Saturday, July 26, 2003

Email Netiquette

Anyone who knows me knows my biggest all time pet peeve is people who won’t get out of the way for emergency vehicles when they are responding. I mean how important can you be to impede the progress of an emergency vehicle? (Next time you think you are too good to get out of the way, think about how you would feel to arrive home and find that the ambulance was going to help your loved one, but it was just moments too late).

BUT I have another pet peeve that runs a very close second.

Those stupid email chain letters that some people (hoping for some unparalleled benefit for their menial efforts) insist in forwarding to my inbox. These “letters” that induce guilt, cause fear, prey upon the haplessly superstitious or portend to warn me about some dire computer virus (do me a favor please, before you send me an email virus warning, please bother to look it up first to see if it is a hoax, thanks).

It's hard to believe (sometimes) that adults actually believe in this sh*t, but they do. Some people actually believe that if they pass the email on, some poor 6 year old girl in Nigeria with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before she is relegated to a life in the traveling freak show, or that Bill Gates is going to send them $1000.00 (dream on), or that some graphic will appear on their computer screen or their phone will ring (it really works!) within seconds of them forwarding the “letter” to all their poor unsuspecting (soon to be ex-) friends.

Chain letters are annoying and waste both people’s time and internet resources (bandwidth). “Netiquette” (and most corporate appropriate use policies) would demand that you delete any chain mail you receive without forwarding it, but would suggest that you request the sender to not pass on more chain mail to your email address. Don’t perpetuate the stupidity by passing them on (especially to me) - None of their curses come true… the dire consequences promised for non compliance aren’t actually real, and I don’t see anyone richer than Bill Gates. Facts show that most email chain letters are begun with malicious intent, but it can’t be carried out without someone to forward it onwards.

Oh, and never, ever delete a file from your computer that a “warning email” instructs you to do. Yet, if after considering all this, you are still tempted to do so, go ahead, you deserve it.

I found a directory/database of chain letter examples, from the very funny to the very obscure!

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