Pay the Thought Forward

On its journey to civic virtue

Wall Street, corporations, government, and the existing media gives citizens the space to occupy solitude. How often are you given the chance to participate in a public solution? Here is a moment. Pay the Thought Forward is a grassroot media encouraging civic engagement. It is based on a system of public authorship. Each essay is the start of a civil proposition. The task is to give suggestion and constructive feedback to bring clarity to the proposal as it approaches civic virtue. This is your opportunity to occupy a public solution.


Pay the Thought Forward gives depth and breadth of communication for civic refinement. Constructive suggestion gives incentive to improve the understanding of a proposition. For those with no interest, the hope is for them to pass the letter to one with more interest. Those with interest should print the latest revision of the essay and provide a new stamped envelope in the next letter. The process is intended to be easy. Participation time is motivated by the desire to build a civil thought.

If the referral for this page has a bill, the 10 or 11-digit serial number is used to participate in the Pay the Thought Forward refinement process. The serial number is found on the lower left and upper right side of U.S. Currency as depicted in the red boxes in the dollar image. The serial number is entered at the bottom of this page or the home Do Good Gauge page.

Alternatively, participation is performed with a Do Good Gauge account which gives the ability to grade, give private or public feedback, and an option to sign up as an essay coach.

Statistical Results:

 Essay for Review  #
What is the Do Good Gauge?632611168C12

Six Month Update

The depth of the tree illustrates the chain was extended by noone except the original sender. The first bill entered was a five dollar bill. It was entered as a place holder for the root and was never distributed. The total number of individuals who received a letter and money was ten. Each of these individuals received five one dollar bills except in one case where an individual received a two dollar bill and three one dollar bills. The only comment entered into the system came from the two dollar bill. Twelve virtual dollars were sent out via email, none to receive a response. Three individuals returned the letter back without a comment and the original money enclosed. One was returned by the post office based on an invalid address. So the out of pocket cost for this exercise was thirty dollars, plus stamps, quality stock paper and envelopes. The one response suggested they would pass it on, but never did. This response explained the letter was too much to absorb with a blind solicitation. I did receive a response via email from a friend who said the chain letter could be construed as insulting. He said the money could be seen as a passive aggressive demand from a stranger.


Pay the Thought Forward is a modern day chain letter with a civic twist. Its purpose is to gather statistics, motivation, and constructive feedback. It does not funnel money in a collective manner. Those higher in the chain are rewarded with the realization their feedback and positive reinforcement contributed to an exponential level of support to refine a civil thought. Pay the Thought Forward is not a lottery nor a game of chance. The addition of money is optional. The use of the bill serial number is a novelty to track and promote participation. The original sender typically adds five one dollar bills to the first letter. The letter continues a length of time with no additional funds as long as the initial bills are distributed. The recipient can forward the letter by hand or use the included stamped envelope. The money received can be used for additional stamps to future recipients. The Pay the Thought Forward website prevents the effort from being continuous by acknowledging the final draft is complete. It is hoped a recipient will move past the chain letter stigma and see the civil value of the proposition. No harm, bad luck, or ill will occur to those who do not participate. Though maybe, just maybe there will be a bit more civic virtue with participation.

If for some reason you find this effort offensive, please do good by donating the money to a worthy cause of your choice.

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The Do Good Gauge is licensed to Scott Nesler under a
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Pay the Thought Forward
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