Talk:Spamming/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Jargon in the Article

I couldn't understand a lot of the article terms. It is not written for non-tech people and therefore is not enlightening. Think of a 70 year old woman with only basic computer knowledge and write for her. It will help keep it clear and actually communicative. (talk) 18:16, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Topics to Cover

This is a moderately complicated topic technically, and can get very complicated (and flamy) socially. Some things that it might be useful to cover in the future, within the purview of email spamming along, include:

  • Non-US Spam Laws
  • Spamfighting history
  • Spammer businesses ("spam gangs")
  • "Mainsleaze" (so-called)
  • Different views on what constitutes spam
  • Confirmed opt-in
  • Mailing list vendors ("millions CDs")
  • Solutions - Should "Solutions" be a supertopic? It would mention and describe in general terms what the main solution categories are, and solution instances would be linked to off that. Or would it be better to have fewer, longer encyclopedia entries? No response, so I went ahead, boldly. But Stopping_e-mail_abuse and Spam wars already exist. What to do? Elvey 20:12, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
    • Early/obsolete techniques (keyword filters, manual complaints)
    • Spam blocking techniques (blacklists, DNSBLs)
    • Accreditation and Reputation based techniques (Email authentication, whitelists)
    • Spam filtering techniques (content filtering, Razor, DCC, naive-Bayesian filtering)
    • Hybrid techniques (SpamAssassin)
    • Legal techniques (Small Claims, ISP, Class action,Government efforts)
  • The question of whether spam filtering is effective (see [1] for one discussion of its limitations)

Within the purview of Usenet spamming, it might do to have more on the subject of sporgery (touching perhaps on Hipcrime) as well as the Cancelmoose and NoCeM systems. --FOo

I decided not to add "chickenboner" as a see also. BF
  • There is no mention of the use of spam to send attached files that are infected with viruses in the attempt to spread viruses!!.

Elvey 01:35, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

NPOV the Article

This article takes a strong stand against spam. Believe me, I sympathize, but we need to rework it so that it presents the issues from a neutral point of view -- Stephen Gilbert 16:05 Jan 10, 2003 (UTC)

I think it would be very difficult to present a neutral point of view on spam. It's difficult to do this with many issues including child porn or other things most of society frowns on.

I personally think we need to put more pressure on our legislators. I believe the reason spamming is not being legislated properly is because we have not made enough of a fuss with our legislators. The legal definition of spam needs to be changed. Right now if they have a place you can "unsubscribe" from the email it isn't considered spam. The legal definition should be "Any unsolicited mail from any company that does not have your invitation to send you mailing." Right now they can send you what you may view as spam if they have or have had a "business relationship" with you. We need something akin to the no call list. And we should also penalize countries that allow spam by putting import duties on their products. That would stop or at least slow them down. Spammers are in my view on the same level as most selfish people. The same type of people who would sell their kids for drug money. I think a proper punishment would be that spammers are put in prison cells and their spam printed out and put in their cells. Perhaps if their lives were complicated by the spam they create it might impact their behavior. I also think that big business likes spam or it wouldn't exist. I'd love to see the stocks brought back for spammers (wouldn't it be nice to be able to go from 7am to 7pm and pelt them with balls made from their spam???) But until we make spam economically unprofitable it will continue. (talk) 00:17, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Ok. First find someone who either likes receiving spam or admits to sending it. -- Tarquin 17:10 Jan 10, 2003 (UTC)
I agree that this article is strongly POV, even though I'm a spam fighter. However, I have the suspicion that if we were to announce to the spammers "Hey, spammers, here's an article on spam; please edit it to include your point of view"... Well, they'd probably vandalize it so much that we'd have to make the article protected.
We could try to figure out what spammers think by reading public interviews with spammers, but the interviews I've seen haven't had any defenses of spamming; spammers simply seem to not care about any criticisms leveled against them. There is a mailing list for spammers, but it's closed and the only let actually spammers in. Probably someone should find a direct-marketing web forum , ask some questions, and then paraphrase the answers.
You all are spam lovers. I have never been an extremist in my political beliefs, but even NPOV has limits. Spam is not good for anyone except the spammers. They are all sleazy people who want to make a quick buck and probably don't even know how internet works; they just use pre-made spam tools. I can't believe this place hosts and allows spammers to post. (See first comment, It's spam and nobody is touching it.) 20:59, 30 June 2007 (UTC) Political issues section proves my point. Sorry for double edit.
Um, it seems bizarre that NPOV is taken to mean present all arguments from all sides'. This is a false interpretation. For much criminal behavior there are criminals who think it is ok. Do we give rapists or hate criminals equal time or present bizarre points of view as inclusive? A mere mention (from verifiable, reliable soruces) of other points of view would seem to be sufficient. I believe the attempt to deal with spammer and spammed POV in the political section creates distortion. Very few people or POVs would have spam be protected speech, yet that is the sense that comes out of the political section. This needs work --Jeffmcneill talk contribs 18:48, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
I do know that some spammers have accused spam fighters of being vigilantes, and of being in the pay of "big business" in order to squelch an advertizing method that can be used by "the little guys". Maybe we should include that? -- Khym Chanur 04:34, Oct 29, 2003 (UTC)

