Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2041856
 
 

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Petition Growth and Success Rates on the UK No. 10 Downing Street Website


Scott A. Hale


Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Helen Zerlina Margetts


Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University

Taha Yasseri


University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

May 2, 2013

Hale, S. A., Margetts, H., and Yasseri, T. (2013). Petition Growth and Success Rates on the UK No. 10 Downing Street Website. In Proceedings of the 5th Annual ACM Web Science Conference, WebSci ’13.

Abstract:     
Now that so much of collective action takes place online, web-generated data can further understanding of the mechanics of Internet-based mobilisation. This trace data offers social science researchers the potential for new forms of analysis, using real-time transactional data based on entire populations, rather than sample-based surveys of what people think they did or might do. This paper uses a `big data' approach to track the growth of over 8,000 petitions to the UK Government on the No. 10 Downing Street website for two years, analysing the rate of growth per day and testing the hypothesis that the distribution of daily change will be leptokurtic (rather than normal) as previous research on agenda setting would suggest. This hypothesis is confirmed, suggesting that Internet-based mobilisation is characterized by tipping points (or punctuated equilibria) and explaining some of the volatility in online collective action. We find also that most successful petitions grow quickly and that the number of signatures a petition receives on its first day is a significant factor in explaining the overall number of signatures a petition receives during its lifetime. These findings have implications for the strategies of those initiating petitions and the design of web sites with the aim of maximising citizen engagement with policy issues.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 7

Keywords: petition, mobilization, trace data, big data, leptokurtic, bursty growth

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Date posted: April 18, 2012 ; Last revised: December 23, 2013

Suggested Citation

Hale, Scott A. and Margetts, Helen Zerlina and Yasseri, Taha, Petition Growth and Success Rates on the UK No. 10 Downing Street Website (May 2, 2013). Hale, S. A., Margetts, H., and Yasseri, T. (2013). Petition Growth and Success Rates on the UK No. 10 Downing Street Website. In Proceedings of the 5th Annual ACM Web Science Conference, WebSci ’13.. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2041856 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2041856

Contact Information

Scott A. Hale (Contact Author)
Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford ( email )
1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://www.scotthale.net/
Helen Zerlina Margetts
Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University ( email )
1 St Giles
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk
Taha Yasseri
University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )
1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/?id=315
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