As is the case with public perceptions of slacktivism, Internet petitions are both a popular resort of web-based activism and a target of criticism from those who feel that such petitions are often disregarded by their targets because of the anonymity of petition signers; Snopes.com, for example, sides itself against the usage of Internet petitions as a method of activism.
Thank God I can finally feel justified in no longer signing those damn things
I have mixed emotions on it and I'd like to see results quantified one day. I don't know if "they" have that yet.
I tend to think the petitions are a little silly but I don't know if that's my physically activist background as I came of age right after Vietnam so I watched a lot of the protest growing up and then became active in college.
Part of my activism was organizing events and so when I think of online petitions as a means of protest, my mind goes back to how we would have used the internet then and I can't imagine having used it to sign petitions of sit-at-home protesters; rather, we'd have used it to rally our troops.
And for the protesters before my time, fighting the fighting of a horrible war, I can't imagine some online petition having stopped the Vietnam War, having stopped the killing there and the dying of our kids. So even while things might be changing, I have trouble taking it seriously but reserve judgment until more data is in.