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Open Letter to the Owner of @CripTheVote website

Background

On Saturday night at about 11 PM Eastern, someone contacted me and others to propose collaborating on a planned website about disability and politics that would be called #CripTheVote. This person had already bought the domain name cripthevote and had a basic template set up. He also had a Twitter account with that name and a Facebook page.

While the three of us who started the #CripTheVote hashtag discussed our response,  people he contacted started tweeting their objections to this appropriation of the idea. I just sent our compete response to the original email. Below is our message to him.

–Alice Wong, Founder and Project Coordinator, Disability Visibility Project

Co-Partner, #CripTheVote

 

Hello,

First of all, we have been working on a response to your original email (dated April 16, 2016) for part of last night and most of today. We are three people living on opposite sides of the US, so it took us a bit of time for us to agree an approach. In the meantime, others responded to your email to them with their own thoughts. We happen to pretty much concur with what they have been telling you via Twitter.

We appreciate your changing the name of your website so something other than #CripTheVote. We hope that will be taken care of soon. There are three main reasons why we do not wish to collaborate with your project, and why we objected to your using #CripTheVote for its branding:

  1. We have worked hard to make our project disability issue focused, nonpartisan, and for the most part, non-editorial. That is, the three of us have generally not inserted our own political views into the conversation. While a website that collects various Op-Ed type pieces on disability and politics is a fine idea, it is not compatible with what we are doing with #CripTheVote.
  1. There may be confusion by your readers on your involvement in #CripTheVote, and our connection with your website. It is unfair and incorrect for people who visit your website or tweet with you to believe you are affiliated with us, or we with you. It’s clearly stated in numerous articles and blog posts that #CripTheVote is run by 3 people and you are not one of them.
  1. It also disturbed us that you bought the domain name, set up the template for your website, opened a Twitter account, and a Facebook page, all using #CripTheVote … and only then began contacting a whole host of participants, (including us), without first discussing your idea with us. We feel ambushed, and that would be a bad way to start any new collaboration.

Again, we are glad you have agreed to change the name of your project. Your idea is great, but it is separate from #CripTheVote and should not be confused with #CripTheVote. There is room for multiple projects and campaigns on this subject, and no need at all to piggyback on other each others’ ideas.

Gregg Beratan

Andrew Pulrang

Alice Wong

#CripTheVote Co-Partners

 

PS The online ‘homes’ for #CripTheVote are on Twitter as a hashtag and these two websites since its inception on January 27 2016:

http://disabilitythinking.com/election-2016-cripthevote/

https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com

**Image of CripTheVote logo created by Mike Mort.

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