How to Deal with Office Spam

Everyone gets office spam in their email. I don’t mean the ads for Viagra or requests to help a worthy gentleman smuggle millions of dollars out of Nigeria. I mean the email where some colleague (say Tom) is replying to a note about some one else (Dick) by a third person (Harry) and you have been unnecessarily added to an ever growing list in the cc.

I say fight spam with spam. Adapt a technique used by some robots on blogs, called `comment spam’. The kind that Akismet deals with so well.

First, create an innocuous little article, or parable (such as the post below). The content is not important, but it must hint at hidden Deep Meaning. The sort of thing you would read with a knowing smile. A reference to Kierkegaard or other Deep Thinker would be great, but only if you can pull it off. Confucius or the Buddha are almost as good if you are not up to the German level of sophistry. Even Steven Pinker will do. Make sure to capitalize some randomly chosen words.

Then you reply to the latest message (not to the whole list, they are innocent bystanders just like you)

Tom, this reminds me of a little parable…

Cut and paste afore mentioned Deep Story here

Tom,most likely, has a sense of humor and will remove you from the thread after a chuckle. Or, after concluding that you are a clueless idiot. If neither, at least you will make him wonder what the deeper implications of the story are, slowing down the spam chain.

Try it. And don’t comment on the results here.

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