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How to Handle Political Telemarketing?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the obnoxious-calls-are-still-obnoxious-calls dept.

275

TheOtherChimeraTwin writes "Slashdot has touched on telemarketing in the past. The No Call lists work pretty well for me except for a flood of political calls. They guys use automated dialers with recorded messages and use bogus caller id information, calling back multiple times. Political surveys are done by real people, but they hang up on me if I stray from answering their questions. Does anyone have a solution better than just hanging up on these slime? I'd just vote for their opponent, but sometimes I'm getting called by both sides. The distraction of these calls is annoying and the problem is only going to get worse."

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Do what I did (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850041)

Join the libertarian party ... they don't have enough money to telemarket.

Re:Do what I did (1)

vitamine73 (818599) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850328)

Actually, in one election I just told all of them that if they kept calling I was *definetly* going to vote against them... never heard from them again, lived happily ever after and so on...

Re:Do what I did (4, Interesting)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850644)

I know someone who actually got a job doing telemarketing for the Republican party - and took it as her personal mission to get as many hang-ups as possible. Sometimes she would use a really loud annoying voice, sometimes she'd act sickeningly friendly and patronizing, sometimes she'd talk non-stop over the other person as though she was a recording, and if someone was annoyed enough to say "Don't call me again, or I'm voting for the other guy!", she'd make sure they ended up on the "follow up soon" list.

She never got fired - I guess the GOP isn't particularly strict about overseeing their most obnoxious "campaigners". But I bet she persuaded far more people not to vote Republican than than any Democrat telemarketer could have!

Re:Do what I did (5, Insightful)

wolvesofthenight (991664) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850378)

Voting for a third party is actually a very good option. If everyone that is whining about the current political duopoly would stop whining and vote for someone else then the duopoly would fall apart. People normally counter argue that you are throwing your vote away because they 3rd party will never win. I disagree with this because: - There are currently several independent congressman. - While they might not win this race more people who voted mainstream might vote for them next time if they are noticed in this race. People will take you a lot more seriously if you got 15% last election instead of 1.5%. - A large number of people don't because they don't like either of the 2 main parties. If they would get out and vote for 3rd parties then we would see a lot more 3rd parties winning. Most importantly, don't get that you have more than one vote! There are many issues on a single ballot, so you can vote mainstream for president and 3rd party for other offices. Last election I felt that the presidential race was very close and that there was a huge difference between Bush & Kerry. I voted for one of them even though I felt that one of the other candidates would do a better job. However, a number of other offices I often voted 3rd party because there was not nearly as much at stake. If more people in my state will start doing this then we can get a 3rd (and hopefully a 4th) party going locally. After that we can work toward another party for president.

Re:Do what I did (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850469)

This is true. The LP doesn't get Federal money* like the Republicans and Democrats do. I would hope that if they were ever offered even a fraction of the amount given to the main parties that they would turn it down on principle. But then, they're politicians, too.

* read: your money, for those in the US.

Re:Do what I did (2, Interesting)

morleron (574428) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850700)

I agree. I've joined the Libertarians not only because they don't do calls of this sort, but also because I firmly believe that it's time to get government off our backs. However, that's kind of beside the point here.

A good friend of mine turns these calls into what he terms the "How Long can I String Them Along Game" in which the goal is to see how long you can keep the idiot making the call on the line. The technique works like this:

Caller: Hi, I'm calling in regard to Senator Joe Congresscritter's campaign. Do you have a few moments to discuss the very important issues that Senator Congresscritter believes need to be addressed by the government?

Callee: Sure. I'd love to discuss those issues. Can you hold on for a minute, you caught me preparing dinner and I've got to get something out of the oven?

Caller: OK.

Callee: (goes off and does things he wants for 3 to 5 minutes then returns) Sorry, now where were we? Oh, right, you want to talk about politics.

Caller: Yes, Senator Congresscritter is very concerned about the future of this great nation of ours and wants you to know that he's worried about the future of Social Security. In fact, he has put together a plan for...

Callee: Oh, just a moment...my cat needs to go out (goes away and does other things for 3 to 5 minutes...comes back) Now, about Social Security...

This process is repeated for however long it takes for the telelmarketing idiot to realize that he's being played. Mark's record is somewhere around an hour now, though I think that was with a commercial telemarketer, for whom this game is also appropriate. Don't get annoyed...get even.

Just my $.02,
Ron

Re:Do what I did (1)

magictiger (952241) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850875)

The downside to doing something like this is that you can get someone fired for just doing their job to the best of their ability, especially if it's a commercial callcenter where the reps are scored on the number of calls they make every hour and how many of those are "successful" calls. Personally, I really don't think that matters too much for the political stuff, but I've never done that kind of work, so I really can't say.

Re:Do what I did (3, Insightful)

jtev (133871) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850933)

Which is why the first rule of the call center rep is "Don't waste your time, make the contact waste theirs." If somone goes off for 5 minutes, you'd only wait for 2 minutes, then hang up. Posibly less if you've got a low talk time contract like polical mesages. It's not like the people in the call center even care if you vote for the canidate that they are calling on behalf of anyway.

Answer their questions honestly because they are (1)

vandelais (164490) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850043)

as important to Democracy as Diebold, Bush v. Gore, and voting for the dead guy.

Tell them you intend to vote for CowboyNeal!

