When I was in college, many years ago, email was fresh and new. Angry or bored people would sometimes “mail bomb” or “megamail” unsuspecting users on the system. They would send tons of nonsensical emails for the purpose of inconveniencing their intended target. It was mildly funny, but supremely annoying. Friends don’t do that to friends anymore. That’s because we have a whole class of people out there who do it to many of us, a lot of the time, for profit. These “people” (to apply the term loosely) are called spammers.
I want to tell you how much I hate spammers. And then we’re going to have a fun little poll.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a spammer is one who generates spam. Spam is internet lingo for unsolicited and impersonal bulk-generated electronic communications. Usually, these are emails, blog comments or posts on forums. Usually they are associated with promoting something.
Spammers are usually hired by someone to try to get replies from suckers who might buy their products, or they are trying to blanket the internet in an attempt to raise the search engine page rank of their client’s website. But I’m not much interested in their motivations. Suffice it to say, they are motivated by greed.
But my problem with spammers is their effect on my life. Let me list some of these effects.
You might say “spam is only annoying” or “spam only wastes some of your time, it’s not so bad.” The way I see it, your time is your most valuable possession. You can never go somewhere to get more time. Dealing with spam steals your time, and it steals enough of that time that I consider spam unforgivable.
Another quick comment about #5 above. I hate those CAPTCHAs. The little tests that make you prove you’re a human. I think I am particularly bad at typing nonsensical strings of characters. Some blog software even makes you prove you’re a human after you’ve already logged on. That’s ridiculous, but it’s an indication of the lengths people are going to to block spam. (And what people will put up with. Can you imagine if you had to pass a stupid test every time ordered a hamburger, or made a phone call?) Never mind the obvious problems for people with certain disabilities, there is something, well, rude about CAPTCHAs.
Recently, Blogger has added an audible CAPTCHA in an effort to make them more accessible. I actually don’t mind those as much, because I find it easier to type numbers that are being read to me rather than to have to discern and type an obfuscated nonsense string of characters. But it’s still annoying.
While I wouldn’t rule out using CAPTCHAs myself, especially if I were blogging more casually, I find the visual ones pretty obnoxious. Add that to my already strong resentment of spammers. Because bloggres are between a rock and a hard place.
I had a day alone today and plenty of things to do. But because I don’t want my blog taken over by spam during the holiday when I will be taking a break from blogging, I had to spend literally hours fiddling with blog software. Time I should have been spending reading, seeing a movie in the cinema, splitting wood, picking up the kitchen, working, writing, cleaning out the Jeep, working out… any number of useful or creative things.
I did get some stuff done after wasting enough time with the blog software.
As I was out back at the woodpile, swinging a maul and splitting logs, a poll occurred to me and I wanted to share it with you all. So here it is. Vote and discuss:Posted by James at November 18, 2006 9:40 PM