As you may have noticed my posting frequency has dipped a bit recently. I’ve got a lot on my plate and am even busier than normal. I’m OK with that.
But there is something I’m not OK with. You might say I have a bone to pick, although my problem is boneless. I suppose you could say I’ve got a beef with the whole thing, but it is more of a pork-food by product thing.
What I’m struggling with is the incredible amount of time I have to fritter away every day to deal with spam.
OK so maybe it is not really all that much time that I’m wasting. The issue is that the time spent because of spam it totally wasted time that I can never get back. Just like those 86 minutes I spent watching Napoleon Dynamite or the 119 minutes I suffered through The Life Aquatic waiting for it to get funny (I mean common! Bill Murray and Owen Wilson should have been funny, right? What happened there?), every minute I spend dealing with spam is one that I can never get back.
Because machine spam filters are far from perfect and have a tendency to trap legitimate messages along with the junk, I’ve got to spend my precious time to sort through all the junk and let the good messages through. It doesn’t matter whether it is blog comments or email, the principle is about the same.
And the worst part about it is those spam minutes are entirely caused by other people, whether they do the spamming directly or set machines in motion to do their spamming for them. Ultimately spammers are people, plain and simple.
I don’t know what your philosophical/religious beliefs are about the existence of God are but I happen to believe that God exists. (If you don’t or are unsure and want to go through a thinking exercise, check out this article laying out a rational case for the logic of believing.)
And I also suspect He is not very happy with spammers. In fact, I’m asking God right here and now to reserve an especially hot place in Hell just for them. I know that’s not very charitable of me. But then I’m not a perfect person at this point in my journey.
According to the Wikipedia entry on Email Spam,
The most common items advertised in spam messages are: Pornography site subscriptions, prescription drugs, purported sexual enhancement products, printer ink cartridges, counterfeit brand name goods, counterfeit software, mortgage offers, fake diplomas from nonexistent or non-accredited universities, and pump and dump penny stocks.
I’d add to that list of things I neither need nor want – lottery winnings, a job
laundering exchanging money for some shady Asian/Middle Easter personage, or to adjust an account I don’t own at the Fifth Third Bank.
I suppose I should be encouraged that spam seems to be affecting both sides of the war on terror equally. That is if the photographic evidence can be believed.
Perhaps the most nefarious spammers, the ones I would like to see get the very hottest of the spam rooms in Hell, will be those who play on religious convictions and try to guilt folks into sending them money.
Oh yes. Turn the thermostat up to a billion, please.
I guess the thing that really gets my goat is how incredibly inconsiderate spammers are. Because the whole thing is anonymous some see it OK to flood the precious bandwidth with crap.
Fortunately for us WordPress users Akismet does a pretty good job handling spam. Their live spam zeitgeist shows graphically that 95% of all comments made on the blogs they protect are spam. And according to this article in Information Week, the percentages for email is just about the same.
We really can’t win. The options seem to be to A). Leave yourself unprotected and get flooded with spam, or 2). Get an overzealous spam filter that captures a few legitimate messages along with the spam. Either way you end up doing a bunch of sorting, depending on how much communicating you do.
The bottom line is that no matter how much you dress it up, you can’t change it. Make a salad out of it if you want.
But at the end of the day it’s still spam.