Monday, July 28, 2008

The Forward Stops Here

*Okay not really – but lots of times it does.

Quite some time ago I thought about putting up a blog post about this subject, but then I decided to sleep on it before I ticked off some people.Hey guys, I know that for some of you, email is fairly new. I remember when I began using email, there were all kinds of things I simply didn't know how to do. Yes, I didn't even know what it meant when someone used the phrase "cut and paste".

Anyway, before I tried to compose something about this subject, I Goggled it — and sure enough, Ms. Karen's Blog: B.C.C. already said it for me, although it uses just a mite stronger language than I do on a public Internet forum.

Some who know me pretty well know I'm a hypocrite and a copycat, so I plan to use some of Ms. Karen's excellently worded thoughts.

This is probably going to "hack"(revised) a few people off, but ... someone suggested that I write a blog post about this rather delicate subject. Who am I to turn down such a request? Especially when the topic is so near and dear to my e-mail inbox.

Ok, here goes:

You! With your finger hovering just a mouse-click away from irritating folks like me, do NOT forward that e-mail. Step away from the “send” button and listen up.

Thanks to a plethora of multiply-forwarded e-mails that have come to roost in my inbox, I’m gonna have to air some grief, vent my spleen, and pitch a bit of a hissy fit.

You know who you are...

You’re the ones who get email that says “forward it to ten friends and you’ll get your wish” or “Don’t break this chain or AOL won’t give you money” or “this prayer chain has been going strong, don’t break it.”

Guess what? I break them. All. Of. Them. So if it’s really important to you that the chain does not get broken, don’t send it to me.

Especially those forwarded emails where it takes you five minutes to find the actual message because you have to scroll through half-a-million names and addresses to get to it. Then you get to the message only to discover a) you’ve already seen it a thousand times before, b) it’s a stupid hoax thing that has been luring suckers into it’s claws since Al Gore coded the first website, c) it’s a blankeddy-blank(revised) don’t-break-this-prayer-chain-or-puppies-will-die message. I think I hate those last ones the most.

So, why does this seemingly harmless practice bug me so bad? Well, because the people who are on the same list you’re now on, will forward their copy to another hapless group of people who ALSO will do the same thing. This means, all those e-mail addresses (including yours and mine) are now dangling out there in cyberspace like so much pterodactyl bait, just waiting for the sp*m monsters to snap them up.

If you absolutely, positively, MUST send an e-mail that has already been forwarded to the entire population of North America, Asia, and the Milky Way Galaxy, PLEASE use a wonderful little courtesy feature that comes with your e-mail program called BCC — Blind Carbon Copy.

I’m not talking just plain old CC either, people, I’m talking BCC. Watch what you’re doing, don’t be so careless. You need to poke those eyes out on that sp*m monster. I’ve already had to close down a couple of e-mail addresses due to an out-of-control situation with well-intentioned but oblivious folks who are under the impression that I live my life with my head under my desk and have not seen any of the wonders cyberspace has to offer.

You know the saying, “There’s nothing new under the sun” right? Well, that goes double for the Internet. Been there, done that, had it sent to me a thousand times already.

I know there are folks out there who seem to be a bit new to the internet. For whatever reason they may have, their online experience has been limited or non-existent and there are a few things they’ve not yet learned. Now is a GREAT time to start learning stuff. IMPORTANT stuff.

Normally, I don’t get warped out of shape over little things like this, but this is one thing that really frosts my cookies.

So, if you just can’t stop yourself from sending the e-mail, then do everyone that came before you on that loooong list of forwarded e-mails a huge favor and cut-and-paste then BCC. Yes, both of them. It isn’t complicated, it’s just plain polite.

Let’s get one thing straight, if it arrives in your e-mail inbox, and it went through another thousand just to get there, you can bet anyone connected to the web has already seen it. Do the world a favor and delete it. Please.

E-mail messages can be fun. My preferred e-mails are personal notes, not an over-forwarded missive of gag-me cute crap. No, I don’t always get around to answering my mail, and if you’ve forwarded me a bunch of stuff, chances are good that the filters have simply shipped your latest message into that great trash bin in cyberspace.

So remember, Bill Gates and AOL will NOT send you anything if you forward that piece of crap to ten people. I promise. In fact, NO one will EVER give money to you or anyone else if you forward it to ten people, however those ten people may retaliate and forward their entire trash bin to your inbox. Oh, and there is NO elementary school teacher sending out e-mails to see how far they get. Seriously.

Delete it. Put a sign on your computer that says, THE FORWARD STOPS HERE and keep that delete key busy. The web will thank you for it.

A few of my own ideas on this subject:

  • If you are sending me email by simply hitting the forward buttom and letting them rip, you may not know that the subject starts out with something like FWD. Many times I won't even open emails with this subject. It depends on who sends them.
  • And since these tend to clutter my In box nearly every day – Snopes has an article on Internet Petitions you might want to read.
  • Ms. Karen and I aren't the only people who feel this way. The Soapbox Man is out there in cyberspace trying to give you a clue on the subject. Take what he's saying to heart.


  1. I LOVE the Soapbox man. I've never seen him before, but he already has my heart for that lovely rant against the email forwards.

    Thanks for sharing it (and thanks for the link, too!)

  2. the link for the Soapbox Man is now at