As more and more people take to the Internet, the average intelligence of the 'net plummets. An acceptable, if not exactly pleasant, trade-off for the convenience of having more people online. I'm a firm believer that every company ought to have a web page and every person ought to have an email address.
However, with each new wave of newcomers onto the 'net (and into my email box) there comes the tide of repeated netiquette blunders and bad email habits. Some of them are really starting to tick me off.
For example, if you have this hilarious piece of email that you simply must forward because you just know that Velma hasn't seen it yet... take a look at this email and just see if it contains any of the following characteristics. (Never mind the fact that Fred, Daphne AND Shaggy probably already sent it to her too.)
* There are so many 'forwarded' headers that the email looks more like a hit list than correspondence.
* There are so many levels of ">" markers on each line that readers will subconsciously lean to the right while reading the email.
* More of the subject line is taken up by FWD: prefixes than the original subject.
* The text is full of hard
returns right in the middle of the lines or in odd and inappro
* The body of the email contains any of the following topics: Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, a blue dress or Kenneth Star.
If any of the above characteristics can be found in that email that you are about to forward, stop right there! Grab a ruler out of your desk and smack it across your knuckles. Clean up the message. If you can't take the time to do that, delete the mail and forget you ever saw it.
Virus warnings, chain mail, get rich schemes, cries for help, and chances to win fabulous shit from major corporations just for forwarding that email... should all be deleted as soon as you see them enter your in basket. They're evil and wrong.
Ok, so I hear some of you goodie-two-shoes whining. "But we should forward on cries for help! We can't let PBS go off the air! And I'm not going to ignore a little girl's dying wish!" Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get off yer damned high horse, check your morals at the door and step into club reality. Most of those messages fall into one of two categories.
The first category is "OLD and OUTDATED". Alot of these electronic cries of desperation start from real issues and then spread like wildfire. They keep spreading long after the relevance is dead. That 11 year old kid who is dying and wants and email from everyone in the world is now like 20 something years old. He's also really tired of the email. Oh, and PBS is NOT about to be canceled.
The other category is "HOAX". In other words, (Here, lemme get a thesaurus for ya...) it's BULLSHIT. Yes, there are simpletons out there with such a lame-ass sense of humor that they think it's really funny to fake a message like this and then see how far it spreads.
The same goes double for Virus warnings. If you simply must forward on this stuff, check it's validity first. Try places like http://www.nai.com/vinfo/ and http://ciac.llnl.gov/ciac/CIACHoaxes.html before wasting people's time and bandwidth.
Original date: 10/26/98