If anyone wants to do some detective-work on the spammer's POV, here's a list of spammer web forums. -- Khym Chanur 11:32, Nov 4, 2003 (UTC)

I'd say one step towards NPOV would be to address these points:

1. Since contact information is frequently false or misleading, why do people advertise with spam?

Anecdotal evidence I've seen points to the conclusion that the money in spam is not made by the person or company who is advertised (let's call him the customer), but by the spammer. A customer will either pay so much for each contact made because of a spam run, which works out to a profit for the spammer of a few thousand dollars for a run (before the cost of the account, & appreciation for the hardware, & labor); or the customer pays a flat fee for the run. In either case, the spammer has no interest in "cleaning" her/his list of addresses; the time saved by reducing the total number of addressees is considered less than the time spent cleaning the list of inactive accounts & people who are not interested.

2. Arguments for spam (they actually do exist!):

  • The trade association for Direct Sales (I forget their name) has fiercely defended the "right" to spam people. Apparently, they believe that eventually spamming will become at least as acceptable as telemarketing, & so want to keep that option open.
That would be the Direct Marketing Association, -- era (Talk | History) 00:00, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • From what I've read, spamming is considered acceptible sales behavior in some Asian countries, such as China, Hong Kong, & Korea. They cannot understand the American & European reaction, & basically ignore the protests. As a result not a few ISPs or end users block all email from many Asian countries, & only allow through specific email addresses of people they have a relationship with.

I'd add this material to the main article, but I'm writing this all from memory, & don't have any references available. -- llywrch 20:03, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Actually, it's a myth that spamming is "acceptable sales behavior" in Korea at least. For instance, South Korea passed a law a couple of years ago mandating that all email advertising put a filterable string in the Subject line (the equivalent of the "ADV:" mandated by some U.S. state laws), so that recipient sites could reject advertising. Here are some links on the spam issue in Korea: [2] [3] [4] (last one is in Korean)--FOo 14:13, 23 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Rare Spam & Opt-in

Has anyone *ever* received a spam message like the one added to the page by User: I haven't, and I think the statement "most spam blockers can't stop this" is also wrong. If there are no objections, I'll rollback his edits. -- Schnee 22:32, 18 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I've never received a spam like that, but it would not surprise me. It is inaccurate, however, to day that "spam blockers can't stop this." In fact, while obfuscation techniques work to get around censorware programs that look for "dirty words", they actually make it easier for smarter filters to catch the spam: instead of looking for the words, a smarter filter looks for the obfuscation techniques! For instance, here's a regular expression from my site's spam filters:
This catches the use of HTML comments in the middle of a word, which is a common spammer technique to obfuscate "dirty words". --FOo 01:04, 19 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I removed this for being non-npov: The fact that spam is usually contains very boorish language evidently written by persons lacking the mental capacity to grasp the concept of politeness or spelling or grammatical sentences also contributes to the low esteem in which spammers are held.