How about... (3, Interesting)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850045)

trying to track down who's actually calling you, and getting a restraining order against them. Or you can create a web site about it and expose whomever may be responsible, odds are they won't take too kindly to the exposure.

Re:How about... (1)

kingkade (584184) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850282)

or threaten to track em down and rip their genitals off.

Re:How about... (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850726)

Or say, "I'm not interested, please take me off your list."

But hey, everyone needs to feel important.

well... (2, Insightful)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850046)

just lie to them. but seriously there is a big problem. if you ignore or lie to political telemarketers dont complain when politicians do whacky things by relying on polling data.

well...Shurking one's duties. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850099)

This crowd may want to look up 'civic duty'. A responsable citizen doesn't start and end at the ballet box.

Re:well... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850392)

I just tell them i'm too drink to talk politics then start asking about thier religion and why they don't see the light like i did.

This will get your name off the list pretty quick. It doesn't matter what religion you tell them although picking a competiter like lutherin verses catholic or muslim would be a good way to get thier goat. I used to act like i was favoring a certain religion just to trash it when they proclaimed it to gain my attention.

or just mumble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850969)

Just mumble in response.

Pollster: Are you very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely to agree?
Me: ummm, mawlll rwhummmm ... ahhhh ... sortaaaaa kennnniiii prutannn.
Pollster: I'm sorry, could you repeat that.
Me: iirrrrr, kennnahhlll ... pettannnn beaasunn.
Pollster: Ummm, so, I'll put you down as somewhat unlikely.
Me: NO! I cannnn perrrr trunnndle ... messssiin tenna.
Pollster: I'm having a hard time understanding you.
Me: herrrrannnn keppalllllliiinn ... teeetaaarrrreni

It's fun seeing how long they keep trying to ask you questions until they give up.

Get a cell phone, ditch the landline (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850048)

I took the plunge a couple of months ago, and I have yet to get one spam phone call since. Cell phone prices are comparable to landline phone prices and come with lots of nifty features (like free long-distance calling).

best of both worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850124)

We still have a landline but I solved the bogus call problems by never answering the phone. I only use it for outgoing calls or the internet. Friends and people who need a number get the cellphone number. I'm *almost* ready to ditch the landline, but haven't, because so far the wireless internet and cellphone are not quite adequate in bad weather (net connection evaporates and cell calls get too noisy to be practical), the tech still needs some improvement.

Re:best of both worlds (2)

Mr. Byaninch (837872) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850395)

I'm sorta in the same place. I have to have a landline in order to get broadband. (Apartment owners made a deal with SBC... What can I say?). Anyway, all my friends use my cell #. When the landline rings (ringer is off), if I notice it (face lights up) or DirecTV caller ID shows up, if it's a local number I don't recogize, I just don't answer. If it's an area code where I have family and friends, I answer. But basically, JUST DON'T ANSWER. Not that big a deal.

Re:best of both worlds (2, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850738)

Better yet, dont use your landline at all.
Have a cellphone and/or VoIP.
Dont give out the landline phone number to anyone, only the cell number.
If you have Cable for internet, dont get a phone line at all.
If you have Fiber or something else, dont get a phone line.
If you have Dialup or you have DSL or you have Fiber or something and you must have a phone line (e.g. "verizon will only let you get FIOS if you get verizon phone over that FIOS"), get the phone line but dont even have a real phone (only the modem for broadband/dialup) plugged into it.

That way, even if the telemarketers do get your landline number (if any), all they get is no answer then ring out since no-one even knows a call was made.

Re:best of both worlds (1, Flamebait)

Mr. Byaninch (837872) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850769)

Uh, read my post. READ MY POST. Oh, and READ MY POST. And maybe READ MY POST. There must be something you can't understand in it. So READ MY POST AGAIN!. Then go away.

Re:Get a cell phone, ditch the landline (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850406)

Two years ago hurricane Isabel hit and we had no power for 9 days. Much of the city was without power longer. I know a few people that were thankful for cell phones, until they realized they had no place to charge them, since work and home had no power. People would idle their cars in their driveways to charge their cells or to make calls. By some miracle, the only system we could count on through that was the landline. I've also had times where I could not get a signal on the cell in my own home -- and I live in the state capital, not 10 minutes from the capital building itself!

I can understand wanting to ditch a landline, but after surviving one disaster, I'm staying prepared for disasters and emergencies.

Re:Get a cell phone, ditch the landline (1)

gijoel (628142) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850832)

Honestly I have people ringing me on my mobile trying to sell me time share holidays and phone deals. I don't think ditching the mobile is going to help you for all that long.

The calls are the least of your problem (5, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850056)

The calls are the least of your problems.

In addition to making annoying phone calls, they are also bilking you (and every member of your household) out of tens of thousands of dollars (each) to pay for foreign entanglements (wars, giving weapons to loonies, etc.) to stroke their half baked dreams of empire, selling your rights to the highest corporate bidder, who pay them back with booze and hookers (at your expense of course) and lying to you every chance they get. Oh yeah, and spying on you, paying newscasters to lie to you (again, your tax dollars at work), letting their corporate masters override you and your doctor's decisions about your health care, and hundreds of other things.

Plus that, they are being such jerks in the world at large that people you've never met hate you enough to kill you, just because they represent you.

But if the phone calls are the straw that breaks your camel's back, so be it.

