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People are More Accepting of Spam 278

twitter writes "Many news organizations are reflecting the opinion of Pew Internet and American Life Project staffer Deborah Fallows that ' users say they are receiving slightly more spam in their inboxes than before, but they are minding it less.' I think that's an odd conclusion to draw. You would expect the number of people using email less because of spam to decrease to zero quickly when 25% of the population say they avoid email! To their credit, they point out that CAN-SPAM has done nothing to help." The Reuters blurb about this study has a syopsis of their findings.
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People are More Accepting of Spam

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  • by amigoro ( 761348 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:46AM (#12198659) Homepage Journal
    A growing number of men have been unable to go perpendicular despite Hitachi's [] best efforts due to the decrease in pornographic spam emails as reported by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.


    • Broadband (Score:4, Insightful)

      by L0k11 ( 617726 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:52AM (#12198685) Homepage Journal
      Without even RTFA I'd say it has a lot to do with broadband uptake.

      Checking your email via web or pop now takes seconds not minutes for your email to download (as it used to for dialup).

      So people are less annoyed (than they used to be) about waiting for 50 messages to download and most of them being spam.

      Filtering has got a lot better too, I have not recieved a single spam with my gmail account.

      • Re:Broadband (Score:3, Interesting)

        by surferbill ( 137539 )
        I also find that increased storage space, especially on webmail accounts, means I'm not so bothered by it. I've had spam to my gmail account (despite never giving out the email address, just using it for testing the interface), but it was all filed correctly in the spam folder.
      • Re:Broadband (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mr_Silver ( 213637 )
        Filtering has got a lot better too, I have not recieved a single spam with my gmail account.

        I've only received one or two. However gmail is completely useless at tagging phishing emails as spam.

        I've just removed 6 ebay, 2 paypal and 1 wells fargo that have appeared over the weekend. It would be nice if their spam filter did this automatically for me.

        One of the ebay ones managed to get around gmails phishing checks and so the links were still active.

        • by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:26AM (#12198793)
          I have a Gmail account I use for spammy stuff (posting on websites, joining forums (forae?), signing up for mailing lists) and I read it using Thunderbird [] and Gmail POP3 []

          Considering what I use it for, I get astonishingly little spam through the gmail filter, and Thunderbird picks out the rest and moves it to my junk mail folder for periodic review. Twin filtering is the way to go...
        • Re:Broadband (Score:5, Informative)

          by tehshen ( 794722 ) <> on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:50AM (#12198852)
          However gmail is completely useless at tagging phishing emails as spam.

          From my experience with it, it does do this, and it does it well. It puts a big "This message may not be from who it seems to be from" message at the top of the screen, and doesn't load any images.

          Then again, I've only had two eBay phishing spams, and they were both obvious.
          • Re:Broadband (Score:3, Informative)

            by Mr_Silver ( 213637 )
            From my experience with it, it does do this, and it does it well. It puts a big "This message may not be from who it seems to be from" message at the top of the screen, and doesn't load any images.

            Agreed, it does do this (and pretty well, only today did I see one manage to evade having it's links stripped) - however I would prefer it if they moved them to the spam folder automatically.

            Otherwise they just clutter up the inbox.

            • Well I suppose there is a chance that eBay or PayPal could send you legitimate messages (I'm sure Gmail knows to look for the "Dear valued PayPal customer" headings but these seem to be on the decline now), and as a false positive is worse than a hundred false negatives, it's better for it to be safe than sorry.

              My family doesn't check their Spam folders, so neither do most people (probably)
  • Desensitized (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ishmalius ( 153450 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:47AM (#12198662)
    Spam has been around long enough that the latest demographic group to join the Net have always known spam. To them, it is a natural thing.
    • Re:Desensitized (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <`ten.elcychtneves' `ta' `kram'> on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:51AM (#12198681) Homepage
      It's kind of like growing up in a country without rights.

      After a while, the next generation of people are accustomed to it. Because of the lack of outrage, the system stays in place.

      It applies here perfectly too. Nothing will be done about spam as long as most of the people out there will put up with it, and some of the people out there even go so far as support it.

      • Spam isn't a system, though. In fact, spam is more nearly the lack of a system.