and this as I don't think it's true: (By and large, senders of email advertisements each assert that what they do is not spamming.) Often the rationale for such assertions is a dishonest statement that the recipient has "opted in", i.e., solicited bulk mailings from the sender. Angela

It is a fact that many spam messages contain the claim that the recipient "opted in". It is also a fact that, as a mail system administrator, I have frequently had users inform me that these claims, with regards to specific spam they have received, are quite false. (One of my users was recently very distraught over a spammer's claim that he opted-in to receive spam advertising child pornography.) I believe if you search archives of known spam -- such as the newsgroup, which is a public spam archive -- you will see many examples of blanket "opt-in" claims which are regarded as false by the mail recipients. --FOo 05:35, 6 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Also, many spams contain "opt-out" or "remove" links that supposedly let the user opt-out of future spams. These links are often used to just verify that the email address the spam was sent to is valid and, in fact, guarentees that the email address user will get more spam in the future! Even if a spammer actually has a valid opt-out link (is there such a spammer that would do such a thing?), they know that most users know that such links are just used to confirm email addresses and not remove them and know that most experienced users will just ignore them anyway!
Hmm, I haven't read the entire article lately, but if the information above isn't in the article, it should be added. :-)
BTW, I have received spam like the one added, but it is an uncommon one. —Frecklefoot 15:15, 6 Nov 2003 (UTC)

SPAM vs. spamming

Isn't it more appropriate for SPAM to redirect to this article referring to unwarranted mail first? There are many out there (esp. outside US), who have no idea that there is actually a product called SPAM, but any internet user knows what Spamming is. I feel there can be a disambiguation on top of the spamming page that can take care of the product (and the other meanings). Spamming is more well-researched than SPAM anyway.

It is not that I dont see the reason why it is organised as it is now (considering that all-caps SPAM should refer to the product and all), but I still feel it is better, if the article and the disambiguation is organised the other way around. (At least to me, until about a little while ago, the word spam had only one invidious meaning) chance 13:33, Dec 3, 2003 (UTC)

Moved to Spam (e-mail). A gerund is not a good name for a page title. Vacuum 23:27, Jan 21, 2004 (UTC)

  • On that note, why is there that noarticle-link to Email spam in the 'Types of Spam' section? Isn't that what this page itself is about? Also, the front page featured article stil links to 'spamming'. -- Fennec 23:05, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Much of the content of this page is about non-email spam, or spamming in general. So, unless content is moved around (i.e. out of this article), then "spam (e-mail)" is not an appropriate title for this article. --Minesweeper 08:48, 31 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Messenger Spam

I added a bit on how to stop Messenger spam. Is that in the right place? Did I do this right? (I'm quite new here!). Should I even open a new topic or something like that? --there_is_no_spoon 18:35, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

You did great. That was a useful addition that no one had thought to add. I'm not sure where else it would go but if you find a place or decide on something that deserves its own article, go for it! Welcome! - Texture 18:38, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Someone just added "This kind of spam is very easy to switch off: just click on Start, Run and enter "cmd.exe"." Does this have to be done on every boot, or does windows "memorise" this. If it has to be done every time, then it doesn't qualify as "easy". - snoyes 18:31, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'll check that as soon as I've had tea :) --there_is_no_spoon 18:35, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
There is no tea... ;) - Texture 18:38, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
If you turn it off in "Services" and remove the automatic startup type, it will be permanent. (Let me phrase that better in the article) - Texture 18:39, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

OK, I've just changed it
Please let me know what you think of it
--there_is_no_spoon 20:11, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Do you think that we need manual for turning off MS Windows NET SEND feature here? Let us add how to turn unix talk service etc. I opt for removal of this short manual. It is OT here, since we speak about spam in general. saigon_from_europe (soory for being unlogged)

spam (e-mail) vs. Unsolicited Commercial Email

Shouldn't spam (e-mail) simply be a redirect to Unsolicited Commercial Email?