--MarkusQ

Re:The calls are the least of your problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850092)

They are also going along with these hair brained ideas because YOU elected them... I don't understand how people can be so anti politicians if you don't like them don't vote for them...

Re:The calls are the least of your problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850165)

Why on earth would you assume that they voted for whom ever they are complaining about?
Simply complaining does not, in and of itself, assume an apathetic voting record.
Unfortunately, in the US, we have a Winner-takes-all system; I didn't vote for most
of the people around here that 'represent' my ideas, and I certainly won't stop
bitching about their idiotic Repumocrat horsecrap.
I think that the system stems from having only two real parties; this was fine
when the country was established because most of the small communities would certainly
have known the person who they were sending to congress. Now, not only do these people
hardly represent the communities they serve (honestly, in my area, no one would be able
to afford the $500.000,00 a day budget for a congressional race), they don't even bother
to pretend! I did vote, & not for the person who one. You can stick it if you think
people won't bitch about it afterwards

The "You voted for them" double think (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850491)

They are also going along with these hair brained ideas because YOU elected them... I don't understand how people can be so anti politicians if you don't like them don't vote for them...

Ah, but I didn't vote for them. And, in several cases, neither did the majority of the people I know. So who did? Beats me. In one case it was the SCOTUS, but that in the rest? Perhaps some sheeple I've never met, perhaps a small team at the company that makes our voting machines, who knows?

The point, of course, is not how they got there, but how we can rid ourselves of them.

--MarkusQ

Re:The calls are the least of your problem (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850473)

Hey, he didn't say it was Republicans calling him...

Re:The calls are the least of your problem (4, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850525)

Hey, he didn't say it was Republicans calling him...

I never said he did. It might well be Joe "bought-and-paid-for" Lieberman. Or Hillary "screw defending the constitution I have to look tough and centrist even if it means selling out (and think of the children)" Clinton. Or Jane "I heart defense contractors" Harman. Or dozens of others.

Republicans don't have a patent on selling us out, they just happen to be doing so more efficiently at the moment. If the inside the beltway, big donor fueled DLC Democrats could get their heads out of their polls I'm sure they could do just as well.

Likewise, all the parties seem to have a smattering of honest, intelligent, hard working people who will stand up for what they believe in and do the job we sent them for (until somebody makes them an offer they can't refuse, or they die in a small plane crash).

--MarkusQ

lie (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850086)

I normally just make crap up.

I want my flying car, a county wide monorail system, holoTV that bring hot girls into your living room like on Logans Run, domed cities and a discount on soylet green crumbs.

And masturbation in public to be LEGAL.

Re:lie (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850272)

And masturbation in public to be LEGAL.

You mean it isn't? Whoops...

OH NOES!!!!! (1)

Dryanta (978861) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850402)

Someone gave Pee-Wee Herman an internet connection!!!

Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850727)

Your answers make you sound like an ideal candidate for the Libertarian party. Please join up right away!

But please fix this damned captcha. It says "drunkly" for some reason.

Be Determined (4, Insightful)

cagle_.25 (715952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850093)

Hi, this is Kimberly from the [Republican | Democratic] National Committee...

Hi Kimberly, my wife and I don't make any donations whatsoever over the phone, and we don't answer poll questions either.

Sure, I can understand that. We would like to send you a free brochure with our platform on it, but we need to have some level of commitment from you. Could I put you down for $25?

(It turns out she actually can't understand what I said). I'm sorry. Like I said, we don't make contributions over the phone. Good luck in November.


CLICK. BZZZ...

---

For the record, any political contributions we make go to PACs. We figure that the money will be better distributed to the candidates that actually support our positions, than if we gave to the national parties.

Re:Be Determined (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850191)

I used to get rid of the political money grabbers really quick when I lived in the US. After they gave their little pitch I'd simply say: "I'd love to support you, is there a limit on what foreigners can donate?" Then watch them back track and leave as fast as possible! Of course since I am British it was true but I sure those of you who are US citizens can improvise!

Don't try it in Canada though - I tried the "I'm British" when they came canvasing for votes and they never believe me that I don't get a vote so I always end up have to explain that since 1982 British subjects don't get to vote in Canadian elections (although bizarrely enough I would apparently still do jury duty if I lived in the Yukon!). At least I'll be well prepared for the civics test when I'm finally eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship!

Re:Be Determined (1)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850586)

If they're live, same as before commercial solicitations were banned.

Hi, this is Kimberly from the [Republican | Democratic] National Committee...

"I'm sorry. but we are not allowed to respond telephone solicitations."

Never explain further; don't get drawn into discussions about who does not allow you.

Re:Be Determined (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850962)

This works for me...

"Screw off Neo-hitler cock sucking bitch!"

Probably will not ever call back, ether. Sadly it may give innocent bystanders heart attacks, but... ask yourself, isn't it worth it?

Turn-about is fair... (1)

DSW-128 (959567) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850097)

Call the successful candidate at dinnertime to tell 'em to cover political campaigns/polls with the existing do-not-call lists.

An answering maching is your friend. (2, Informative)

Maclir (33773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850098)

If we get a call from a number we don't recognise, or is blocked from giving the caller id, we let the answering machine take it. If the person starts to leave a message, and we want to talk to them, we pick up. But telemarketers hang up as soon as the hear a machine.

Lose the land line (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850297)

If we get a call from a number we don't recognise, or is blocked from giving the caller id, we let the answering machine take it. If the person starts to leave a message, and we want to talk to them, we pick up. But telemarketers hang up as soon as the hear a machine.

