Lead image by FRANK AUGUGLIARO for WIred, article linked below
Public comment is a governmentally-hosted process that allows individuals, organizations, agencies, and businesses to provide input on proposed governmental decisions.
In the recent high profile public comment period on Net Neutrality, the online forum was overrun by bots.
For context, although public comment is *the* way for the public to signal to regulators, it is not binding for rule-makers to shape their rules according this public input. With that in mind, it becomes apparent that this type of automated attack leaves the door open for public opinion to be even further disregarded. Listen to the story in an engaging and accessible 8 minute segment in the recent "On the Media" podcast, linked here:
http://www.wnyc.org/story/public-comment-broken with writer Issie Lapowski https://www.wired.com/story/bots-broke-fcc-public-comment-system/
The takeaway -- get motivated to improve signaling between people and government.
(For a helpful guide to how you can engage with the public comment process on environmental regulations, with tips for dealing with state-level agencies, see https://publiclab.org/wiki/public-comment)