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Haven't you got anything without spam?
I don't know if I've written about spam before--it seems likely that I might have, but then on the other hand it's somewehat hard to say. A puzzling thing, at that, a puzzling thing. Spam is fascinating, in the way that it has invaded our culture--a slang term doing something repetitively and indiscriminately ("grenade-spamming" in first person shooter parlance), a word for what clutters our email, a pinkish salty meat that is far less mysterious than most people think, a venue for haiku, something the British and Hawaiians inexplicably do...

In the event: everyone is to blame for spam of the email type which is what I now mean to write about. Everyone. Webmasters and users who make it too easy for their emails to be compromised, customers who purchase things from spam, and of course the spammers themselves.

I'm a charitable man, so I propose the following punishments:

Webmasters and users: first offence, light warning, corrective measures (hey, it can happen to anyone). Second offence, you get tied down with your eyes taped open a la Clockwork Orange. To what end, I don't know yet, but I think you should suffer anyway.

Customers who purchase things from spam: single shot to the back of the head, no questions. If they're at home you can take them out back so their family doesn't have to watch.

The spammers themselves: slathered in delectable goods, fed to pigs. Head put on spike and mounted outside the castle walls as a deterent to others.


In a sense, actually, I hate the customers more than the spammers. It's the customers who allow spammers to make money, and at this juncture they fall into one of only two categories. One, people so mindbogglingly stupid that they would try to purchase pharmaceuticals from someone who thinks "Viagra" is spelled with the letter "\ /" and who should probably be removed from the gene pool for the good of the species. Two, people who know that spam is illegal and illegitimate but buy from it anyway because they don't know how to get what they want legally. But here's the deal: I don't care about your penis. You being able to get it up for once doesn't justify me receiving one single unsolicited email. So fuck off, eh?

I definitely feel no sympathy for people suckered by Nigerian scams--people who at best are merely idiots who can't read between the lines and at worst are people attempting to actively steal money with someone they believe is a willing cohort. At this stage I don't feel sorry for phishing victims either. Providing your username and password to a bank or financial institution because a poorly-written email told you to, in mid-late 2008, requires you to have actively avoided every warning from your bank, every story from your friends, every article in the paper about cybercrime, every alarmist news piece (you know, the ones that are generally advertised as "could something you're likely breathing in right now be slowly killing you? News at 11!" and produce stories with titles like "Oxygen: the deadly corrosive agent you never knew you had to fear").

I don't believe in protecting people against themselves.

Anyway, I know that when I wrote the comments software for my original website, klisoura.com, I waxed poetic about Shirky's situated computing, and the niceness of doing things yourself rather than cribbing from someone else who had done it for you. Today this comes true again: KDC's comments section started receiving spam, and lots of it. But since I know the database schema, since I know the underlying code, and since I remember writing every last godforsaken line, I was able to figure out how they were doing it. And now it's stopped--not in the most eloquent way, but I'm still testing.

They're smart sons of bitches, spammers are--they took my first couple of efforts, laughed in my face, and tossed them back at me. And I am engaging this little battle of wits, this cat and mouse game. But I still don't want any spam.

/a
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