6.27.2006

Hey Ron! I love ya...but you're off base on this one

This is a post from Galleycat.

"I Don't Want Any Spam!"
Lynne Scanlon's Publishing Contrarian had started yesterday on a celebratory note, as Scanlon announced the formal launch of a book proposal consultancy aimed at helping writers craft more effective proposals. (One author who took advantage of Scanlon's trial offer of a free consult called it "probably the most practical help I have received in my writing journey.") But the party atmosphere quickly turned sour when someone posted a nastygram to her comments section after receiving an unsolicited email about the service:


"Why the fuck am I suddenly receiving junk mail from you? Stop it. I am not interested in your crap. Stop sending me email or I will hunt you down. I found your website and I'll find you. This is your warning crazy asshole. Stop send [sic] crap to my address."


Scanlon, who regularly footnotes her readers' comments with responses and mini-bios, identified the sender as Nancy Fay, the vice president of the PEN New Mexico board of directors...and, oh so ironically, the co-editor of a poetry anthology called The Practice of Peace. Somehow I don't imagine the practice of peace begins by declaring "What the fuck?" and then promising to hunt people down; I usually just hit "reply" and type UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line and that seems to work for me.

When contacted for confirmation, Fay acknowledged, "I do not know why my inbox suddenly began to get messages from this person who is unknown to me on a topic that does not interest me. I was highly annoyed and tracked down the website associated with the sender and demanded that my email address be removed."

(Note: The accomplishment of "tracking down" Scanlon's website is somewhat less remarkable when one realizes that the URL was included in the email.)

Scanlon isn't sure how she acquired Fay's email address, but was more than happy to demonstrate her peaceful nature by honoring Fay's rudely worded request to be removed from the distribution list. All well and good—let's just hope this isn't how things get decided at the PEN New Mexico board meetings!


Whoa there Ron, my cigar smoking bud. Why are we yelling at Nancy Fay here? She's the one getting spammed. Yes, her response was over the top. Yes, it's ironic she has a book about peace while screaming fuck you. But yanno (tm/pp), I get on author's email lists and stupid idiots send me queries by email and I gotta tell ya "what the fuck" is pretty mild compared to what I'm thinking.

Why we gotta be nice to people spamming us?

All responses will be posted and critiqued for wa.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unsolicited e-mail is spam. I hate spam. It isn't just penile implants, Nigerian scams and Viagra that makes it spam. It's anything you didn't ask for or want from somebody you don't know.

If you are the person who sends out spam (and it can be a useful advertising tool if done carefully, to selected audiences, with enough information about yourself to be identified so that the recipient knows you are at least a legitimate person), you take the risk of getting irate responses and shouldn't complain about them. Spammers have asked for a response--the person being spammed did not ask for the contact.

And I, too, think peaceful-loving people can blow their cool about spam once in a while in a totally profane way without being less peaceful. So YAY Miss Snark for getting this one totally right and standing up for all of us who hate spam, even from legitimate and possibly helpful, well-intentioned persons.

There's good advice at the FTC on how to combat or reduce spam. And of course you can report it at spam@uce.gov.

Anonymous said...

I think Fay's response is inappropriate too. While I would rather not get spammed, the ones I find criminal are the ones that phish legitimate sites and send innocent recipients to web sites that steal sensitive information, like bank accounts. A much simpler response would have been to flag the email as Spam and be done with it. But she had to make a BFD out of it. While that may have satisfied her ire at the moment, it was a pretty dumb thing to do because if Scanlon hadn't been legitimate and her email server hadn't gone berserk, Fay would have found herself in true Spam hell methinks.

Sorry for showing my ignorance, but what does the pp stand for after the tm?

Alexandra said...

Heck, this is how I respond when I get junk. I don't ask to be sent stuff--I want to be left alone.

Bill Peschel said...

"Why we gotta be nice to people spamming us?"

Mr. Rogers would say: why not?

Particularly since, in this case, it was easy to find the person responsible and make the request.

The ones promoting junk stocks, V1agr1V, cheap RoLLox wristwatches, however, don't deserve the consideration.

And Hannibal Lecter is too good for spyware purveyers.

Anonymous said...

No one cares. Get back to telling us how to write queries. Don't make me come over there.

Umbrella Girl said...

pp = patent pending

Lauren said...

I'm sure none of us likes spam. (Thankfully, I've never known anyone who liked or had even tried to original stuff. Bleah!) When I get it, I simply flag it as spam and my provider does the rest.