        The cost of elminating spam would be very high. If you took the legal approach, you'd have to create a global police state over every email that anyone sends. Even then you're likely not to get full cooperation, so you'd lose whole countries full of people from the internet. If you took the technical approach, then you'd lose the ability to send an email to anyone, from anywhere, without any passwords or keys, and without ev

      • Re:Desensitized (Score:4, Interesting)

        by frostman ( 302143 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @10:20AM (#12200128) Homepage Journal
        A friend of mine who gets about 500 spams a day (and has plenty of room for that on the mail server) has an interesting non-techie workaround.

        He tells all his friends a secret nonsensical code word starting with "Z" to include as the first word of the subject line. The he sorts his webmail inbox by subject and ignores everything that doesn't start with that word.

        He's not a big net user, so he doesn't need throw-away accounts or anything like that. For him, it's quite enough to be able to see what's from friends and ignore the rest.

        Obviously, a more tech-savvy person could just set up a simple procmail script to send all the non-friend mails to /dev/null and make life easier, but the principle would still be the same.

        This isn't a universally applicable idea, but for someone who just needs personal e-mail from people he knows I think it's a pretty interesting solution.

    • Re:Desensitized (Score:5, Interesting)

      by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:12AM (#12198748) Journal
      this is probably an argument that most slashdotters will dismiss blindly, but I dare say that the quality of spam has changed as well : while we still do get a whole lot of G3T R1CH F4ST crap, there is a marginal increase in 'reasonable' spam for products that do exist and might perhaps be interesting to a small percentage of the population. A bit like dead tree spam : I skip trhough it in a glimpse, but once in a while something interesting catches my attention.

      Maybe the percentage the article talks about, is just that small increase in quality ?
      • Re:Desensitized (Score:4, Informative)

        by tehshen ( 794722 ) <> on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:57AM (#12198870)
        Although I agree spam has increased in quality over time, I think there is one thing making it not quite so credible - people get loads of it.

        I have received a few spams that really do look genuine, "I tried sending this to you before" sort of thing, that could fool quite a few people. However, the trouble is that I get this same spam five or six times a day. People are more likely to respond to a one-day 'offer' spam than when they're being drowned in them.

        And if spammers are being paid by the number of spams sent, rather than spams replied to, this shouldn't change soon, thankfully.
      • there is a marginal increase in 'reasonable' spam for products that do exist and might perhaps be interesting to a small percentage of the population.

        Really? Most of mine is for m0rtgag3s, pen1s enlargement, h0t v1rg1n t33ns and an aweful lot of phishing mails.

        Seriously, who would buy a mortgage off spam?

        The other really stupid thing is the amount of spam that only applies to the US which arrives at my address. I mean, how hard is it for them to avoid mailing US-specific stuff to .uk addresses?
    • by artifex2004 ( 766107 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:34AM (#12198812) Journal
      seriously, I'm so used to seeing some regularly that if a few hours pass, and I don't get any, (and this is AFTER all my filtering, that's how bad it is) I test mail my server to make sure it's all good.
      • i have been having loads of problems with this. we recently went from symantec's mail filter (haaaa hahahahaha) to ASSP (its brilliant) and now i am having to stay logged in to hotmail all day, so i can send people test email. they are so used to getting all the spam, now that it has gone away they constantly think the mail server is broken

        here is a link for ASSP, if you like it give them money. []

  • by redswinglinestapler ( 841060 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:47AM (#12198663)
    The article is playing on the stereotype that all spammers live extremely well off their activities, although this may have been true up until recently, and there are still people making huge amounts of money from it - the reason phising and stuff is becoming more common is because the profits from spam are becoming lower.

    You can't just pick up a mailing software, buy a list and sit back and watch the money roll in anymore, so the new kids wanting to be millionaires have to result to more devious tactics.
  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:48AM (#12198666)
    Given the number of posters who recommended the death penalty for the guy who received 9 years for his contribution to society (spam), I'd say that the persons who participated in this study are not Slashdot readers.
    • You must've missed yesterday []'s User Friendly.
  • hhhmmm... (Score:2, Funny)

    by irchs ( 752829 )
    Appeasement never works. See World War 2.

