Today when I came into Whyville, I did something that I don't normally do. I headed straight for City Hall and checked out the latest petitions and polls. Some of you might wonder why I don't normally do this on a daily or weekly basis. It is not that I have no interest in improving Whyville. Nor is it that I am not up-to-date on Whyville's current events. The truth is that I am unhappy by the way the some citizens have been mistreating the petition and poll booth.
Since the option of creating and signing different petitions was introduced, there have been small problems. One of the most common petitions I see involves clams. Many people feel that they should be given free clams when they sign into Whyville. As much as a few hundred or thousand. At one time (when the population was small), citizens *were* given free clams! However, they didn't have the opportunities that we have today. Games that helped to raise citizen's salaries were limited, and Whyvillians could not design Face Parts to raise their bank accounts. It is silly that the petitions with the most votes happen to be the ones involving clams or free face parts. If everyone was handed clams whenever they wanted, what would be the point in raising your own salary? The idea of budgeting and managing your clams would be obliterated.
Let us not forget the ever-so-controversial Why-Pass topic. It is spicy enough to even have its own section of the Times, occasionally. But a lot of people still believe that it is unfair (despite the reminders from City Hall, City Workers, and your fellow Whyvillians). Just recently, people have introduced petitions saying that Why-Passes should be able to be paid for by clams. However, this is impossible. The clam is not a real dollar. Whyville needs real money and sponsors to keep its doors open to its citizens. What would the point in the Why-Pass be if people were able to pay for them with clams? If you stop and think about it, a one-month Why-Pass is not that expensive. It costs far less than a pair of jeans, less than a novel, a movie ticket, or even a meal. Not to mention the cause that it is going towards. If you are not allowed to get a Why-Pass, think of other methods that might work. Perhaps you could even start searching for some company to sponsor Whyville.
Something that is really heating up the polls are demands for people wanting to expose their body parts. They will explain to you that they want "more than just the head and shoulders showing". If you haven't noticed, some females walk around Whyville exposing their bellybuttons. To me, that is fine. They aren't getting too carried away. Now I hear that people want to be shirtless or wear bikinis or other bathing suits. I wonder how long it will be until people are craving to be allowed to wear their "birthday suits". A lot of people argue that these 'clothes' represent the theme of the Pool Party or the new Whyville Beach. Did you know that you can be fined for exposing too much of your body? You could also lose your face part privileges, so make sure you keep that in mind when you decide to be daring or sign a petition.
Frivolous petitions hardly get my attention. Not to mention the way that some people choose to advertise them. I have seen petitions used as people's own personal chat room and dating service. The introduction of the 911 Report in the petition section of Whyville is a good idea, in my opinion. But how and when you use this tool is still a grey area in my mind. Do you report a person who is using the petition and poll booth out of context? And what makes a petition bad enough to report? So far, I haven't seen anyone give out any personal information. Nor have they asked another to meet outside of Whyville. Petitions are not supposed to mimic a chat room. But I could be wrong when I say that people don't use it as one.
No doubt that petitions can help shape the changes of Whyville. People have petitioned for a new beach and we recently learned that we will be getting one. However, lately I have seen more demands rather than ideas. Why do people expect so much from a website which allows (a large chunk) of its citizens in for free? How come people are so demanding? Either that, or people who have purchased Why-Passes want a lot more bang for their buck. Some things that I would suggest you keep in mind while writing a petition are:
- Make sure that you are using correct spelling and grammar. There is nothing more unprofessional than a petition that is one big run-on sentence. Not to mention that it is more difficult to read. If it doesn't make sense, chances are people won't sign it.
- Try to have some sort of idea in your head. A lot of people just say "I would like a mall, a restaurant, or an amusement park". Well, explain your idea in more detail. This may make people more excited about your idea. Not to mention that you might impress City Hall with your background information.
If things start changing in City Hall's petition booth, then you might just see more people (like me) peek in to have a look and vote on some issues. Until then, remember that petitions are supposed to be creative and original ideas that will benefit Whyville. I am sure that City Workers have more important issues to deal with than getting apartments, a pet store, a skating rink, a restaurant and bathrooms for Whyville citizens (although that does seem funny). This isn't even half of the things that people want. However, you must comment on the imagination of some of these people. And at least people are taking the time and effort to create and vote on things that they feel are important.
I am sure that people just want the best for Whyville and want their fellow citizens to have a fun time while visiting. Who knows what people's motives are. But thank you for reading and keeping an open-mind.
Misery waits in big hotels,