The launch of online government petition platforms allows for the passive study of all petitions to government. Web-generated data like this can further our understanding of the mechanics of Internet-based mobilization. This talk gives a brief overview of the findings related to three government petition platforms and the future directions we are now pursuing. In brief, we find that most petitions fail, that successful petitions need early support, that collective attention decays very quickly, that the design of petition platforms matters, and that petition growth is characterized by a small number of very large changes and a large number of small changes.

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