Peter Reynolds

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Massive Outcry For Legal Cannabis On Your Freedom Website

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Your Freedom

The coalition government’s Your Freedom website has, according to Nick Clegg, been “helpful and really exciting”.    It’s been going nearly a fortnight now and anyone who has tried to visit it will have their own experience of how popular and therefore slow and busy it is.

The single most remarkable thing about it though is the massive outcry for the legalisation of cannabis and an end to the war on drugs.  I don’t believe that people’s opinions have suddenly changed.  It’s just that they’ve been given a forum in which to express their views.  If the government doesn’t do something about this issue now they’re going to look pretty stupid.

Your Choice

Mind you, during Obama’s transition, after the election but before the inauguration, he introduced the idea on his change.gov website.  Legalisation of cannabis was the winning idea but it wasn’t adopted.

However, it is true that Obama has made big changes in favour of medical marijuana and that the war on drugs is clearly over.

The site itself is an object lesson in how not to set up an internet presence.   The chosen technology is absolutely useless. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so bad.  HMG could have achieved a much better result with an off-the-shelf WordPress blog just like this one.  This is just another example of the now proven theory that anything the government does with IT will go wrong and cost a fortune.  Who are the idiots who were employed to set up this site?

It is completely overloaded and incapabable of handling the traffic it generates.

The software used for adding comments is the worst I have ever seen anywhere on the web.  When a commenter presses the “add comment” button there is no positive response.  Given how totally overloaded the site is it can take several minutes for the post to appear.  In the meantime, the commenter has pressed the button another four or five times before giving up.  Multiple copies of comments appear and the system slows down even more.

The moderation policy is bizarre to say the least.  It’s glaringly obvious that no thought at all was put into how to organise suggestions.  Consequently, there are literally hundreds of ideas that are almost identical.   Some of these are closed by the moderators and referred to another similar idea – but some aren’t.  They’ve learned nothing from the petitions section of the No 10 website.  It is just crazy!

There’s a strong suspicion of gerrymandering or tinkering with the posts, the votes and the comments.  It may just be the chaos of the site itself but it feels wrong.  There are dodgy things going on behind the scenes and protest is snuffed out.

Overall,  I’d rather we had the site as it is than not have it at all.  It’s just embarrassing though to see how bad it is.

It remains to be seen whether the government will take any notice.  If not though they’ve made a rod for their own back.

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5 Responses

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  1. […] MadSkillz wrote an interesting post today Here’s a quick excerpt The single most remarkable thing about it though is the massive outcry for the legalisation of cannabis and an end to the war on drugs. I don’t believe that people’s opinions have suddenly changed. It’s just that they’ve been given a … […]

  2. […] the rest of this great post here Comments (0)    Posted in Attorney Lawyer Legal   […]

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Peter Reynolds, Peter Reynolds. Peter Reynolds said: Massive Outcry For Legal Cannabis On Your Freedom Website: http://wp.me/pgXXJ-t8 […]

  4. Do you really think HMG could have got just as good a result with an off-the-shelf wordpress blog? How would that have avoided some of the problems you highlight? How would it have coped with hundreds of thousands of suggestions and comments and millions of visits? Obviously the Delib platform had its problems and its weaknesses, but probably for the amount of money HMG spent, it was not a bad deal. However, it would certainly be really interesting if there was a better way of doing it for even less money. The main problem with the Delib platform was that it was not really designed for use at such massive scale.

    Paul Johnston

    September 10, 2010 at 9:23 am

    • Thanks for your comment Paul. From your email address, I’m assuming you have some professional expertise in this, probably more than me! I think the key point that we can agree on, as I said: “It is completely overloaded and incapabable of handling the traffic it generates.” Also, “It’s just embarrassing though to see how bad it is.”.

      My WordPress comments system works fantastically. I have experience with both WordPress.com and WordPress.org. In both instances I believe that the only constraint is the available bandwidth. Obviously I haven’t tested it with more than a few thousand comments so I can’t be certain. Many of the national newspapers use the Disqus system (which you can install on a WordPress blog as well) but it doesn’t seem to work too well either. I hate the comments system on Blogger or Blogspot or Google. WordPress seems better than anything else out there to me. Do you know of any others worth consideration?

      Peter Reynolds

      September 10, 2010 at 11:15 am


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