizzying figure of half a million, gremlins at Change.org, the platform hosting the petition, and one of our main tools in spreading awareness of the campaign, have put a great big spanner in the works, stifling debate and discussion by apparently disabling our important email updates.
Discussion and debate silenced...
A few days ago, many supporters alerted me after they suddenly stopped receiving their regular email updates about the campaign. I had just revealed (via my blog) some truly shocking data relating to licences the Natural England had issued, approving the taking of baby birds from nests and the killing of songbirds for scientific research.
As always I was keen to inform petition supporters of this latest news and so I issued an update via Change.org as usual. This time, as the news began to go viral across social media, the Change.org emails were not sent.
I tried several times but no emails were sent out.
The updates, which keep people informed of latest developments surrounding the campaign, are normally emailed automatically by Change to every supporter who has chosen to receive them. With 350,000 supporters, this meant that potentially hundreds of thousands of people regularly received the latest news about the petition and a cause which they loyally and eagerly support.
So the updates have been highly effective as a way of keeping supporters 'in the loop'.
Along with social and mainstream media, the petition updates also spread awareness and have even contributed to some useful dialogue that I have had with Natural England themselves.
While updates are (currently at least) still appearing on the Change.org website itself, the fact that tens of thousands of interested parties are not receiving the emails means that the lively discussion and debate we have come to expect following each update has been effectively silenced.
Supporters becoming suspicious...
Now, I'm not saying there is anything sinister afoot (though others are) but the whole situation is disturbing.
We have put our trust in one of the largest petitioning platforms in the world, thinking that we could rely on a dependable service.
Now, at a critical point for the campaign, Change.org has let us down badly.
350,000 people, many of whom have made direct payments to Change.org, really deserve better than this.
Some have suggested to me that the whole affair smacks of 'outside interference', or even 'censorship'. I don't believe this to be the case, but we do need Change.org to respond with a reasonable explanation....
Change.org response unsatisfactory and unhelpful
I have of course contacted Change.org but the responses I have received from them regarding this problem have been entirely unsatisfactory and really quite patronising.
Change.org's ironically named 'Help Center' wrote to me apparently suggesting - ludicrously - that each one of the petition's 350,000 supporters must have a problem with their individual accounts (yes, all of them!). They told me that they had found "no reason why the updates would not be sent. If the supporters are not receiving them," I was told, "it´s probably something related to each individual account, therefore, every supporter who experiences this should approach us individually."
But prior to this, I alerted a contact I have at Change's UK office about the problem and he later told me he'd 'cleared it' (thereby acknowledging that there was indeed an 'issue').
But it wasn't cleared. The emails were still not sent out. And he is now mysteriously out of the office 'until May 1st'.
I have also contacted Change.org's CEO, Ben Rattray together with a number of other high profile people within the company but I have yet to receive so much as an acknowledgement from any of them....
In the meantime I really need to reach out to as many supporters as I can - and for this I need a huge effort from everyone who has signed the petition.
Call to action - and the fight goes on.
So, tens of thousands of people, who relied on the Change email updates, are being kept in the dark about developments with the campaign. This is very worrying, and as I have no way to contact them, I'd ask everyone to share this message widely to try to alert as many supporters as we can to the problem. I'm using social media to inform people but it's clearly impossible to reach everyone.
The campaign has been hugely successful in spreading awareness of a serious matter of public interest but the restrictions imposed (knowingly or unknowingly) by Change.org on the petition threaten to derail the whole campaign.
We won't let this happen of course, and though I am a little jaded from this latest setback, the fight goes on.
The petition is only a part (albeit an important part) of the campaign and I will continue to highlight the plight of our wildlife at the hands of Natural England, regardless.
In addition to sharing this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting the petition url:-
to register your dissatisfaction at not receiving email updates.
Meanwhile, thank you all for your continued support.
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