  • Better filters? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:49AM (#12198669) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps part of the reason is that many e-mail clients have better filtering mechanisms in them now than in previous years. With clients like Apple's Mail and Thunderbird, spam filtering can get quite accurate. I get as much spam as ever (if not more), but I rarely see any of it. The filters appear to do their job quite nicely.

    We may not be getting less spam, but the tools to help deal with it have been improving, and are being made available to more and more e-mail users.


    • Re:Better filters? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lars Arvestad ( 5049 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:01AM (#12198714) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, but if actual users are saying the get more spam, it is likely that they see the spam themselves, I would say. So I would guess that people are getting increasingly used to spam. Sad.

      Personally, I have no idea about my spam rates since I filter out spam myself in Thunderbird, plus that the organizations I belong to seem to do a good job of keeping some of the spam out using SpamAssasin and other tricks.

    • Re:Better filters? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NicolaiBSD ( 460297 )
      Perhaps part of the reason is that many e-mail clients have better filtering mechanisms in them .. Apple's Mail .. Thunderbird

      At best that's a very minor part of the reason as only 1 in 100 people use those. We're talking people here, not /.-ers.

    • Re:Better filters? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Matt2k ( 688738 )
      Are you doing anything to customize your spam filters?

      I get about 400 spam messages a day, Thunderbird without fail catches about 75% of them. Every few minutes while working I'm distracted by the 'new mail' icon and out of habit I stop what I'm doing and go check. It's always some piece of spam.

      I can't count the number of hours I waste each week task switching my thought process like that, I have a hard time staying concentrated anyway, and this is usually a prelude to `Time to check the news sites anyw
    • Perhaps part of the reason is that many e-mail clients have better filtering mechanisms in them now than in previous years.

      I use filtering as much as everyone else I know, but I guess I still find it insulting that I should have to. That I'm able to filter email on my end doesn't change:

      • the fact that some of it still gets through to annoy me and waste my time.

      • the fact that I'm likely to occasionally miss important emails because filters occasionally get false positives.

      • the

      • The fact that you or I miss an email at home, yeah, it's annoying enough. But for a business to miss an important request from their largest customer, that can be _deadly_. Think the story (urban legend or not) about how DOS ended up the IBM PC operating system instead of CPM. It didn't involve email, but same idea: you fail to take some business opportunity, you could kick yourself for the rest of your days.

        For example, as a business you can't just filter out every email that contains "to remove yourself"
  • by redswinglinestapler ( 841060 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:49AM (#12198670)
    I get spam now that have about 2-3 paragraphs of text that are mostly plagurized poetry, then all of the words that trigger spam filters are in the graphics included in the HTML email. It's a smart tactic (albeit annoying). It really throws off the spam filters. Does anyone else get a lot of these? Anyway to filter them out?

    They change the bogus names and email addresses, of course, but the ads clearly are coming from the same source.
    • all of the words that trigger spam filters are in the graphics included in the HTML email

      Depends which client you use, I guess. My Thunderbird never downloads images unless I request them manually.

      Apart from the problem you describe, this also inhibit "beacon" images to function (you know, embed a single-pixel image from some webserver so you can look at the logs as a kind of spam delivery notification.)
    • Blacklisting certain top-level domains does it quite well...
    • I get spam now that have about 2-3 paragraphs of text that are mostly plagurized poetry, then all of the words that trigger spam filters are in the graphics included in the HTML email.

      Yeah, where are those copyright zealots when we actually could use them? Have the rights users sue them for using works of art in mischievous activities.
    • While I know it's not an option unless you happen to be running your own mailserver, postfix does a good job (for me) of scanning message content and rejecting it based on common items. In particular that weird poetry rubbish.

      Much of the spam I get has identical features embedded in it somewhere, such as a recurring email address, domain name, specific words and so on. provides a quick guide.
  • by hyfe ( 641811 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:50AM (#12198673)
    but they are minding it less.'

    I don't find this very strange. People adapt, and their expectations change.

    Most people learn to spot spam at a glance, so even though total amount may have increased even those without spamfilters probably use less and less time deleting it. That doesn't mean we accept it more though, it just mean we aren't as bothered by it as we used to.

  • The conclusion should be simple: People get used to it. They learn how to hdeal with it. They deploy SPAM-filters and don't get to see the SPAM anymore.

    And so the problem dissolves.