What I find interesting in a disturbing way about this is twofold: (1) The person who responded is in the public eye; (2) The trend toward this type of response.

Without going into an essay-length response, let me say that I have a web site growing by word of mouth. This makes me conscious of the fact that I too am in the public eye, and whatever I say and do--in real life and online--reflects on the site, on my contributors and on my reputation. Responding in an emotional manner is a very bad idea, however good it feels at the time. Vent in private, yes, but always, always maintain dignity everywhere else.

Second, I choose not to join the movement toward profanity as routine. I am old enough to find it offensive and young enough to have used it myself. But I cured myself of that darn quick when I realized it is neither funny nor useful nor classy. It is, in fact, boring. (Sorry, MS. I won't stop reading you, but if you want in-your-face humorous descriptive words for people, go back and look at episodes of Hill Street Blues. Mick Belker's terms were unforgettable.

Quick said...

"and, oh so ironically, the co-editor of a poetry anthology called The Practice of Peace. Somehow I don't imagine the practice of peace begins by declaring "What the fuck?" and then promising to hunt people down"

Brilliant.

Annie Dean said...

I kinda think that kind of e-mail is a waste of energy, like taking off your shoes and throwing them at the guy who cut in front of you in the deli line.

Amra Pajalic said...

I've done what Fay has done. Sometimes it just gets a bit too much. But all is well that ends well. Scanlon is having a marketing field day with this little tidbit.

SAND STORM said...

I posted on Lynne's blog already but I think that a little courtesy would go a long way. Why is it that an email notice of a service like Lynne's should cause Fay to react like she might after getting an email like the infamous Nigerian one. Maybe a little more thought about bad spam vs unsolicted spam is required. Not all unsolicted spam means its bad, but to each his/her own I guess.

Bernita said...

Got the same e-mail.
Curious.

delilah said...

When Bloomingdales sends me SPAM after I order from them and clearly indicate I don't want promos, I ask them to unsubscribe me - no Fucks or promises to hunt them down.

Now the guys from Nigeria selling penis enhancements, that might be a different story.

The thing is: there is a vast difference between the two spammers and someone in Nancy Fay's position should have recognized that difference.

Even so, the Fuck part isn't all that disturbing - most of us can understand the frustration eliciting that part of Nancy's comment - but the threat to come after Lynne Scanlon is just plain nuts.

Dave Kuzminski said...

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if someone making some of the current anti-spam products was behind their creation. I mean, excuse me, but it isn't that difficult to track down the servers where the spam originates and then ban those servers from connecting to the rest of the Internet until they clean up their client list. Likewise, it isn't that difficult, either, to write up a computer program that will ignore any email from certain servers as well, yet I still receive numerous spam emails daily that clearly come from the same origin.

December Quinn said...

I agree with Delilah. It's the "I'll get you" part that bugs me. It's unecessary, it's a little silly--she sounds like a playground bully trying to be tough--and a lot scary.

Have we really reached a point where an unsolicited email enrages us to the point where we call for pistols at dawn? It's an email. Delete it and forget about it. Or ask to be taken off the list.

But threatening to "come get" someone just because they dared to send you an email is way OTT. Is this what pacifists are doing these days? War is bad, and hurting people is always wrong, but if you dare to slip something into my inbox when I didn't ask for it I'll rip your head off and pour acid down your neck, f*cker?

I don't like spam either, but I like to think I'm capable of not taking such things so personally. I have much more important insults to take personally, anyway. :-)

Anonymous said...

With a reply like that, I would invite her to hunt me down and then kick her ass when she got there. -JTC

Just trying to make a point. I would never, ever strike a female.

Anonymous said...

So, she lost it. Happens to me quite often. Actually, I lose it all the time. It's called life. My mother never, never loses it. Her blood pressure is 180/92 and that's on medication.

Georgia Girl

Anonymous said...

As a New Mexican author, I am...speechless. Threatening bodily harm is a bit much. How hard is it to press the delete key? Most people in New Mexico are not psychopathic internet road rage freaks.

I am unimpressed with Ms. Fay.

Anonymous said...

Spam is annoying but for God's sake don't have a cow because unwanted email shows up in your inbox. You have to be very fragile if that rocks your world so badly.

I.J.Parker said...

There is no excuse for the sort of ungrammatical rudeness peppered with obscenities that seems common fare on the internet. It would seem to go double for someone in a responsible position in the writing/publishing world. Spam can be deleted, if necessary with a private expletive. (And, of course, it does not apply to blogs)

Maya said...