No, because that ignores unsolicited bulk email that's clearly spam but isn't commercial per se. - David Gerard 22:37, Mar 13, 2004 (UTC)
Agreed. I've recently received a few bulk e-mails from a Christian who was using it to try to convert people; it's certainly not commercial, but it's still spam. -- Khym Chanur 01:56, Mar 14, 2004 (UTC)

And while we're at it, shouldn't the Etymolgy section in spamming be in the spam (e-mail) article regardless of the redirect issue? Rick Block 18:54, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Why? - David Gerard 22:37, Mar 13, 2004 (UTC)
It should not. The etymology of the word "spam" encompasses its reference to all forms of spamming -- after all, email spam was not the first form of spam. To shift the issue of spamming entirely towards email is not supported by the historical record; although email spam may be the most conspicuous and offensive today, that was not always the case.
These articles should reflect that record: the basic sense of the word "spam", in the Internet sense, appears to be something akin to "excessively repeated transmissions". This encompasses its meanings on chat systems and MUDs, on Usenet prior to widespread commercial spamming, and in email and text-message media today.
The page Unsolicited Commercial Email is an orphan stub and should be a redirect to spam (e-mail), if nobody objects .... --FOo 16:35, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I've redirected it. I'm sure if anyone really objects they'll change it back. The text that was there doesn't really (IMO) say anything needed in spam (e-mail). - David Gerard 16:55, Mar 14, 2004 (UTC)

Considering how these articles have become a series, I think perhaps the Spam (e-mail) article should be retitled E-mail spam to match the others (Newsgroup spam, Messaging spam, Blog spam, etc.). Any objections? --FOo 02:51, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Spam poetry

Finite Monkeys is a blog which collects poetry made from phrases taken from spam messages. -- Jim Regan 03:22, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

There is an annual spam poetry competition hosted by SatireWire ( ). Paranoid 18:26, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)


We need to mention some successful (and may be not successful) lawsuits against spammers. Here is one recent article on Canadian spammer sued by Yahoo!, for example. (more:,13427,1239323,00.html) A Russian SMS spammer was also sued recently for sending 15000 SMS with expletives using a Perl script. An article in the criminal code against malware was used. He got a 1-year probational sentence and 100$ fine. Paranoid 18:26, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Did that to some extent. Paranoid 19:59, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)


We might need to tell a bit more about spam filtering. There are currently articles on Bayesian filtering, Bayesian inference, SpamAssassin, Stopping e-mail abuse and Spam (e-mail), of course). Paranoid 18:26, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

What is the point of spam?

There should be a section on what the point of spam is. Lately, a lot of it hasn't been commercial - you get an commercial-sounding phrase in the FROM and SUBJECT fields, and unprofitable gibberish in the body. I think spam is becoming focused on annoyance and denial of service. Anyone know enough to make a section?

--Aniboy2000 22:13, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Some of that will be E-mail worm infection attempts. Curiously, much of the motivation for many of the most recent worm/virus attempts is to create botnets for sending yet more commercial spam. Remember, they don't care how much they annoy you, and they don't care if they destroy the goose that lays the golden eggs, providing they can make a short-term profit, no matter how small. -- The Anome 23:02, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Spam is not equally distributed. People on different systems, who use email and their email addresses in different ways, will get different spam. Thus, anyone contributing to this article should be sure not to assume that the spam they personally get reflects the whole spam problem.
Aniboy2000 might be getting dead viruses -- the result of buggy email viruses that send messages without the live virus code, or of anti-virus email systems that strip out the virus while forwarding the surrounding junk message. Or perhaps he is seeing the results of buggy spamware. Spammers do not use their software any more perfectly than anyone else does; sometimes my site (I am an email admin) sees spam with strings like "${RANDOMWORD}" in it that clearly indicate (to anyone who knows Unix shell) that the spammer is using their scripts wrong. --FOo 02:33, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

What's the point of Spam? Spam makes up for 14.5 billion emails sent everyday around the word. That means on average almost half of the emails we receive each day are spam! More surprisingly, the U.S. is the nation that generates the most spam, while South Korea takes second place.

