In working on this issue of Verbosity, our
editors and staff came across a startling fact we decided we'd impart.
At this point in time, we have access to the most incredible worldwide
communications and information tool in all of history--the Internet.
Reflecting upon this, we realized that the majority of this wonderful
technological accomplishment is not being used to help create the
global community that many sociologists predict
is the next step mankind is going to undertake. Instead,
a great deal of the Internet is going to
fill up our inboxes with useless, senseless, and redundant junk mail.
Here at Verbosity, we're getting tired of it.
Admit it; there's nothing like sitting down in front of your computer, logging on, firing up your e-mail client, and finding out you have messages waiting for you, right? Right. However, there's also nothing like looking over these messages and realizing that they're all forwards, chain letters, or just general spam. If there's anything that I hate, it's forwards.
I admit that the first time I received a copy of "100 Ways to Confuse Your Roommate," I was pretty amused. Two days later, when I received it again, along with "50 Ways to Fail an Exam," it wasn't quite as funny. When I received it again, in triplicate, a week later, I was more than a little fed up. Soon, I had a backlog of at least 4,341 ways to freak out my roommate and had subconsciously failed three exams. Oddly enough, I never really managed to freak my roommate out. He must have seen the "135 Ways to Avoid Being Freaked Out by Your Roommate" forward before I got to him.
Worse still are the ever-popular chain letters that we all receive from time to time. For example:
Dear sir or madam,
This is a chain letter. If you do not forward it to fifteen of your friends within the next day, odds are you will die a horribly painful, slow, agonizing death. If you do circulate it as instructed, however, great prosperity will find its way to you.
For instance, Mary P. Wentington of Liverpool, England, forwarded off this letter. Within six hours, she did not experience a painful, slow, agonizing death. Geoff Ingles of Hanover, Pennsylvania, sent it off as soon as possible, and his wife--not him--suffered a painful, slow, agonizing death. Be sure to sent this off as quickly as possible to avoid a gut-wrenching, painful, slow, agonizing death.
My friends have learned over the past year or so not to send me forwards. This often bothers them to a degree. When someone tells you to check your mail for the great forward they sent you and you delete it, curse them, and warn them never to do so again, some people tend to take offense. When I'm using a filtering system, all forwards are put in a special folder where I can keep them until a later date, ready to lash out with great anger at those who have bothered me. When they hit my campus address, where filtering is not an option, forwards are immediately deleted. If you ever plan to mail me, make sure that the letters 'Fwd' are nowhere in the subject line. What really bugs me is when someone gets the newest list of "Sexual Implications in Star Wars" and forwards it to me and eighty other people. Naturally, six of the other people on the forward list go ahead and send me another copy for good measure. Come on, people; read the message headers!
How do I deal with those who still dare to send me senseless forwards? As I said, deleting is a favorite tactic. However, it lacks a certain...flare. As a political science major, I have a great respect for the documents which have shaped society throughout the course of history. In turn, I'd like other people to hold the same respect. Therefore, I have taken to sending copies of such documents as the Magna Carta, the Treaty of Versailles, and the United States Constitution to would-be spammers. They seem to consider the "Neiman-Marcus Cookie" to be worth reading; I happen to find the Triple Alliance (in its original French, of course) worthwhile.
Bottom line--that forward button on your mail client is there to pass on messages that are important. It's not there for the mass spamming of the Internet.. They're a waste of bandwidth, a waste of someone's typing energy, and a waste of time. Of course, you might not want to take my word for it. I'm still bitter about not getting the $25,000 that "Make Money Fast" ad on Usenet promised me.
Possiblities for dealing with the annoying problem of chain mail include, but are not limited to the following. Feel free to employ these methods at will:
|"Evil" Doug Smith|
Mailing lists seemed like such a great idea at the time. You could sign up for a discussion group on your favorite topic and get in touch with others who shared your interests. You could be notified. regularly when your favorite website was updated. Until I got the following e-mail, though, I never really realized just how great mailing lists could be!
Subject: Dear spam hater.
Date: Friday, February 21, 1997 9:10 PM
HA HA HA HA
You are on a published list of people who hate commercial mail! How STUPID can you get! Commercial email is just taking off - and I'm going to distribute this list everywhere I can to shut you whining people with nothing better to do than complain up!
It's BASTARDS like you who got me shut down last time - but demon won't touch me! HA HA HA!
I can go thru DIFFERENT servers! ANYTIME...........
Alan the Infowarrior
Now, I'm not sure exactly who my good friend Alan is or what mysterious "list of people who hate commercial mail" he found me on. However, since I received this, I've gotten some of the greatest offers I've ever had. It turns out that some of the greatest products, the most ingenious money making techniques, and coolest sites are located on the Internet; and they were right under my nose the entire time!
First of all, I've learned all about this great new product for thinning hair which will remain nameless. As a 19-year-old college student, I figure it's never too soon to start thinking about a receding hairline. This product is guaranteed to be 40% more effective than Rogaine, not to mention 25% cheaper! Trust me, I'll never even consider hair plugs again after seeing this deal. Best of all, I get updates on the product every week! And, I don't have to worry about accidentally removing myself from the mailing list. In order to do so, I'd have to snail mail a postcard with a written request to some place in Idaho.
Now, as a college student, I could always use a little cash here and there. Ever since my esteemed friend the Infowarrior sent me that message, I've come to realize there are so many ways to make money fast that pursuing a college education is just a waste of time. I've received e-mails that have promised me, in total, in excess of $100,000! Usually, the work is incredibly easy; one method was just sending out copies of these schemes to other people! What could be more simple? When I'm rich, Alan is getting his fair share.
I've also found out about a lot of cool websites that I really need to visit. There was one really awesome baseball card dealer, a couple of discount computer outlets, and more than a few porn sites. My plan is to parlay the $100,000 I'm making (fast!) into funds to pay for access to the really good pornographic sites. As soon as the checks start rolling in, it's going to be me, my computer, and a plethora of nude Spice Girls pics--all thanks to good old Mr. Baker.
So, I can say that Alan has really done me a great service in helping me get in touch with all of these terrific services. I'd like to thank him, but I seem to have trouble reaching him at his e-mail address. If you're out there, Alan, be sure to write me. I have a few things I'd like to say to you...