Community from spam

Sometime last week I started to get spam email from a Middle Eastern site called GulfMalayaly. I just deleted as I mostly do with this kind of spam as I have found in the past that the “unsubscribe” options is only partially effective and, anyway,  I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Pretty soon though I started to get emails from people who were in a similar boat asking to be unsubscribed, while later others emailed (again the whole list) to ask fellow victims not to reply as they were beginning to escalate into spam session.

Then two interesting things happened. Firstly, someone suggested that instead of spamming each other perhaps we should create a LinkedIn group and find out more about each other to see what we all had in common. The group is called  Unified by Spam – The Social Experiment and on it you can see a growing band of people joining and talking to each other, and even a poll which identifies which industries/parts of the world the participants come from etc.

Secondly, a sub-set of the original recipients have ignored both the initial advice to desist from trying to message back to the original perpetrator and the invitation to join the social experiment. They are busy still spamming in an increasingly irate and profane way – the result of which is that I am getting a notification every few minutes that a message is being quarantined by the Exchange Profanity Filter. There is nothing I can now do about these messages.

I was struck by how neatly this episode summarises the two basic types of participants in web discussions everywhere.

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