An answering machine is only a temporary solution. You still have to screen it, hear the phone ring, hear the message and the person talking, etc. You just don't have to deal with the person yourself. A better solution is to ditch your land line entirely. Unless you still use a dialup net connection, you don't need it. Get a good cell phone on a provider with a strong signal in your area, and be done with it. Since incoming cell phone calls cost you minutes(money), cell phones are exempt from phone spam (telemarketers or politicians alike).

Chances are you already have a cell phone, so why are you paying that extra $20+ per month for the useless land line?

I ditched my land line three years ago after getting fed up with receiving nothing but phone spam (I use my cell phone for real communication). Rather than deal with no-call lists, I just tossed the damned thing. Haven't missed it since. If you must have a land line (bundled in a DSL package, for example), turn off the ringer, don't get an answering machine, get the cheapest plan you can (which is still usually $20/mo), and only use it for emergencies like calling 911.

Re:Lose the land line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850421)

Cell phones are exempt from the phone spam only in theory. I get much more phone spam on my cell phone than on my land line. The differance is that the cell spam is from pre recorded messages in spanish that aren't politically oriented 90% of the time, and the land line phones are politically motived recordings or pollsters. Either way I'm paying to be the recipient of spam regardless of laws and regulations.

Re:An answering maching is your friend. (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850314)

I came home one day to find 27 new messages on my machine. All but one of them was "This was a political survey call. We will try again later."

The other was some pediatrics office leaving a reminder message about an appointment for my kid. News to me. I wish people would tell me I had kids..

Re:An answering maching is your friend. (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850544)

What I would absolutely love is to have an Asterisk server that used its "modem" as a connection to a land-line. (Finally! A good use for a WinModem!)

When calling in, it would:
- "Time-shift" by a second or two unless a receiver is picked up.
- Timeshifting allows it to detect a fax and decode it into a TIFF, then deposit that TIFF on the filesystem or in an email inbox.
- Timeshifting allows it to detect caller ID info and compare to a black/white list system.
- For faxes, non-whitelist numbers are automatically disconnected.
- For voice, only blacklisted numbers get auto-disconnection.
- Record voice-mail/answering messages direct-to-disk as MP3 audio, tagging them with timestamp and caller ID data in the ID3 tags.

When calling out, it would:
- Detect local numbers and "911" and route it to the PSTN connection.
- Detect long-distance numbers and route it through VoIP.
- Allow "mobius faxing" against people you hate.

This would solve problems with telemarketers much in the same way spam filtering keeps inboxes clean. Sure, it's not perfect. But it would be sooooooo cool to be able to mobius fax an outbound line from a telemarketer.

Re:An answering maching is your friend. (1)

ampmouse (761827) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850906)

I have a setup very simular to the one you describe.
When a "telemarketer" (almost always an automated system) leaves their number on my voice-mail, I run a little shell script that makes sure there are plenty of copies of a particular text file in in a folder that just happens to be named /var/spool/asterisk/outgoing.
At the moment, I just put them on hold when they answer, but I have been working on a much better system that uses Sphinx (Speech recognition) and Festival (Text to speech) to have some more "fun". The average answered call lenght is about 30 seconds just calling them and putting them on hold...

Re:An answering maching is your friend. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850545)

So, you're a pompous dick?

How does that fix the problem?

LK

Re:An answering maching is your friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850796)

But telemarketers hang up as soon as the hear a machine.


No, they don't. One bastard's automated phone spam machine filled up our voicemail. Didn't vote for him, but as you say, what can you do?

Tips (2, Informative)

tonyr1988 (962108) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850110)

Unfortunately, political groups are exempt from the "Do Not Call" lists. I don't have a home phone, so I have the joy of not having to worry about any telemarketers. From various web sources, it looks like there's no real action you can take (legally) to proactively defend yourself. However, I've found two possible solutions:
  • When you do get a telephone solicitation, find out on whose behalf they are calling, ask that you be permanently removed from their calling list, and tell them that you are writing this information down. If they call back, demand to talk to a manager and complain and/or call the Consumer Protection Division of your local State Attorney General's office.
  • Consider products such as the Telezapper [telezapper.com] and these [slashdot.org] .

Re:Tips (1)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850261)

Check your /. link that you posted in your comment; the devices that it links to don't seem to be around anymore.

Re:Tips (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850270)

as a general tip on telemarketers grab a copy of http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cg i?TITLE=47&PART=64&SECTION=1200&TYPE=TEXT [gpo.gov]

  TITLE 47--TELECOMMUNICATION CHAPTER I--FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (CONTINUED) PART 64_MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS--Table of Contents Subpart L_Restrictions on Telemarketing and Telephone Solicitation Sec. 64.1200 Delivery restrictions.

print it out and keep it by the phone (bonus tip include a partners and any that you share your list with line in the remove you from your list "request")

oh btw a DNC "request" drops out the "established business relationship" and does not have any exemptions so if you get a call from the "Joe Shlock for Chairman of Vice campain" a DNC blocks all callers from the campain
extra bonus tip start recording the calls

Easy (3, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850117)

Me: "Which candidate is this?"
Them: Candidate A
Me: Who is his opponent?
Them: Candidate B
Me: Okay. I'll vote for Candidate B. Thanks for interrupting my day.