So, if you're still wondering, so what's the point? Spam is a money making scheme, it also allows advertisers to take out the middle man and directly advertise in your inbox, and it also gives a avenue for fraudsters who are after your identity, credit card number, and banking information. In fact, identity theft mail (i.e. spammers wanting to use your identity and personal information, which also known as phishing) accounted for 73 percent of all spam mail! S.Tarikh 16:02, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree - the article should make it much more explicit why there is so much spam and the numerous reasons for it. Profit is only one and doesn't explain spams enormous hold over the web. Maliciousness is also a reason and power - to infiltrate people's systems. (talk) 18:07, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

This article and Spam (e-mail) are not duplicates and should not be merged

This article discusses spamming in all media. There are several other articles discussing spamming in specific media, e.g. Newsgroup spam and Spam (e-mail). The specific articles are intended to deal with the technical and social aspects of spamming in those specific media; Spamming is an overview. These are not duplicates and do not need to be merged together. --FOo 05:41, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Seems ODP: Computers/Internet/Abuse/Spam is a good place for this article ...

Wikipedia - Spamming - Provides a general overview of the spamming phenomenon.
Links to articles which discuss the techniques of spammers on particular media: Internet e-mail, 
instant messaging, Usenet newsgroups, Web search engines, weblogs, and mobile phone messaging. 
Another article describes ways of stopping e-mail abuse

-- sabre23t 14:35, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)


I realise that the term has changes over the years. Used to "SPAM" was a verb (in a sense), now it's "spamming." Shouldn't there be some sort of etymology? My understanding for the past ten years has been that SPAM stood for "send(ing) people annoying mail/messages" (there is dispute as to which was the original). Am I the only one that remembers this usage? Dustin Asby 10:18, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

"SPAM" (written in all capitals) is nothing more or less than the Hormel Foods trademark for a processed meat product. When the term started to become common slang, Hormel could have pursued online users for trademark dilution on the word "spam" — but instead (rather kindly and sensibly) chose to let only the capitalized word represent their product. (Otherwise products like "SpamAssassin" would have had to be renamed.) The mail system administration and anti-spam communities have responded by complying with Hormel's wishes, and using the term "spam" in lower or mixed case.
The act of sending spam is "spamming", and this article is entitled "Spamming" because Spam is a disambiguation page.
It is pretty well established that "spam" in the online sense stems from the Monty Python skit, by way of the early MUD community in the late 1980s. Brad Templeton's page on the subject is considered definitive. [5] I would expect that "sending people annoying messages" is, like "shit posing as mail", a folk etymology. However, if you have a citation for this usage from that era, you might be right; please bring it forth — at the very least, the acronym might have reinforced the use of the term from Python. --FOo 16:32, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I've always known it as "Stupid, pointless, annoying messages". User:Computer Jones

Reason for move

Hi. I moved this article to its present name because of the general Wikipedia convention that gerunds should not be used in article names. Thanks, Vacuum 03:27, Oct 22, 2004 (UTC)

Explain this further?

This quote is from the fourth (4th) section of the article "The most prominent Russian spammer ... sparked a powerful anti-spam movement, enraged the deputy minister of communications Andrey Korotkov and provoked a wave of meat-space counter-strikes."

What in the world is meat-space? It fits nicely with SPAM, though I wonder if it is a typo for meta-space. Is it important enough to have its own article?