    Personally, I get 150 Spam per day. 1 or 2 of them appear in my inbox and are quickly deleted. SPAM isn't much of an issue for me.

  • one possible cause (Score:5, Interesting)

    by toQDuj ( 806112 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:51AM (#12198679) Homepage Journal
    One of the causes of this behavior could be that there are a lot of people who started using email not too long ago.
    Therefore, spam was there when they started emailing, and they don't complain about it because it is no change.

    A simile here would be people who always lived near an airport tend to complain less about the airport than the people who just moved to that region. Thus, a change in the behavior of a user environment is more likely to be a cause for complaints than something that has always been there.
    We do not complain about the high death toll caused by traffic anymore, do we? they did in the past!

  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:51AM (#12198683)
    they are receiving slightly more spam in their inboxes than before, but they are minding it less.

    Of course I mind less, but I do because a good reason: the server I pop my mail from uses paid-for spam filtering (nothing revolutionary, but quite good), then my Thunderbird also squeezes them quite a bit. What I get at the end is below my getting-angry-about-it threshold. But, I have to tell that overall I get quite more spam than let's say this time last year. The reason I don't mind is that the number of spam I get after double filtering is _not_ higher than before.

  • It's pretty messed up. I remember the days when everyone was worried about this whole "online purchasing" thing. Everyone thought that it was just some sham to take peoples credit card numbers. Now people will buy products from companies that advertise in a sketchy manner and don't even spell things correctly? It's definitely a bit frightening.
  • by Overcoat ( 522810 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:56AM (#12198697)
    From the Reuters article:
    Fifty-three percent of adult e-mail users in the United States now say they trust e-mail less because of spam, down from 62 percent a year ago and about the same as a June 2003 Pew survey.
    Note the reference to "e-mail users". Thus the decline in e-mail users who say they trust e-mail less because of spam may be the result of people getting fed up with spam and ceasing to use e-mail.
    • Or it could be due to an increase in the total number of users thus driving the number down by watering down the particular group, much as one can drive the proof of a mixture of alcohol down by including things that aren't alcohol.

      I was going to use a reference to Sperm-Competition Theory, but I figured no /.ers would understand that.

  • X-YahooFilteredBulk (Score:4, Informative)

    by redswinglinestapler ( 841060 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:59AM (#12198708)
    I noticed that a lot of spam coming through my Yahoo account had been tagged with the header "X-YahooFilteredBulk". I added this to my Exim system filter and I've gone from 20+ spams a day in my inbox to 2 in a week. Thank you Yahoo!

    Unfortunately, a lot anti-spam measures (including Exim 3's system filters) only take place after a message has been accepted for delivery. For me, this results in a lot of bounce messages frozen in the queue as they cannot be returned (Hotmail mailbox full, etc). I've switched on features like verifying the sender and the headers, but this doesn't catch them all, and in some cases might even stop some legitimate spam (one of my mailing lists uses incorrect syntax for the "RCPT TO:").

    More effective anti-spam systems need to filter before the message has been accepted. If you wait until then, it is already too late and it is on your system. No, refusing accept delivery is much effective IMHO, and forces the MTA's further up the chain to deal with it. They shouldn't have accepted it in the first place! When you get spam, return 550 (or whatever the code is) and let the SMTP client deal with it. In an ideal world, ever provider (ISP, or free service like Yahoo) will implement stricter MTA's. If the spam rejection can be pushed far enough up the chain, life for everyone will easier.

    BTW, according to Philip Hazel (a message I recieved to a question I posed on the Exim mailing list), Exim 4 will offer much more functionality along these lines, including the invocation of C funtions after the DATA phase of the SMTP input. I guess this would be the spot to plug in Vipul's Razor, although I don't know what kind performance hit that would lead to. Mr. Hazel also pointed out that some stupid clients are in contravention of the RFC and will continue to try and delivery a message if they recieved 5xx after the DATA phase... oh well: they'll be using my bandwidth but they won't be putting any crap on my server.
    • I run a small server for my own webhosting/mail and that of a few friends. I use Exim4 as the MTA and route everything through Spamassassin/ClamAV after the DATA phase. Anything with a spam score above 15 is rejected, likewise anything ClamAV picks up. According to the little script I wrote to analyse my mail logs (output below) about 30% of my spam is being rejected at the SMTP level instead of me having to download it (I only set this up about 3 weeks ago though so it's still experimental).

