This is bit bizarre to me, but we have one user arguing that our policy on notability which specifies,

The idea here is that once a large number of people are exposed to the claim, it is of general interest to validate the claim and either confirm or refute it.

is not satisfied by an online petition. While an online petition is NOT evidence of belief -- you can sign a petition without believing the outcome possible -- it does seem to be evidence of exposure. I'm not sure how we can realistically better quantify exposure.

Would a change.org petition with 50,000+ signatures be evidence enough of a "a large number of people are exposed to the claim"?

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    Not this started over a question that was asked, closed, and deleted for reasons of moderation and they seem to blame me for all of that happening. The question that this started about is skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/56738/…
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 1 at 19:10

2 Answers 2


No, it would not be able to be used as a notable claim as those sites can easily be manipulated and have fake votes cast for things. There is also the issue that there is no way to determine if someone voted for something because they believe in, voting as a protest vote, or some other reason.

Granted this petition doesn't have 50,000+ votes it does show that people will vote for anything and I am sure if someone went on a campaign to get it more votes they could do it.


If there is something on change.org that is widely believed there will be other sources for such a claim.

It should also be noted that your source for what is notable doesn't define what a large number of people is and how many people it needs will change based on who they are.

  • I don't know what you're trying to prove with your link to change.org/p/… (a) there is no falsifiable claim on that petition, and (b) if there was a falsifiable claim on that petition that it has 38 signatures would be sufficient to show that 38 people are "exposed to it". You seem to blur belief and exposure. A claim is notable if people are exposed to it. We are skeptics: we can NEVER know how many people actually believe it. Commented Mar 1 at 19:16
  • @EvanCarroll I am just pointing out that because it is on change.org and has votes doesn't mean that it is a notable claim.
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 1 at 19:17
  • This answer introduces a term "belief" which isn't required to satisfy notability. Commented Mar 1 at 19:18
  • @EvanCarroll It does not introduce belief in the claim but belief that the source itself isn't notable. Also please don't continue to use the comments do debate my reasons for voting to close your question.
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 1 at 19:20

The problem is you can have satire articles that have many views too. The main dispute on that Q was (1) whether people truly believed it was possible, an issue of implied claim, and (2) whether legal analysis of not explicitly decided issues is on-topic here, or if it's "original research" by this site's standards.

  • You can never prove that anyone believes anything. This is just a position that is of unmaintainable skepticism. At the point that 60,000 people sign a petition and you're not convinced a single person believes the claim, you've provided a bar no one can pass. We also don't have to provide a legal analysis (original research) to cite other experts that have provided a legal analysis. Commented Mar 15 at 18:00
  • @JoeW please stop harassing me. we've already addressed this. and you've asked that i don't speak to you (despite commenting on every post that is unrelated to you). Commented Mar 17 at 1:38
  • You've already pointed it out, we disagree. Commented Mar 17 at 2:38
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    The act of changing the numbers each time you post is just moving the goalposts as they no longer represent the original issue. Actually no, because "moving the goal post" means that goal was material to it's old location. And as you said, regardless of 30,000 or 60,000 your vote to close stands and will not be retracted. Commented Mar 17 at 20:40
  • @EvanCarroll The issue at hand is the numbers at the time the question was asked, the close and delete votes casted. It doesn't matter that more people have voted on it since those actions took place. The fact that you keep increasing the numbers and emphasizing those new increased numbers does mean that it is important to you at least. If the numbers didn't matter you wouldn't be increasing them as you ask new questions, post new answers, or post new comments about this issue. You keep talking about the importance of numbers for this but changing the numbers each time.
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 17 at 21:38
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    "The issue at hand is the numbers at the time the question was asked, the close and delete votes casted." Except per you, the number of signatories to the petition is not material to your close vote. So really what you keep harassing me with -- declaring it an issue -- isn't actually an issue. It's just harassment. Leave me alone. Commented Mar 18 at 14:56
  • @EvanCarroll When I cast my close vote I did it based on the source not the number of votes on that online petition. Regardless that doesn't excuse you from changing the number of signatures that you are citing each time you make a new question/answer/comment about that petition, you should be keeping it to the same value that you cited when you asked your question on the main site. I am not harassing you, just responding to your comments that keep attempting to say that I am wrong for pointing out your ever changing numbers.
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 18 at 15:57
  • I think that does excuse me, and it substantiates a claim to this being harassing. You're literally harassing me about changinng a number which you're not rooting your vote-to-close in. That makes the number immaterial. It's literally the dictionary definition of moot "of little or no practical value, meaning, or relevance; purely academic" which is far far from an "issue at hand" as you keep phrasing it. You want me to use the number on the survey at the time the question was asked, and I use the number on the survey at the time of the post. Commented Mar 18 at 16:18
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    Also for the record harass, to disturb or bother persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; pester I would argue in your case, having persistently done this across different questions, answers, and comments for days you're harassing regardless, but I think it's even more egregious when you're doing it over something you admit is unrelated to your own close vote: "when I cast my close vote I did it based on the source not the number of votes on that online petition." Commented Mar 18 at 16:22
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    @EvanCarroll I disagree, pointing out that you are changing the objections to a question being closed because it makes your side look better is a legitimate. Also as I have stated time and time again, responding to your repeated attempts to claim that changing the numbers isn't harassment. I don't get why you think it is okay to keep responding to me to try and say why I am wrong but it isn't okay for me to respond back to point out the issues at hand. If you want the conversation to stop the first step would be to stop responding and trying to state why you are right and I am wrong.
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 18 at 16:25

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