Enough peopl do this, people won't call.

Re:Easy (2, Funny)

cagle_.25 (715952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850185)

In Candidate B's office

Op #1: Hey guys, I've got a list of contrarian voters. Who wants to make the calls?

Op #2: That would be me. Who's first?

Op #1: "MyLongNickName (822545)"

Op #2 (dials 822545): Hi, I'm calling on behalf of Candidate A's campaign

You: I'll vote for Candidate B. Thanks for interrupting my day.

Op #2: Sorry to bother you, sir. (hangs up) Yes! Another easy vote.

Re:Easy (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850202)

But at least then what they're doing would be illegal, and eventually would likely lead to candidates being disqualified (or at least fined and losing votes).

Re:Easy (2, Interesting)

cagle_.25 (715952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850396)

True, it would be illegal. But in my state (Maryland, home of dirty politics), there would be a fine and after four years, no one would remember. I know of no case -- although my knowledge is limited -- in which a candidate was removed from office because of dirty campaign tricks.

Re:Easy (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850744)

Next day:
Me: "Which candidate is this?"
Them: Candidate B
Me: Who is his opponent?
Them: Candidate A
Me: Okay. I'll vote for Candidate A. Thanks for interrupting my day.

Now who do you vote for?

Re:Easy (1)

AnyoneEB (574727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850764)

Candidate C.

Get a cell phone (5, Informative)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850170)

What the hell are you doing still using a land line, anyway?

Cancel your land line and get a cell phone (and remember to put a text-messaging block on it). You won't receive ANY telemarketing calls.

Mod parent up (2, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850193)

I haven't had a landline in over three years, and I haven't gotten a telemarketing call (political or otherwise) in just as long. The closest I've come is some theater I'd seen a show at asking for a donation, and that was a couple years ago.

Of course, there will come a day when so few people have landlines (that they actually use for voice) that politicians will make sure they can canvas the cel phones too, but until that day comes it's great.

Re:Get a cell phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850609)

This is wrong. Cell phones aren't supposed to receive telemarketing calls, but that hasn't stopped political telemarketers from calling my cell phone.

Re:Get a cell phone (1)

Aqws (932918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850670)

What happens when you start getting calls to your cell phone? Btw, I know this doesn't happen yet, I'm curios though, is there anything keeping it from happening?

Re:Get a cell phone (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850835)

Cancel your land line and get a cell phone (and remember to put a text-messaging block on it). You won't receive ANY telemarketing calls.

And you'll also be screwed in case of a power failure [cbsnews.com] , when celluar towers lose power. POTS is amazingly reliable, running on batteries for a long time. (Of course, for best results you'll need an old-school wired phone - pick one up at Goodwill.)

Re:Get a cell phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850839)

You also won't be able to understand any of the calls you do recieve, due to the excessive compression artifacts. Assuming they aren't dropped immediately.

Sorry, it's just been my experience with cell phones (Cingular GSM network, Samsung and Motorola phones) that they're almost unusable as actual phones. If you and the person you're calling are both getting a full five bars it might work; anything less and it's garbled, overcompressed, dropped-packet city. Every time my cell phone rings, I think I'm beta testing for Cingular (someone else is paying for my phone/plan, otherwise I would have cancelled it a year ago).
Maybe it'll be better when they actually start using all that high-speed 3G stuff (GPRS, EDGE, etc.) for transmitting voice data, rather than cramming it all into the 0.5kbps or whatever GSM uses. Until then, I'll keep my land line.

Re:Get a cell phone (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850936)

*shrug* Maybe it's time to switch providers if you've only tried Cingular. Sounds like it's not worth it even though it's free. I've used Cingular in Boston and T-Mobile in Viriginia and Michigan, plus roaming pretty much across the US, and maybe have one dropped call every two or three months. And maybe once a month a call is fuzzy enough that I can't understand something, but it usually clears up in a minute or two. It's more than reliable enough to be my only phone line. Sure, there are a few areas out in the middle of nowhere that I can't get reception, but I don't spend much time out there - and if I had a land line it's not like I could take it out there anyhow!

I've never had a problem using it during power outages, either, as a poster above suggested. (Although I do have an emergency backup battery in case the power is out long enough that I can't recharge.)

Re:Get a cell phone (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850977)

I ocaistionally get some sort of marketing message on my cell, It appears a new voice message even if my cell was on and could have rung. I don't know what it is because it's in spanish and I don't speak spanish. I'll be really mad if it's costing me to get these.

My brothers have had drone on recorded messages, they even hung up only to find that if they picked up the phone too soon the recorded message was still droneing on... makes you wonder what you would do if you had a need for emergency services and your phone line was jammed up by some droneing recording.

depends on who is calling (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850177)

if it is the GOP calling i tell them if they dont stop calling i will vote for a democrat.

if it is the DNC calling i tell them if they dont stop calling i will vote for a republican.

Don't hang up (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850196)

If you don't mind being rude try this:

If you are busy ask them to hold on for a while- e.g. "Please hold on, I'll be back".

Then finish doing whatever it is you are doing (dinner, shower etc) and if there's nothing else more urgent/important to do, come back and answer their questions.

This way you also delay them from pestering the next person.

Re:Don't hang up (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850321)

No - ask them to hold and then give the phone to a toddler (should you be so fortunate as to have one handy.)

Re:Don't hang up (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850353)

I don't mind at all, and here's how I handle it.

