E-mail Petition Fallacy

When e-mail first came out, I got 10 billion chain letters, e-mail petitions, messages regarding missing children, dogs, forlorn lovers, aliens visiting earth, get my girlfriend in bed with another girl, etc., etc. Thank GOD for www.snopes.com coming around, because all they do is verify these things and post if they're true or not (most of which are NOT true).

Recently, I got a petition regarding an glacier in Chile that many farmers worked on that was about to be excavated, taking away their jobs. It was verified as true on snopes.com, but there was still an e-mail petition included in the body of the e-mail. I'm here to tell you that e-mail petitions CANNOT work. Ever. And even my smart friends are being duped. Here's why.

The point of a petition: To gather as many original names as possible for a cause to be passed on as a sign of protest. Great.

E-mail sure seems like a great way to collect names, right? It's easy, it's quick, it's effective. You put your God given name on that page, list your hometown after it, and maybe include a cutesy quote afterward, like, "Go Glaciers!" or "Blood of Christ be with you." Then, you forward this to 3000 of your friends and say, "I never do this, but OMG it's like so important." At the end of the e-mail, it says, "Whoever is person 100, forward this to doesntworkanymore@hotmail.com. If you don't, you'll find 10 spiders in your bed tonight." So what's the problem?

Let's say my friend Joe is the first person:

1) Joe Moeron

He forwards this on to 100 people. Let's just say 10% of them sign it and then forward it on. Then they forward it on to 100 people, etc. Let's HALT THE PRESSES and pull all of the petitions right now. Petition number 1 looks like this:

1) Joe Moeron
2) Sarah Sillyhead
3) Mariah Watchaface
4) Andy Cantrecall

Petition number 2 looks like this:

1) Joe Moeron
2) Sarah Sillyhead
3) Mariah Watchaface
4) Marcus Moohockey

Petition number 3 looks like this:

1) Joe Moeron
2) Sarah Sillyhead
3) Mariah Watchaface
4) Holly Oogaboogah

Are you catching the drift? If you opened the inbox of the person that is collecting all of these petitions, he might have 10,000 unique petitions in there, each with 100 names, totalling 1,000,000 people! Open all of them up and number 1 in all of them is the SAME PERSON: Joe Moeron. That means that 4,999 people have already dropped off that 1,000,000 people. If you look at number 2, you're still going to find LOTS of repition, if not the same person. that's another 4995 (assuming you found 5 unique names).

In order for a petition to have integrity, grounds for changing laws, and be accurate, someone would have to crosscheck this information, which no one does. E-mail petitions do not work. If you agree, puhhLEIGHze sign this and e-mail it to your friends:

1) Compleightleigh Leigh, New York City. I'm awesome, y'all!