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Are Email Petitions Useful?

If you have been using email for any length of time, at some point you have probably received an email in the form of a petition. The message requests you to "sign" the petition by adding your name before sending it on to others in your address book. Emails of this nature generally contain a few paragraphs of text explaining the purpose and intended goals of the petition as well as instructions about how to sign and forward the message. Such email-based petitions have focused on a large variety of causes.

I am often asked if such petitions have any value. Well, in my opinion, they are completely worthless. Here's why:

In summary, think twice about "signing" and forwarding email petitions. There are much more effective ways of bringing attention to a problem and registering your protest. You could contact a relevant person directly and outline your grievances. You could also write Letters to the Editor, start a legitimate petition or even organize a demonstration, to name just a few options.

If you still feel that signing and sending an email petition is worth the effort, then at least take the time to check if the information in the email is actually factual and current before proceeding.

View some examples of email petitions

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Write-up by Brett M.Christensen