"Fuck off, your candidate just lost my vote"

*Hang up phone*

If I give a shit about the candidate, I might call or email his/her office and let them know about the problem. Otherwise, I'm not so kind.

Re:Don't hang up (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850386)

Also, in my state, automated dialers are illegal.

Spoofing CID data is going to cause a serious problem for any group I catch doing it as well.

Re:Don't hang up (1)

Frumious Wombat (845680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850743)

I've chosen three basic responses:

"Good day." (click) (90% of the time)

If disturbed because I'm waiting for someone real to call, I have started off with, "Listen, you goat-buggering parasite....", with the volume rising rapidly. I have suggested that telemarketers get some job that requires skill, demonstrates they have self-respect, and produces a benefit to society, such as squeegee-man at an interstate on-ramp. This level of effort and invective is rare, as it takes a particularly annoying caller to be worth the time. The goal is to leave them with their nerves sufficiently rattled that they'll flub the next couple of calls.

"I'm sorry, but I am morally opposed to everything your party stands for. Do not call here again, and best wishes to your candidate's opponent" (click)

Unfortunately, I haven't felt it worth the time, since the do not call list went into effect, to play the William Tell overture on the phone keypad, or other more creative responses.

So... You want to Sue a Telemarketer (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850198)

Basically, you can either use standard technical or social means for screening out telemarketing calls or you may have to resort to a legal approach. For standard methods, consult Junkbusters [junkbusters.com] as a start. In this case, you may have to resort to a legal approach. Private Citzen has one book [privatecitizen.com] you might find useful if you care enough about this to go that route.

Dont Vote (1)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850207)

If we get ourselves a dictatorship we won't have to worry about this shit.

Re:Dont Vote (1)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850684)

If we get ourselves a dictatorship we won't have to worry about this shit.

Too late (if you live in the USA). We already have one.

DT

Re:Dont Vote (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850974)

Yeah, but still get the shit. :( Bush (+ gov and friends) is all the bad of voting with all the bad of dictatorships rolled into one.

zerg (1)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850224)

Why don't you tell us who the 2 candidates are? Or better yet, blog about it.

Or do you think Lieberman's about to lose his Senate seat because everyone stayed quiet about the details?

Do what Merlin Mann did... (1)

faster (21765) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850227)

This [odeo.com] (sorry; podcast, but at least it's short) is the best answer I've heard. I'm going to put this on my Asterisk system.

Re:Do what Merlin Mann did... (1)

mark_hill97 (897586) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850306)

You know, it would have been helpul to actually TELL us what he did.

Both sides? (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850255)

I'd just vote for their opponent, but sometimes I'm getting called by both sides.

A perfect example of the fundamental problem with American democracy. The two major parties both stink, but you won't even consider voting for anybody else, to the point where you actually forget other parties exist. Both sides? You really think there are only two candidates? Go ahead and vote for Kodos.

sides? plural (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850285)

you b lucky man, around here more than half the positions on the ballot have only one person running.

Re:Both sides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850348)

It doesn't happen in presidential elections, but last time I voted for state assembly (California legislature), there really was only one name on the ballot. Noone even tried to run against the incumbent.

Re:Both sides? (0, Offtopic)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850862)

The problem is that third parties are not viable in the US due to the way our electoral system works. A combination of the electoral college with its winner-take-all votes for each state ensures that at a national level only two parties can survive. Only a handful of time in American history has a third party won, and in doing so it replaced one of the other two parties. Never has the US had a coallition government because the very structure of the system prevents it.

So, I'll vote for one of the two major parties, and you can vote for a Libertarian, a Green, a cartoon character, or Santa Claus for all the good it will do you. The math doesn't allow for change except in periods of turmoil and extreme weakness by one of the two parties.

Turned off my landline's ringer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850278)

No, seriously. Two election cycles ago. I haven't regretted it at all. Every so often, I check to see if I have voicemail, but friends and family call on the cell. Everyone else gets the landline as a phone number, and they can call all they want. I won't hear it if they don't leave a message, and I don't even get the annoyance of the answering machine clicking on.

Some political groups still leave messages, but those are trivially deleted.

Re:Turned off my landline's ringer (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850555)

Some political groups still leave messages, but those are trivially deleted.

The next time you feel like bitching about politicians not giving a damn about what's important to you, don't.

They're trying to find out but you won't let them.

LK

Call Him Back (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850303)

Call the politician involved at home at dinner time on Sunday evening and tell him you are going to vote against him because of the call.

Hang up (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850331)

Just like any other telemarketing call. "No thanks" [click]

Re:Hang up (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850368)

You misspelled "Fuck Off"

Re:Hang up (3, Informative)

deadhammer (576762) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850423)

Won't work. Had to work telemarketing about five years ago (not the high point of my life), and they DO distinguish between "no thanks" and "do not call". "No thanks" simply means you're getting recycled back into the "2nd run" call list. "Do not call" means just that, if they violate it it's a $500.00 fine. So here's what you say:

"Let me interrupt you. I do not appreciate these calls, period. I'm not interested in your (service/product/political pitch). Put me on your Do Not Call list, and I forbid you from sharing my phone information with affiliates or third parties. This WILL take effect immediately, I will take action if I get another call. Thank you. *click*"

If they try to sell you that "Our systems process do not call requests within thirty days, you may get another phone call" bullshit, inform them that do not call requests are immediate. If you get another call, you will take legal action and report it to the authorities. They DO have to record their calls, so they will have a backlog including the DNC request. Just be firm, tell them to put you on the do not call list, reassure them that you expect it to be immediate, and hang up. Don't take any shit from them, and you'll be fine.

