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Spam - Collateral Damage January 6, 2010

The following explanation, received in my junk folder, attempts to justify stopping legitimate mail from reaching an intended recipient : "Your email message carried your return address, so it was either a genuine mail from you, or a sender address was faked and your e-mail address was abused by a third party."  A brilliant but quite obvious observation! "Some balance between losing genuine mail and sending backscatter is sought, but there can be some collateral damage." No shit, Sherlock!

So here's the collateral damage ... the intended recipient questions my professionalism for not sending the requested information and I question the intended recipient's professionalism for not acting upon the 'sent' information.

But perhaps this is in accordance with the 75-percent rule - getting 75-percent of important mail and losing 25-percent is a fair price to pay for not having to deal with so-called spam? 

To be sure, repetitive messages, whether solicited or unsolicited, whether sent singularly or in bulk, are an irritation. But is all new information, by definition, not unsolicited? After all, if you solicit the information, it can hardly be new, can it? Perhaps at issue is not whether you asked for it, but rather whether the information is relevant to your current needs? And unfortunately, this decision should not and cannot be taken by a mathematical algorithm attempting to predict what you want or need, but rather by something a little more reliable - the Human Brain Mark 1. 

Perhaps there's an alternative to simply blocking the mail. Perhaps collateral damage can be avoided by using the following technique with all e-mail - 1. Review the message briefly. 2. Evaluate its relevance to your current needs. 3. Act - keep it, can it or pass it on to someone else. 4. Determine the appropriate response. It's an easy process to remember - R.E.A.D. And if you need some help with developing this skill, give us a call. 

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