      Mail sta

  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:01AM (#12198716)
    Honestly, I'm quite thankful for spam, for two reasons:

    I'll never be shy in the locker room again, and the ladies love me!

    Now, if only I could shut that lady who keeps saying mean things about my dikky up, I'd be fine. Personally, I have no idea what her standards are.
  • tolerance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by interstellar_donkey ( 200782 ) <> on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:04AM (#12198722) Homepage Journal
    I guess I now have two groups of people I don't like.

    First, it was just the people who responded to spam, making it profitable to spamers.

    Now I guess I really don't like people who have grown tolerent of it.

    When I first got an Internet email address in 1992, it took me all of 2 unsolicted emails in my inbox before I started hating spam, and I still hate it.

    The only good news out of this study is that people don't trust email. That's good. If you didn't ask for a company to send you an email, I mean, if you didn't explicitly ask them (sorry, clicking 'I agree' to an EULA that has a 'we will send you spam' statement buried deep inside does not mean you want to get it), the company that sends it to you is unethical and you shouldn't do business with it.


    Spam pisses me off. It should piss other people off too.
  • 2 years ago 3 or 4 spams a day were very annoying. You had to delete them, and to delete them you had to click on them, and that would show nasty stuff in the preview window, ect...

    But nowaday? The spams pop up for a second in the incoming folder of thunderbird and promptly dissapear to where they belong to after that. The felt exposure of spam is less than ever. The only thing is that its 200 or 300K traffic per day, but thats less than some flash adds have, neglectable.

  • by Durzel ( 137902 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:26AM (#12198790) Homepage
    It could just be that more and more people have resigned themselves to the fact that spam is here to stay. Whether you could (or should) attribute that to the spam having diminished impact on these people is questionable.

    I get so much spam nowadays (which is thankfully filtered by SpamAssassin) that I no longer have time to sift through my spam folders looking for potential false positives, so using this articles logic you could argue I was more "accepting" of it, when really I have just resigned myself to forever receiving spam.

    They are right about one thing though - CAN-SPAM has proven to be virtually useless.
  • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:38AM (#12198817)
    and the medium is no longer the message.

    5 years ago if I sent an email to someone, I was virtually assured they got it. Now, I am forced to follow up almost *EVERY* email I get with a "Got it, thanks" or a if I dont hear from someone in a few days -- a phone call. Not a big deal, but not exactly the modern marvel of technology we were looking for?

    I've heard about VOIP spam becoming the next big thing -- I really weep for the future. What am I going to follow up PHONE calls with? Certified Letters?

    • What can a lone geek do?

      Vigilantie justice, my friend. Start to get outraged, get other people outraged, and make the spammers pay.

      Of course, that may be illegal, but I can't think of anything within the law to fight back, honestly.
      • What can a lone geek do?

        Set up a honeypot on your website if you have one. I noticed that people were requesting /cgi-bin/ about once a day, so I wrote a cgi-script that logged these requests. All the requests were probes that tried to see whether it would forward mails to any address. So I pasted the mail text into an email to this address: so that the spammer believed that it was a working gateway.

        It's 10 days later now. The honeypot has absorbed 185 mails addressed to a

    • Yes this is exactly the problem I encounter as well. I deal with many clients using free e-mail services and about five percent of the time, I am _simply unable_ to communicate with them.

      They purchase a product from me then I e-mail them the software in return; Those people that never receive my delivery will start firing off e-mails, which I do receive quite perfectly, upset that I seem to be swindling them. I am completely unable to respond in any manner!

      Sometimes I can play around with the return rece
  • For instance some people at my workplace have terrible difficulty finding out which emails require immediate attention and which are garbage (not even spam).
    They are slow in recognizing spam, and some get so overwhelmed with the amount of crap in their inboxes (which for some users only means 20 or 30% of their emails are spam) that they want to abandon email all together.
    Of course somebody could put a better filter in place on the server and/or clients, but some people just can't handle email much yet. (
  • by Eyeball97 ( 816684 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:40AM (#12198824)
    Given that the survey was carried out by telephone, doesn't it stand to reason that someone who accepts an unsolicited call from a canvasser/surveyor/telemarketer would also be less inclined to be bothered by spam?
  • catching spam, orders of magnitude better than Outlook. It has 99.9% accuracy. The only time I need to click on an e-mail to de-characterise it as junk is when I received one from someone I knew but I had not received e-mail for quite a long time...but then I never needed to do anything else.

