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Randy Paynter

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Slacktivism: Why Snopes got it Wrong About Internet Petitions

"It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done," observed Oscar Wilde. And so it goes with an unfortunate entry on Snopes.com (a site usually quite good about debunking urban legends), that characterizes "internet petitions" as "slacktivism", a pejorative suggesting that activism is worthless if it doesn't require considerable effort.

I usually ignore such commentary since naysayers are a dime a dozen, but that particular post gets a lot of attention: it's one of the top search results for "petitions," is a favorite among cynics, and no doubt has turned off many who might otherwise have taken action. At a time when civic engagement is more important than ever, it's a tragedy that this ill-conceived post has disempowered so many people.

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