This one worked for me. (5, Funny)

gettingbraver (987276) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850349)

I got a telemarketing call from one of the major parties the other day. I politely thanked the caller, said that I understood how important fundraising was to a candidate, then mentioned that I was a member of the Green Pary and asked if the caller like to make a contribution. THEY hung up on me!

Make it public (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850499)

Make a record of which political groups are doing slimball telemarketing tactics (include pertinent details such as false caller IDs, mudslinging or misleading comments, etc.) Next put in on a weblog or if you have enough call your local news agency, either way the political parties will quickly respond to bad press. Calling them to complain proabbly will only get thier campaign manager who authorized the tactic in the first place.

Why is our political system like it is? (0)

sauge (930823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850573)

I have to admit I am a little disgusted by this thread.

If you live in the United States, I hate to break this news to you but you should be obligated to participate in your government - it is "for the people BY the people."

Hopefully I am wrong, but as I read this, I see a bunch of fools who like to complain about shit but are more vexed when their playstation/x-box game is interrupted by a phone call from someone who MIGHT ACTUALLY COME TO A POSITION TO SAY WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT DO.

Why is the country going to fuck - continously ruled by ever increasing extremism on both sides? Because people don't want to be involved.

Bad news for you - but YOU ARE INVOLVED WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. You can have a say in how the government works - or you can merely accept the ass kickin's to our civil rights the government hands out SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE INVOLVED.

My God where are my moderator points when I need them?!?!

Re:Why is our political system like it is? (1)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850778)

I see a bunch of fools who like to complain about shit but are more vexed when their playstation/x-box game is interrupted by a phone call from someone who MIGHT ACTUALLY COME TO A POSITION TO SAY WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT DO.

I, for one, read the news to be an informed citizen and I do vote.
I can use the national No Call list to prevent people from interrupting my life to sell me siding that I don't need. Why can't I have a way stop calls to my private phone that say little more than "VOTE FOR GEORGE KERRY / JOHN BUSH"? I may be nieve, but I like to pretend the voters are in charge.

Re:Why is our political system like it is? (1)

Frumious Wombat (845680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850802)

Politely, this is why I read the major papers, various periodicals, and use the news archives, as well as their campaign literature (if they're the challenger and don't have a public record) as well as the league of women voters sheets, before elections. I did this even when living in a one-party state (Chicago), because I needed to make at least an informed (if pointless) opposition. This is how to get information about the candidate, which while spun, is rarely spun by the candidate for best effect.

Having listened to telemarketed pitches in the past, I fail to see how forcing people to sit through deliberate obfuscation on the part of candidates, such as the misleading polls and false rumors spread about McCain in SC during the 2000 primaries, benefits the democratic process. Those calls are (at best) to raise money for the national party, when they aren't deliberately sliming the opposition. I get mailings from the Republicans, which have polls (heh) which are skewed to make you believe you're either a war-mongering, authoritarian, supply-sider or a spaced-out hippie communist, and from the Democrats which imply you're either a left-over McGovernite Great-Society socialist, or an iron-age warlord. The calls are more of the same, and neither is useful to the democratic process, except to excite their "base" (i.e. the extremist 10% on each end of the spectrum). (and if you want to get on both party's mailing lists, try subscribing simultaneously to the Wall Street Journal, and The Nation)

The country is ruled by extremists for a variety of reasons, of which congressional-district gerrymandering, and closed-primaries (which energize the moon-bat wing) are two of the most egregious. Add to that a general problem that no matter who you vote for, the government gets elected (CF Chicago above), and the recipe for apathy is about perfect. If you want a functioning democracy, then work on Open primaries (people regardless of party may vote for the candidates of either party, to ensure bipartisan support), draw congressional districts explicitly to exclude party affiliation, and use term-limits, age-limits, or basic-competency-limits to ensure some turnover now and then.

Don't fear protest candidates, try to force run-offs, and gather your own information; don't rely on politicians to paint their own image.

Re:Why is our political system like it is? (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850926)

Hanging up on telemarketers and not voting/participating are two entirely different things. Telemarketing is designed to get the uninformed plebes who are easily maleable and/or just vote republican/democratic "because my grandpa did", and remind them to vote.

If you really want to kick ass politically, then go out and work on a campaign or something like that... Work for the Green Party, or the Libertarians, or find a good Dem/Rep who actually pays attention to what works for his constituants (as opposed to his big-money donors).

Re:Why is our political system like it is? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15850943)

Why is the country going to fuck - continously ruled by ever increasing extremism on both sides? Because people don't want to be involved.

If you don't want to choose between the scum sucking, communist, tax-and-spend democrats or the barely literate, bible thumping, closet homosexual, republicans there is no place for you in American politics. Don't vote. It just encourages them. American politics makes me vomit.

Re:Why is our political system like it is? (1)

bschak (112564) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850991)

(Score: -1, Trite.)

you could just be normal about it and hang up (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850615)

As soon as I realize it's a telemarketer, instead of getting all riled up about this microscopic inconvenience, I just hang up.

