700,000 Armchair Olympic Judges Can’t Be Wrong

I am not a fan of petitions as a general principle, but this PR email from Change.org — which bills itself as “60,184,486 people taking action. Victories every day” — takes the cake of hilarity:

Hi  ____– I realize it’s very late, but this is breaking news: an Olympic scandal has taken over Change.org, with 700,000 people signing a petition in just 6 hours demanding an investigation into the winner of the women’s figure skating competition.

This is the most traffic we’ve ever seen on Change.org, coming in at 5x our previous record. The majority of signatures (about 90%) are coming from people inside Korea, with the other 10% or so coming from inside the US. Right now, we’re seeing nearly 100,000 new signatures every 15 minutes.

We’ve got a team of engineers keeping our site up and running despite the heavy traffic. You can check out the petition here: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/international-skating-union-isu-open-investigation-into-judging-decisions-of-women-s-figure-skating-and-demand-rejudgement-at-the-sochi-olympics.

If you haven’t been following the scandal, many Olympics fans are furious that Russia’s figure skater, Adelina Sotnikova, won the gold over Korea’s Yuna Kim, despite Yuna’s incredibly strong showing that many commentators suggested should have made her a shoo-in for the top medal.

We’re still tracking down the details on the person behind the petition – mysteriously called “Justice Seeker” and allegedly from Sochi. We’ll let you know if they’re available for interviews once we know more. In the meantime, if you want people in-studio to discuss, we can have Change.org staffers on to talk about the rapid growth of the petition.

Let me know if you have questions or plan to cover – happy to help in any way I can. We’ll be up all night monitoring this!

You mean to say that 90% of respondents complaining about a Korean losing in the Olympics are from Korea? Now that’s news!!!! Commentators were proved wrong? You don’t say. You’re an advanced website and you don’t know who started the petition? This story has legs!

The email touts 100k signatures every 15 minutes, which is to say it’s an ineffective pitch. That doesn’t seem to make sense when you claim 700k signatures over 6 hours. At that rate, you’d have 2.4 million armchair Olympic judges demanding an investigation. Which is it?

And the poster is allegedly from Sochi? Totally not suspicious. It’s obviously an angry Russian who thinks Adelina Sotnikova didn’t deserve it? Come on.

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