In recent weeks, I've noticed more spam sneaking past my filters on my Yahoo address.

I believe this is the result of the plan Yahoo announced in early February to charge companies the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp to deliver their spam.

Businesses that send massive numbers of emails can pay to "raise" their profile so that their messages go directly to your in-box and bypass the spam filter. I blogged on this subject on February 8.

If this catches on, the spam issue will become increasingly aggravating. And it's not just Yahoo. AOL signed a similar agreement with Goodmail Systems, an email certification specialist.

Anonymous said...

A couple of points:

1) Our society is discourteous enough. Must the peace activists among us use profanity and threaten bodily harm?

2) Responding to spam tells the unscrupulous sender that he has found a legitimate email address, one that can be resold to other spamers ad infinium. Better to lay low and just delete it.

3) It's not that easy to identify the senders of spam in all cases. My website has been "borrowed" by a spamer, and he's sending out viruses under my site's name. Neither his provider nor mine will do anything about this.

Ron said...

What, I needed a point besides the snarky commentary on an author's wacky antics (not to mention the Monty Python riff!)?

OK, then, the Mr. Rogers line somebody already mentioned pretty much works for me.

(But as long as we're on the subject, Scanlon did the right thing and took somebody off her list as soon as she was asked. I wish more people would save me the trouble of creating more filters by doing that...)

BuffySquirrel said...

I remember some years ago somebody creamed my email address off a critique site and used it to email me about a rival site they were proposing to set up. I emailed asking them to remove me from their mailing list, and inadvertently used a different email address from the one they had. What happened? They started emailing me about their site at BOTH email addresses.

I wrote back telling them to desist or I would report them to their ISP for spamming. That did the trick--no need for swearing or threats of physical harm.

Caro said...

Threatening to hunt her down was a bit much. As for the rest, I've done it a few times when I've had a really, really bad day. I try to restrain myself because I don't want to give the spammers a working address.

Writing related spam just goes into the junk mailbox and then I forget about it. The one time I didn't was when I was spammed with a particularly obnoxious spam email from someone promoting her self-published vampire romance (lots of flashing graphics, etc.) and because of what address she'd mailed it to, it was clear that she'd harvested my address from a yahoo mail list devoted to a particular TV show (not a writing list) with a somewhat closed membership. I sent her a cold but relatively polite email (no swearing) telling her I wasn't going to buy her book, to please not send me any more emails (since she didn't include an unsubscribe link). I also suggested she should look into methods of self-promotion that didn't annoy her potential readers and pointed out a few sites that talk about how to promote your book.

Why shouldn't you responde to spammers? They might start writing you back. The first email was from a "friend" of the writer who said that my letter had upset the author because she didn't think anyone would mind learning about a book that would be of interest to people on this list. In fact, the author had been so upset that she'd been unable to reply and would do so later.

The "reply" ended up a profanity laden piece of mail that accused me of being rude, mean, and said there was no call for me to send her an email telling her I didn't want her book. Yes, the word f*ck was used, along with the threat that if I ever published anything (which she severely doubted I would ever manage to do), she would tell everyone what a b*tch I was so that no one would buy my book at all.

That's why you shouldn't respond to spam. This particular author, btw, got bounced from the mailing list because the list maintainer was more than a little unhappy about the spam.

Sarah said...

I have a magazine that rejected one of my short stories that spams me with their news & people on their staff who've gotten book deals, etc. I find it insulting and in poor taste. You know, like those rejection letters that come with ads. But I just shake my head and delete.

Katrina Stonoff said...

I got that same e-mail, and I was rather annoyed also. I certainly didn't sign up for it. I have NO idea how she got my address, and I don't even know who the hell she is.

I'm with the Peace Poet on this one.

safadancer said...

You know, if you replaced "spam" in all these messages with "cut me off in traffic", people would probably have a differnt reaction -- I have personally witnessed COUNTLESS examples of people reacting just as Fay did when someone shows them discourtesy on teh road.

Spam is discourteous, plain and simple. Perhaps, after having her server tied up for half an hour downloading spam message after spam message, she just snapped. Perhaps after the hundredth message from people wanting her to buy something, she snapped. I get about 150 spam messages every few HOURS to my email, and those are the ones my spam filter (which is massively effective) *doesn't* catch.

Imagine this was the future, and we all had neural shunts and all that spam was downloading directly into our heads. Now imagine curling into the fetal position and wishing the deluge would stop.

jellybean said...

