This week I have received two well-meant but unnecessary forwarded emails. The first was an email petition to save the Brazilian rainforest (the project was shelved two years ago, but I have received the email petition at least three times already). The second was a hoax virus warning about a "WTC survivor" email.
There are various excellent sites where people could check if these things are real before forwarding them. So why don't they check, instead of cluttering up my inbox?
The main ones are:
www.sophos.com/virusinfo/hoaxes/ - for virus hoaxes;
www.hoax-slayer.com/email-hoax-archive.html - for all categories of hoax
Petitions via email don't work anyway, as there is no way of verifying the signature. The only valid web-based petitions are the ones on actual websites, like PetitionOnline.com.
Conversely, there is nothing wrong in forwarding details of genuine campaigns to one's friends (as long as one doesn't do it too often, and only to friends that one knows are likely to be interested in the issue). If you really want to get involved in online activism, sign up to Friends of the Earth's campaign newsletters, or Greenpeace's, or OWOS, or Iraq Occupation Focus.