Some commenters have expressed skepticism that making a collaborative FIRE SNYDER sign at FedEx is even remotely possible. Most recently Dan Steinberg called the idea a pipe dream in a Washington Post chat:
The "Color by seat numbers" sign plan is fairly ingenious, but requires a level of cooperation that would be implausible even if every new [sic] the plan and was on a mass e-mail list. In the real world, which involves potty breaks, visiting fans, people who don't read blogs, and alcohol, it's just a pipe dream. Sorry.
Others have recommended a smaller sign. Are they correct? Is this a pipe dream or something that would be more likely to succeed if scaled down?
First, I've acknowledged that this is a long shot from the beginning, and I've provided a list of things folks can do--especially on game day--to help the effort. And there's no reason this has to be a one-time effort. I see no reason we can't try again week after week for the rest of the season (or at least until Snyder ends the sign ban).
Second, 100% participation is absolutely not required. Each letter is composed of enough seats that it can still be read with empty seats and non-participants. (Paradoxically, involving fewer people would require higher participation--not to mention oddly-shaped letters.)
But realistically what level of participation is required to make the letters legible? In an earlier post I tossed out 75-80% as a rough guess so let's start with that. The picture below gives you a rough idea what the "F" would look like with 75% participation. (Color is randomized between burgundy and white for 25% of the seats.)
It's barely legible, but you can make it out if you squint. People who know about the sign could definitely read this; other folks might not notice at all. Even getting to this point would send a very strong message to Snyder.
Next let's bump participation up to 85% and see what happens. Remember, this means that over 2,000 people in the sign-sections are still doing absolutely nothing to help out. They showed up ignorant on game day, are getting beer, taking a bathroom break, refused to listen to your pleas to help with the sign--whatever. And despite that, it actually looks pretty good. Even people who had no idea what was going on ahead of time would find this hard to miss.
95% participation would be the dream goal and here's what that looks like. Pretty darn clear what we're trying to say.
It's also worth noting that not all random patterns are created equal. There are 75% participation patterns that are more or less legible than the one I posted. This is where the "self-healing" possible with folks helping on game day becomes more important. There will be 5 or 6 key seats with the wrong color in each section that will make or break the sign, depending on whether the occupants can be convinced to help out! (But please don't beat up folks who refuse to help--not even Eagles fans!)