Fay overreacted. Yes, spam sucks, but leaving nasty comments on a board certainly isn't going to help. As so many have suggested, just unsubscribe and delete. It will save you time and a heart attack.

Bernita said...

You know,on re-reading it sounds as if it wasn't just one piece of spam but many.

Lorra said...

Years ago, when I first started receiving SPAM (before SPAM filters existed), I clicked on the unsubscribe button.

The profanity-laced window, filled with pornographic pictures and vulgarities, taught me NEVER to respond to spammers whose websites I had never visited. Besides, the message in the pop-up window mocked me for believing it was actually possible to unsubscribe.

Like everyone else, I now let Norton take care of the problem.

Harry Connolly said...

It's illegal and stupid to threaten people. Tell them to go fuck themselves if you must, but don't threaten to "hunt [them] down." That could earn you a visit from some not-so-friendly people with badges.

Carter said...

If I got my panties in a wad over spam, I'd be so chapped I couldn't sit down. It's plenty easy to hit the delete button and/or add the sender's address to my filters.

Like so many others, it's the offer to stalk the spammer with the intimation of bodily harm that makes me think this person should be reminded of the value of civility and legal consequences of threatening people.

Spam is here to stay. It's unfortunate, but nonetheless a reality. I think it's best to cope with it in a non-violent, non-stressful way.

Mirtika said...

My favorite take on this, surprisingly, is not the delightful Miss Snark's. No, it's actually the poem fashioned by Only On Sunday from Ms. Fay's comment. The blogger suggests it be included in THE PRACTICE OF PEACE II :

Why the fuck
am I suddenly receiving
junk mail from you?
Stop it.
I am not interested in your crap.
Stop sending me email
or I will hunt you down.
I found your website and I’ll find you.
This is your warning
crazy asshole.
Stop send crap
to my address.

Lawdy, that cracks me up!

Mir

BertGrrrl said...

Miss Snark asked: "Why we gotta be nice to people spamming us?"

Spam is generated by pinheads. In hell, there is a special circle for pinheads. My reminding them of that seems, to me, only to be a charitable gesture on my part, a polite warning.

The language I use to remind them of that makes Fay sound like Mother Teresa. Or maybe Motha' Teresa. Anyway, threatening to hunt someone down is benign compared to what I offer to do to spammers and pinheads of all types.

Basically, my thought is: if you don't like my reply, stay the hell out of my freakin' inbox!

-c- said...

I think the only lesson to be learned here is do not be so quick to hit the send button, folks. Unless, of course, you are using a fake name. (Assuming that fake name doesn't have a reputation of its own.)

It blows my mind how small publishing is, that this little thing could be picked up and be the topic of conversation. Wow. I mean, all of us act like asses (or heroic spam fighters, depending on your pov), yet here we all are talking about this particular incident like it's news.

Anonymous said...

This was a great two-fer. Spammer gets the smack-down, and peace-loving editor gets shown as a hypocrite. Doesn't get much better than that.

Anonymous said...

Put another way, the problem with the response is this. The publishing world is a SMALL world. Everyone knows everyone. Why would you act in a manner that is anything less than polite and professional for something so (in reality) trivial?

One Sided said...

Okay, Dad just moved back to New Mexico, he does or I should say did write. I have never heard the man cuss. I'll have to warn him about the growd he hangs around with. Sort of a role reversal.

Anonymous said...

What strikes me as the crucial point is that Fay had her little hissy-fit anonymously. She wasn't brave enough to be that uncivil under her own name.

jaywalke said...

I got the same piece of crap. I think "Writer's Digest" sold us out.

I don't think politeness is required with spammers or telemarketers. If they don't want to receive my venom, they should not contact me. Then again, I am no peacenik. I am just as cruel in real life as I try to be on the web. I think continuity is important.

:-]

Laura(southernxyl) said...

What's so hard about "please don't send me any more emails"? Do we have to add to the level of ugliness in the world just to get fewer electrons sent our way?

It could get to the point that a person would be afraid to email anybody about anything.

Maybe the Peace Poet needs to have the "delete" function explained to her.

Cara said...

Ludicrous debate!
To assume Georgia Girl's meaning, even the peace crowd has to be concerned about their blood pressure and vent. Go ahead and vent, the world is moving so fast no one seems to remember what you did anyways......(unless its kinky, of course!)ld

Anonymous said...

A quick google shows Ms. Fay has a business similar to the one that spammed her. Perhaps she was unpleased with the competition.

sam said...

yes, her email was rude and kind of crazy sounding.

