12.0227 spamming?

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Mon, 28 Sep 1998 22:21:08 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 227.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 13:08:04 +0900
From: Peter Evans <evans@i.hosei.ac.jp>
Subject: The Spam Song

Dr Donald Weinshank (12.0223 complaint & defense, 27 September) is clearly
incensed at having his news group [?] spammed by an ad for Toyotas. I'm no
spammer, I'm no friend of spammers, and I neither drive a Toyota nor have
shares in that company, but I must say that for a single spammessage (after
least a decade" of spamlessness) to provoke an "enormous" outrage, and for
"several dozen messages [to fly] back and forth" about it, suggests an
extraordinary degree of excitement.

> I do not know how Willard has this listserve organized,
> but perhaps a comparable step might be in order.

The procedure that I had to go through to in order to join would have easily
thwarted any straightforward spammer. And if, having presented or faked my
credentials, I were now suddenly to attempt to pushing Toyota, Amway,
Tupperware, or whatever on the list, I'm sure my messages wouldn't appear
and I
suspect that my name would be promptly (and rightly) removed.

That's not to say that Humanist may not inadvertently and indirectly assist
would-be spammers. Old messages are openly available on the Web (see
<http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/>. The message of Dr Weinshank's
to which I reply will itself presumably become available there. Now, if I
selling lists of personal mail addresses to Toyota dealers, I'd simply send a
"bot" to scrounge them off pages such as Humanist's.

Should Humanist therefore not be available on the Web? Well, the better
engines will demonstrate that Dr Weinshank's address is already available on
other, Humanist-unrelated pages. Indeed, spammers can be infuriating, but
they're not all that efficient -- I haven't suffered much and it seems that
neither has Dr Weinshank -- and even a change of mail address isn't an
impossibly arduous procedure.
Peter Evans evans@i.hosei.ac.jp

Humanist Discussion Group
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