For many of us Spam is the bane of our existence. Ten years ago we didn’t even know of Spam as anything other than a canned meat, now a generation has come along that will be surprised to find that ‘spam’ is something you can buy at the supermarket and consume.
Blocking computer spam is a huge business unto itself and a priority in many large companies who fear lost productivity as well as law-suits from offended employees. But it seems even the best filter is no match for a tech savvy slacker with a few free hours. Because it’s so much fun to send people a message from their own email addresses. It’s better when you title it “Jason Strand you have such an ugly face!” Because the better the subject line, the more likely it is the unsuspecting fool will read it.
We all know to just delete some emails without even looking. No, I don’t want male enhancement, thank you. I don’t need a mate, I’ve had one for ten years now – so I’m not really looking, even though several websites seem to think I should be. But I have to admit, this one almost got me: “Chris died”. Ah! Brilliant! Who doesn’t know someone named Chris? I wanted to open it just as an homage to the person who thunk that up.
There’s nothing you can really do about spam. Sooner or later you will be the victim – unless, of course, you don’t use email at all. (I do particularly like that we are ‘victims’ of spam. The whole ‘victim’ thing has gone a little too far when it is referring to an email we really didn’t want to get. Oh, let me file a report with the police! I got spammed!)
As a great show of fear from a large parent corporation, my work email account has both a spam filter and a content/language filter. Unfortunately, I am just about ready to turn them both off – not that I can. The language filter has only caught me once. What it does is corral the renegade email then send you a form email stating that it took one of yours and why it got corralled. Mine was flagged for ‘racially derogatory language’. I will say that I don’t usually open my email in a flurry of excitement, but I really wanted to read this ‘racially derogatory’ email that some co-worker had sent me. What could they have possibly said? Were they going to get fired?
Instead, I found I couldn’t even open the darn thing. Even having warned me that the email ‘contained racially derogatory language’ wasn’t enough. It took the email and wouldn’t give it back. It didn’t even tell me who it was from. (It might have sullied my lily white mind to even know who had sent me such foulness!)
Crushed, I sorted through the rest of my email. But while there, I found that another co-worker had hit ‘reply all’ to the baaaad email. (This was a freelancer! And therefore not subject to a clean mind!) It turned out the renegade language was the relay of a story which basically went like this: “The only thing he knew about WWII was that there were Nazis.”
Yup, it was the word ‘nazis’ by itself that got the email detained Guantanamo
-style. And apparently, emailing the word ‘nazis’ is bad form, but forwarding it is fine. To top things off, when I emailed the Nazis who were discriminating against emails based on single words, they replied that they couldn’t read everything and had to corral anything that seemed suspicious. Dude – I got that part. While it’s stupid, I understand it. What I was actually complaining about was that they were inconsistent. No matter how many times I repeated that, the tech folks assumed they were being attacked for corralling emails and responded that I was out of line to suggest they let foul language get through. *sigh* This is why I sometimes hate people.
And these are only the woes of the language filter. There’s a whole other system that steals emails that might be spam and makes me log into another email system to get them back. Because, it seems, dealing with spam was taking up too much of my workday. Thus, developing another email system (and yet another password!) and making me dig the offending meat substance out is clearly the way to cut down on lost productivity. Brilliant!!!
Even better, only two things seem to get detained in the spam account: sale notices from Overstock.com and mass emails FROM MY COMPANY!!! Yes, they have corralled their own emails. I may die of irony here.
As soon as I had finished reclaiming the emails that I clearly needed, another email had popped up in my regular system. It wasn’t flagged by anything. It wasn’t corralled. It must be pure and good. I now know I should spend my work hours learning how to run a “pornocracy”.
Deliver Us from E-mail – Part 1
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