But getting off a mailing list sometimes isn't as simple as making the. These requests are often not honored.

And spam isn't just a nuisance--it is a huge time suck and, as safadancer notes, can put a strain on the server.

I get hundreds of legitimate emails a week and I can't always distinguish the spam from the not-spam just by looking at the sender and subject. So I have to open them, look at them, and THEN realize that it's spam.

After 10 or so of these, I am a little testy. Not, you know, threatmaking testy, but I get it.

Maria said...

For the record, I've had an EDITOR add my name to her "newsletter" email list after I sent a snail query. (The editor in question worked for one of the Big Houses.)

There was no opt out and I did not ask to be included. Her newsletter was little more than a hyped up list of books coming out or talks she was giving (that would cost me money to attend.)

So there I was, a lowly, unpublished writer, trying to think of a polite way to tell the editor to go away...rather awkward, much the same as I'm sure agents feel when they get this sort of thing from authors that they do not know.

It's uncomfortable that some people chose this route to try and market themselves and/or the books they publish. It is poor judgment on their part to add people without asking and it will not help sell their product, but it is not the same as random spam generated by anonymous sources selling enlarged body parts or drugs.

It really doesn't warrant the tantrum. Ask politely to be removed and don't waste any more energy on it.

Gabriele C. said...

Maya said: I believe this is the result of the plan Yahoo announced in early February to charge companies the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp to deliver their spam.
Businesses that send massive numbers of emails can pay to "raise" their profile so that their messages go directly to your in-box and bypass the spam filter. I blogged on this subject on February 8.


I'm so outta there. Yahoo can look at my posterior parts from now. I noticed the increased spam as well but didn't know about the background.

My internet provider 1&1 Germany allows me to create several email addresses on my warriorsofdalriata.de domain, and that's what I did. Mwuahaha.

Anonymous said...

I'm forced to dissent, stark-raving Snarkers. (Closing the closet door, behind): I am a Spammer. I know it's bad. I know it's considered poor etiquette to send spam to others. Even cause for justifiable violence, considering that many think of spam as so unhealthy that its very existence constitutes an assault. I know I should NOT like, also, receiving spam from others. But I do. I can't help it. After thirty seconds per side on a hot iron skillet, the quarter-inch slices are just too tasty to give up.

-kd

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's a question of whether the offense justifies the response. They were both wrong. The site shouldn't have sent out the spam, and Fay shouldn't have sent such an ugly message. "I will hunt you down" and "you crazy asshole" aren't just angry, they're over-the-top ranting. The kind of thing you only write when nobody knows who you are. When she was approached about it, she moderated her response -- she knew you can't get away with that kind of vituperation if your name's showing. "I will hunt you down" is also pleasantly ironic; she was hunted down herself. I think the moral is: don't say anything you wouldn't want splashed all over Miss Snark's blog with your name attached.

Stacy said...

I think that an important lesson is also that unless you are some kind of expert in internet security, anything you put out into the ether has your fingerprint on it, so you will be easy to find. I just don't bother to try to hide, and I try to behave as though strangers are watching whenever I'm online. It saves time.

And if I got an email like that and I had a legitimate business (people who send spam aren't all backdoor creeps, I've been told), I would have my IT guy on it immediately. So what if I sent you email you didn't want? A verbal over reaction in the heat of the moment is one thing - you can't take the words back after they fly out of your mouth - but an email sits there, a permanent document, evidence of your mental state in your murder trial. Take a moment to reread it before you hit send. Please.

Corn Dog said...

If you want to write a poetry anthology called "The Practice of Peace" then maybe...just maybe...you should practice what you peace, or preach, instead of threatening to hunt spammers down calling them the Crazy Asshole. Frankly, I thought it was funny. Mostly because it was so over the top.

CLH said...

Personally, I think it's kinda funny that she reacted like that. I mean, my god, does her email server not come with a delete button? I suppose that kind of anger would be justified if that were the case, but even comcast has a delete button, and they have to be the most craptacular email server by far.

I dunno, I just don't think an advertisement warrents this kind of reaction. Get a yahoo account for godssake. You tag the spam and *gasp* it goes away. Not exactly world shattering brilliance with that one.

Chumplet said...

The exiled prince from Nigeria asked me where my bank account was located so he could store his millions in it to keep it safe from the rebels. I told him my bank account was a sock in my top left hand drawer, and he was welcome to make a deposit.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how Scanlon's email -- blasted to the masses as it may be -- constitutes spam. Spam, to me, is "scam" where somehow the c got replaced by a p. I don't think Scanlon is out to scam anybody; she's just offering her services. If you don't want to utilize them, then don't. But don't ridicule her for trying to drum up business. Self-employment is hard enough as it is without needing to feel constricted by means of promoting yourself. Email is a justifiable means of communicating with others about what you have to offer. It's less intrusive than a phone call and easier to ignore.

