On Saturday, February 2, 2002, at 06:05  PM, Sterling Hughes wrote:

> I think you are confused...  Unsolicited e-mail is in fact the
> definition of spam!

Semantics war!

You're both right... although originally, it meant repetitive blasts of 
identical material (to newsgroups).  I'm pretty sure most people use it 
these days to describe any unsolicted email.

Let's see what the Jargon File says (one of the most venerable sources 
for answers to disputes like this)...

spam vt.,vi.,n.

[from "Monty Python's Flying Circus"] 1. To crash a program by 
overrunning a fixed-size buffer with excessively large input data. See 
also buffer overflow, overrun screw, smash the stack. 2. To cause a 
newsgroup to be flooded with irrelevant or inappropriate messages. You 
can spam a newsgroup with as little as one well- (or ill-) planned 
message (e.g. asking "What do you think of abortion?" on soc.women). 
This is often done with cross-posting (e.g. any message which is 
cross-posted to alt.rush-limbaugh and alt.politics.homosexuality will 
almost inevitably spam both groups). This overlaps with troll behavior; 
the latter more specific term has become more common. 3. To send many 
identical or nearly-identical messages separately to a large number of 
Usenet newsgroups. This is more specifically called `ECP', Excessive 
Cross-Posting. This is one sure way to infuriate nearly everyone on the 
Net. See also velveeta and jello. 4. To bombard a newsgroup with 
multiple copies of a message. This is more specifically called `EMP', 
Excessive Multi-Posting. 5. To mass-mail unrequested identical or 
nearly-identical email messages, particularly those containing 
advertising. Especially used when the mail addresses have been culled 
from network traffic or databases without the consent of the recipients. 
Synonyms include UCE, UBE. 6. Any large, annoying, quantity of output. 
For instance, someone on IRC who walks away from their screen and comes 
back to find 200 lines of text might say "Oh no, spam".

The later definitions have become much more prevalent as the Internet 
has opened up to non-techies, and to most people senses 3 4 and 5 are 
now primary. All three behaviors are considered abuse of the net, and 
are almost universally grounds for termination of the originator's email 
account or network connection. In these senses the term `spam' has gone 
mainstream, though without its original sense or folkloric freight - 
there is apparently a widespread myth among lusers that "spamming" is 
what happens when you dump cans of Spam into a revolving fan. Hormel, 
the makers of Spam, have published a surprisingly enlightened position 
statement on the Internet usage.


Erik Price
Web Developer Temp
Media Lab, H.H. Brown

PHP General Mailing List (http://www.php.net/)
To unsubscribe, visit: http://www.php.net/unsub.php

Reply via email to