Meet-space refers to the real, rather than virtual, world. The sentance means that actual physical police went to some spammer's house and arrested him. I've chaned it in the article. JesseW 23:28, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

On "Gates is most spammed" claim

I just removed the following para:

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Corporation, was reported to be the "most spammed" person in the world, in a November 2004 interview by the company's CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer said that Gates "literally receives four million pieces of email per day, most of it spam"

This was basically a self-promoting claim made by Microsoft folks to tout their "awareness" of the spam issue and, thus, their proprietary anti-spam "solution". As self-promotion, it is therefore not appropriate to Wikipedia.

Moreover, it's not clear to me that the fact of the matter is accessible to us, or to Gates for that matter. He may feel like the most spammed person, but neither he nor Wikipedia has access to a list of all the world's email addresses and the amount of spam they receive. (Nor, for that matter, do we have access to his mail server logs.) There's thus no way to confirm his claim. --FOo 21:10, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It doesn't matter if we can confirm it or not, but we can confirm that it is reported. It also doesn't matter if people feel that this is self-promotion (in fact I don't get that out of this simple statement). What this para does do is indicate the extent to which spam can be a problem (4 million/day in 2004). This seems to be both important and interesting to an encyclopedic entry. --Jeffmcneill talk contribs 19:02, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Sadly, it was a misunderstanding. Either Ballmer heard it wrong or the reporters misquoted Ballmer. The correct figure was supposedly 4m per year ... richi 01:28, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Extra links

The links in the "Types of spam" section duplicate not only those in the intro para, but also those in the Spamming series box at the bottom. --FOo 13:30, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'd lose the links in the intro paragraph - make them to the topics of the words you linked; the way they are, it's both impossible to tell that they take you to these alternate topics (i.e. not very useful), and also precludes linking to the actual topics of the words. Noel (talk) 13:39, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I notice there's a certain amount of duplication of links between the "See also" list, and the spam infobox (and there was even before I added the list of different kinds of spam, after accidentally discovering that the links in the introductory paragraph were to the different kinds of spam, and not to the topic of the words that were linked - something which was not at all abvious, and actually sort of against the grain of usual practise in Wikipedia - y'all might want to change that). Anyway, about the duplication: I would say that it's probably a good idea to leave them in both places - I certainly didn't notice the info-box for quite a while, and went straight to the "see also" section for more links. Noel (talk) 13:36, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

This is particularly true given the large amount of "External links", etc, between the "See also" and the infobox - it's really easy to miss that it's even there. Noel (talk) 13:39, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)


