We the undersigned: anonymous dissent and the struggle for personal identity in online petitions
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Anonymous signatures pose a significant threat to the legitimacy of the online petition as a persuasive form of political communication. While anonymous signatures address some privacy concerns for online petitioners, they often fail to identify petitioners as numerically distinct and socially relevant persons, Since anonymous signatures often fail to personally identify online petitioners, they often fail to provide sufficient reason for targeted political authorities to review and respond to their grievances. To recover the personal rhetoric of the online petition in a way that strikes a balance between the publicity and privacy concerns of petitioners, we should reformat online petitions as pseudonymous social networks of personal testimony between petitioners and targeted political authorities. To this end, the pseudonymous signatures of online petitions should incorporate social frames, co-authored complaints and demands, multimedia voice, and revisable support.