Which brings to mind the question, do agents pitch projects to editors by email? Do editors respond? Do they find email pitches annoying?

Lydia said...

I get near-monthly emails from tiny epubs--not even vanity publishers, but real, live tiny epubs--asking me if I want to publish with them.

I consider emailing them back sweetly and asking if they give six-figure advances, because that's what I'm looking for in my next contract.

(Truth is, I have no idea what I'm looking for in my next contract--many moons and 2.5 books away. But it sounds good, doesn't it?)

Joy said...

Well, her book is The Practice of Peace, not the Mastery of.

jude calvert-toulmin said...

Regarding unsolicited group emails from a sender wishing to publicise their writing.

Spamming in order to try and drum up interest in your writing is the equivalent of standing in the middle of Piccadilly Circus dressed in a chicken suit, holding up a placard saying "I'm really wacky, me, honest."

Brilliant writing has its own voice, like the song of a lone blackbird at dusk.

jude calvert-toulmin said...

> But threatening to "come get" someone just because they dared to send you an email is way OTT. Is this what pacifists are doing these days? War is bad, and hurting people is always wrong, but if you dare to slip something into my inbox when I didn't ask for it I'll rip your head off and pour acid down your neck, f*cker?

Ha ha! Great reply, December Quinn.

> In recent weeks, I've noticed more spam sneaking past my filters on my Yahoo address.

A bit off topic, Maya, but get a gmail address and then use your old yahoo address for anything that requires an email address but isn't personal or work related.

I'm becoming a bit of a snob about gmail i have to admit. To me, having a gmail address shows that you're interested in the developments going on around you in cyberspace, because gmail is the best email account around (all your mails to and from one person automatically organised into their own folder, thus producing an instant dialogue, for a start!)

> Second, I choose not to join the movement toward profanity as routine.

Each to their own and I respect your views on this Lauren, but what makes one word acceptable and another unacceptable? Thirty years ago John Lydon et al got into big heaps of trouble over here in the UK for saying "Fuck" on national TV. Now the word "Fuck" regularly appears in women's mags and on popular TV programmes. (It's taken thirty years for bank tellers sporting spiky gelled hairdos to be acceptable, too.)

It's just a question of zeitgeist.

And why should words pertaining to parts of the human body or to the act of procreation be deemed offensive anyway? War, theft, greed, deceipt, rape...these are all offensive, not todgers, breastfeeders and reproduction.

> anything you put out into the ether has your fingerprint on it, so you will be easy to find. I just don't bother to try to hide, and I try to behave as though strangers are watching whenever I'm online.

Good thinking, Batman. From my first foray onto the net a few years ago, I've always posted under my own name or under a recognisable username with links to who I am. However I understand, for example, why Miss Snark is using a covert persona for this blog, considering the small nature of the publishing industry. (Ditto political bloggers in fear of governmental reprisals.)If anonymity is used to facilitate free speech then it's OK, imo.

> I don't think Scanlon is out to scam anybody; she's just offering her services. If you don't want to utilize them, then don't. But don't ridicule her for trying to drum up business.

Quite. I recently received an unsolicited mass mail out email from a blogger I had never heard of, trying to drum up visitors to her travel blog. I politely responded that I would be more than willing to visit and critique her blog once she had read my own blog (including all the archives) and made a few appropriate comments should she feel inspired to do so, and wished her the best of luck with her travel blog. I didn't hear back from her. Sorted.

Kay Qy said...

This is a bit of a tangent, but since the spam angle seems to have been covered pretty well (I agree that both parties seem to be in the wrong to some extent), I want to say something about the question of profanity.

Words like f*** and s*** may describe perfectly natural acts that there's no need to be ashamed of, and my English professors can lament the society that made these words taboo and not others, but the point is, their connotations are offensive. They've been defined by society or whoever as superlative insults. If they mean the same thing, how come nobody ever yells, "Well, sex you!" in a fight?

I won't say you should never cuss; I won't even say that I'll never use these words, though I personally don't like them. But if I ever did, my friends would know that it meant something was seriously wrong. It's the constant repetition that really gets to me. It's the difference between a carefully aimed bullet of crap and just randomly flinging poo.