    And this is not a troll against commercial software, just my experience. It may be the simple reason that people don't mind spam: the spam-catching software has greatly improved.
  • You would expect the number of people using email less because of spam to decrease to zero quickly when 25% of the population say they avoid email!

    I would expect the number of people understanding this statement less because of mangled syntax to decrease to zero quickly when 75% of the Slashdot population say they favor stricter editing standards.

    Silly be not.
  • Answer is easy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rdean400 ( 322321 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:08AM (#12198893)
    People are getting numb to spam like they're numb to postal junk mail.
  • by Beolach ( 518512 ) <`beolach' `at' `'> on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:15AM (#12198908) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I'd say I'm more "resigned to" spam, than "accepting of" spam. I'd be willing to bet a lot of people feel the same way.
  • Better than they used to be that is. I don't get irritating spam anymore.

    Using my gmail a rarely get any spam anymore.
    I'm justwondering how many spam email needs to be deleted before read until spammer just give up and go back to stuffing snail-mail-boxes.
  • I used to forward my catchall domain to an IMAP I read using Mail.App that consistently misdiagnosed stuff, but I did not really see the volume till I switched the forwarding to Gmail last night and this morning found it had caught all 170 spams sent overnight.

    Even though it has caught a few falsely, I find it easier to check this in Gmail for some reason.
  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:04AM (#12199054) Journal
    People make out spam to be a bigger problem than it is. Sure it can be quite serious from an admin perspective if your basically getting DoS'd but from an inbox perspective its really not that big of a deal unless for some reason your poor address has been hit with hundreds of spams a day. Most filters are pretty good, web-based email like gmail is absolutely excellent and there _are_ ways to solve the problem, theres no need for one 'final solution' but things like challenge-response servers and micro-payment providers (the micro-payment should go to the recipient) will probably become popular and the web as a whole will decide which is the best solution. Obviously education is key here as well - people need to understand the basic fact: if anyone you don't actually know personally calls you up or emails you, theres no way of telling who they are, if they are legit or not, and where your credit card number will end up if you're retarded enough to give it to them, if anyone has been educated and yet still responds to spam and looses all their money i have no sympathy for them, in fact i think of them as scum, almost as bad as the spammer because they are the only reason spam/telemarketing is a viable business.
  • I happily accept spam into my Thunderbird Junk folder, so as to provide the filter with more examples of SPAM. A quick 'select all Junk' and look for any non-junk suffices before moving the sample junk messages to my Junk folder. If I'm short of space, then I may delete some. Certainly I'll never read it, but yes I am more accepting of spam, as most probably are many others. In short, rejecting spam didn't work, so people have found other ways around the problem. But it is still a problem.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:40AM (#12199163) Homepage
    ...I keep hoping to hear on the internet news, the news paper or TV one day "Man goes on anti-spam rampage" telling a story of someone who, fed up with spam, goes on a killing spree starting with the spamhaus hitlist.

    Spam is decreasing for me... don't know if it's improved blocking or what. But it kinda depends on which email account we're talking about anyway. One particular email accounts seems to be the target of some ridiculous bot(s) out there sending all these windows files. As a Linux user, I'm not worried but annoyed.

    Is it a natural conclusion that people would become more accepting of spam emails? Well, I suppose it's possible. After all, the original draw of cable TV was "hey look! no commercials!" and now cable TV is just as polluted as over the air TV. (Over the air TV signal strength has now been tapered back to make cable more attractive.)

    Oh well. Another Monday morning I guess... and I'll concede that I may never read the story I've been waiting to read for the past 5 years.
    • Is it a natural conclusion that people would become more accepting of spam emails? Well, I suppose it's possible. After all, the original draw of cable TV was "hey look! no commercials!" and now cable TV is just as polluted as over the air TV.

      Well, if you're going to compare all advertising to spam, one of the big draws to gmail is that there is a spam filter; and at the right of every message is a bunch of paid messages.