"Political surveys are done by real people, but they hang up on me if I stray from answering their questions. "

As well they should. Polls are not about your feelings, their accuracy is almost completely dependant on people answering very carefully worded questions in very precise ways. If you don't want to take the poll, hang up.

Re:you could just be normal about it and hang up (1)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850813)

"Political surveys are done by real people, but they hang up on me if I stray from answering their questions."
As well they should.

But you see, they hang up if I try to get put on their "don't call list", ask for a supervisor, or try to find out what company is calling me. Their "caller ID" CLI information is either missing or bogus, so I don't have a method of complaining about their behavior if I can't ask questions.

If you don't want to take the poll, hang up.
And hang up and hang up and hang up... this is silly. Do you "just hit delete" for your spam, or do you use a spam filter? The No Call list should be expanded to include political calls. (All we have to do is get the law changed by... politicians.)

Re:you could just be normal about it and hang up (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850834)

"But you see, they hang up if I try to get put on their "don't call list", ask for a supervisor, or try to find out what company is calling me."

As you noted, there is no do-not-call list for political stuff. Until such a thing exists - which I think we can all agree would be a Good Thing - just hang up. Don't kid yourself that anyone cares if you say you'll just vote for the other guy or whatever, they just move on to the next card in the stack. Simply waste as little of your time as you can.

what i do (1)

Mike_ya (911105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850861)

Don't pick up.

Join the communists (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850942)

They will kill each other deciding what to say to you.

(Note: I was and know many communists, and they will mostly agree with this. The ones who don't are busy killing each other over it.)

Puzzled (1)

bschak (112564) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850978)

I'm a little puzzled about why people here are getting so worked up about this. Does a 15- or 20-second inconvenience fray your nerves so much that you need to devise anti-calling plots to post on Slashdot? If that's the case, I frankly recommend a deep breath, a pleasant stroll, and a massage. I'm friendly even when commercial telemarketers or Republicans call.

Anyhow, I'd like to make a few points based on ten years' of off-and-on experience calling people from political campaigns (mostly as a volunteer, but some volunteer recruitment as staff):

For starters, the vast majority of the world isn't as reclusive, sensitive, or whiny as the Slashdotters seem to be. Almost all people will remain polite through a quick, friendly, to-the-point conversation. And thank goodness! The world would be a sorry place if everyone threw temper tantrums about such a little thing.

Few calls are done to raise money. Calls may be done to 1) boost name recognition; 2) persuade swingable voters; 3) identify supporters to be turned out to the polls on election day; 4) remind people to vote; 5) recruit volunteers; 6) find people willing to host lawn-signs; 7) identify the issues of greatest importance to voters; 8) miscellaneous other purposes (a campaign once had me phone-bank to get donations to a local flood relief effort, for example). If you think that you're getting a bunch of fundraising calls, you're either hanging up too early or you're an unusual case. I can't tell you the number of conversations I've had that start like this: Me---"Hi, I'm ***, a volunteer calling from ***. How are you?" Person---"I don't give money over the phone." Me---"Oh, I'm not calling for money at all."

Unless you are a party activist or past donor being targeted for volunteer recruitment or fundraising, most calls are part of a comprehensive get-out-the-vote effort that starts several months before the election. A campaign needs to identify its supporters, and then needs to follow up with them at least a couple times before and on election day for the message to sink in. You may also be getting persuasion calls if a campaign has some reason to believe you're persuadable (you registered without a party, you told a previous caller that you were undecided, you live in an area with lots of ticket-splitting, etc.).

So, what are the best ways to avoid calls? If you're actually getting calls for money, you've probably given money at some point before; don't do that.

If you're getting get-out-the-vote calls (calls to identify you as a supporter or calls to remind you to vote), it means you can't be counted on to vote. It may be harsh to say, but if you think you can be counted on to vote, you should probably think again---think back to the last election in your area without vigorous campaigns (maybe a primary election in an odd-numbered year for example), and if you're like 90% of Americans, then you didn't vote. I don't get those calls (maybe one on presidential election days) because I always, always take it upon myself to vote, whether or not there's a major election with some candidate working to turn me out to the polls. If people voted on their own accord, get-out-the-vote efforts wouldn't exist.

Persuasion calls are easy to stop. Tell the caller that you're supporting one or another of the candidates. If you plan on telling the caller that you're supporting the caller's opponent, it's probably a good idea to at least know both the candidate's names. If you always (and, as above, I really mean always) vote, then it's just as effective to say that you support the caller's candidate.

Several Slashdotters' suggestions (hanging up, letting the line go dead, etc.) will accomplish nothing but getting called back a couple weeks later, because the initial contact failed. Telling the caller that you support the other guy will not worry the caller much, because you probably cannot be counted on to vote. (This is especially true if you can't even come up with the other guy's name.)

I'm also puzzled by what exactly people expect of candidates. If you want less personal voter contact (phone and door-to-door), then that means that 1) you want more television advertising; or 2) you have some great idea for how to run a winning campaign that nobody else has ever thought of. Setting aside option (2), I find more TV ads unappealing for at least two reasons: First, unlike direct voter contact, TV ads don't allow voters to express their opinions to candidates about important issues. Second, TV ads cost much more money than direct voter contact, and effective campaigns require enough money as it is. So, I'll ask Slashdot: If you don't like phone calls (and then you probably don't like door-knocking either), how would you run effective get-out-the-vote and persuasion campaigns?
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