      In fact, I just clicked on a message from a mailing list and on the right the googl

  • trying to wrap my brain around this sentence:
    "You would expect the number of people using email less because of spam to decrease to zero quickly when 25% of the population say they avoid email!"
    which is very spamlike in its grammar
  • but they are minding it less

    or is someone else minding it for them? Most ISPs and most users have some level of anti-spam software running. So are they minding it less because they are seeing less spam in their inbox?

    Spam will continue as long as it is profitable for those the benefit from spam. I say find a way to go after those that employ spammers ... as well as the spammers themselves. It really shouldn't be that hard.

  • by Shads ( 4567 )
    ... I'm more tolerant of spam, I'm running thunderbird and I don't see it... so I don't mind. :)

    On the otherhand, I'd be a homicidal maniac if I actaully saw all the spam I got, the 5-6 that slip past the filters per day annoy me... I'm up to close to 1500/day across 6 accounts.
  • I'm always skeptical of studies based on pollings that report something like "use of email has dropped 22 percent due to spam...".

    That's an assessment based on the subjective impressions of the people who were polled. People typically do not measure the amount of time spent using email. Time spent in email could rise dramatically, in fact, at the same time total number of messages read dropped dramatically if the user began generating more outgoing messages.

    These studies also tend to ignore the difference
  • Seldom mentioned in discussions about spam is damage to people who own domains, compounded by over-zealous anti-spam efforts. We own several domains, and have recently had to give up having a "catch-all" email address. If you had a domain like, it was nice to tell someone they could send email to and it would get there. When we told our hosting provider to drop all the unmatched email addresses in a black hole, our daily spams went from over 500 to about 50.

    Even worse i
  • I minded the 10 spams a day I received some 8 years ago. I became enraged when I received over 100 spams a day. These days my spamfilter blocks over 20.000 spams and lets through "just" a few hundred spams each day. If I would have minded that, I would have had to commit suicide by now; the only solution is to stop caring about spam.
  • by MECC ( 8478 )

    Apathy rising, urge to complain falling....

  • Instead of turning apoplectic, I just mutter "<expletive> spammers!"

  • This is the same distortion that applies to unemployment statistics, which fails to take into account those whose case has become so hopeless they've dropped out completely. Republicans have a different place to count these people: criminal lay-abouts. But let's not get into that.

    What the authors of this study might have concluded instead is that those who continue using e-mail are willing to inflict upon themselves fewer ulcers than before by channeling constant annoyance toward a situation unlikely to
  • You would expect the number of people using email less because of spam to decrease to zero quickly when 25% of the population say they avoid email!

    Why are 25% avoiding e-mail? Because of spam, or is there a large percentage who just don't want to use e-mail because they do not want to learn, or take up another impersonal form of communications? I know many people who do not want to use e-mail --- and spam has zero to do with it.

    Though I am sure some people are more "accepting" of spam - they are prob
    • Why are 25% avoiding e-mail? Because of spam, or is there a large percentage who just don't want to use e-mail because they do not want to learn, or take up another impersonal form of communications?

      100% of the people I know (including most of my family back in Australia) who have told me they don't use email avoid it because of spam. They tried it, and just gave up because the work involved in grovelling through the spam is just too great.
      • Your 100% is not the population and I would like to see valid, unbiased tests showing that 100% (or even 95%) of people who avoid e-mail do so because of spam. I know far too many people who have never used e-mail who don't even know what spam is (the non-edible kind that is). Those that do know don't even care because they just don't want to or are incapable of learning to use e-mail.
  • desensitization (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mabu ( 178417 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:02PM (#12202890)
    First off, the story reeks of being subjective and bogus as well as misleading. That notwithstanding, if someone took a dump on top of your desk, and there was seemingly nothing you could do about it, and this happened 10-100 times a day, each and every day, at some point you wouldn't even smell the shit any more. That in no way proves that you now tolerate someone taking a dump on your desk.

    If you really want to find out how well people tolerate spam, I recommend this simple experiment: Place a small box with a button on it in front of someone. Explain to them that if they press this button, they will no longer get any spam. The button will cause the spammer to be rounded up, have his skin slowly peeled off with a pair of rusty pliers, be dipped in salt, and left to slowly die...

    There would not be a single button un-pressed. That I guarantee.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.