It is quite well-attested that the term "spam" was first used in this sense to refer to flooding behavior on MUDs, and that the MUD people got it from Monty Python. The references backing this claim up are already in the article. See, e.g., Brad Templeton's page on the subject: --FOo 14:41, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I have seen no proof whatsoever that it is "definitely derived from the Monty Python" sketch, just a lot of uncertainties chained together, as well as alternative sources and etymologies. As long as no one can track down a documented statement of the very first person who coined the term 'spam' for unsolicited e-mail plus explaining why, there is no definite proof. However it is at least true that this is by almost everyone believed to be so (npov).
So as long as no proof for the 'Monty Python'-claim is presented, it is certainly fairest and most npov that it is stated as it is, namely "believed by most people". Fedor 20:50, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'm glad to see that you noticed elsewhere that the fish thing is "spawning" and not "spamming". :) I'll be restoring the article now.
(By the way, it is generally not good practice to remove talk comments, including your own, when they contribute to the understanding of the discussion. The talk comment removed was Fedor's "I myself find another etymology more likely and logical, namely that the sending out of millions of e-mails in the hope that a few will give profit is analogous to the reproductive behaviour of fish ejecting thousands of eggs in the water, hoping that a few will survive, which is also called 'spamming'. There is of course no proof for this etymology either, but is at least as plausible (more so IMHO).")
In case you didn't know, in most etymologies it is not possible to find the very first use of a word. Historically-minded dictionaries (such as the OED) work from the earliest attested use of a word. That is generally the best that can be done, because most words are used in impermanent media (such as speech or a MUD) long before they are used in a more permanent medium (such as print or an archived Web page or Usenet posting).
As far as I have been able to find, Brad Templeton's is the best-researched exploration of the history of the term "spam" to mean abusive or flooding activity on the Net. Since this is Wikipedia and we have a policy against "original research", we have to go by outside sources and references. If you can find credible references that suggest a different etymology, please go right ahead and discuss them.
However, until that time it is appropriate that the Wikipedia article reflect the best available knowledge, and does not cast unnecessary doubt on what is a well-researched and well-confirmed claim. --FOo 22:06, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Besides the fact that there may be alternative etymologies, what I can read in Brad Templeton's article is that it is clearly not well-confirmed, despite the deep research. It is all very suggestive, but there is no definite pointer, and no clear line connecting the two. You in fact confirm this yourself by underlining that etymology can never be certain. So why would it suddenly be in this case? It could just as well stem from 'spawn-mail'. My guess is as good as yours, but at least I leave out my own ideas respecting the well-known 'original research rule'. But apparantly you have no clue on how to write a text objectively. Fedor 08:23, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
PS: I object to you laying out the corrections I made to my reply, that were validly in line with editing the final text, and exposing them for anyone to see. If I didn't know better, I would say that you were trying to ridicule my point of view. Fedor 08:23, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry if you feel that way. It wasn't my intent. I started to reply to your comment, and then afterward found (in an edit conflict message) that you had removed part of what I was replying to. It briefly occurred to me that you might simply be trolling, but checking your User Contributions page convinced me otherwise. Nonetheless, the deleted paragraph seemed to explain your intentions, and so I felt it relevant to my response.
If an article offers a particular explanation and cites particular researched sources to defend it, it seems to me that if you want to cast doubt on that explanation, you would do well to find sources for alternate explanations or at least research that casts doubt on the claim. Simply stating that it might have been otherwise but offering no evidence that it is otherwise, is certainly a point of view, but it is not a well-researched point of view. Every affirmative statement "X" can be "NPOVed" (or rather, weaseled) into "Many people believe that X", but it is not clear to me that this is an improvement unless some explanation is offered as to what the other people believe, and what reason they have for doing so.
(We have a policy on Wikipedia called "NPOV", but it isn't our only policy. We have others called "Cite your sources", "Avoid weasel terms", and "No original research".)
To give an admittedly silly example, the article on 1066 would not be improved by changing the words "William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invades England" to read "Many people believe that William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invades England." If someone wished to offer doubt to the claim that W. the C. did so in that year, I hope we would expect him or her not simply to lean on the point that we can never know for sure what happened almost 1000 years ago, since the universe could have just appeared out of nothing last Tuesday after lunch. Likewise, we would not want to go to Monty Python and read that John Cleese is widely believed to have been one of the members, unless someone is offering evidence (or at least suggestive leads) that the tall bloke was really Hulk Hogan in a remarkable disguise. :)
Another concern: While any affirmative statement can be recast as a statement of belief (as see above), doing so doesn't always make it more neutral. It can sometimes make it less neutral, by recasting a well-known point as an absurdity. Sometimes, a sentence of the form "Many people believe X" comes off as meaning "Many people take X on faith, aren't they silly?" or "Many people believe X, and many others believe not-X, but it doesn't really matter," or "Many people have a prejudice or unjustly-formed belief X." If there really are multiple sides to an issue, it's best if they are presented with as much evidence and support as can be reasonably accomodated, rather than simply by diminishing supported claims so they sound like prejudices or foolery. --FOo 15:54, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough. Point well taken. I had actually in different situations invented my own term for what you describe: "pseudo-neutrality". I.e. giving equal attention to marginal and obscure views besides a central and well-established idea casting doubt on the latter. An idea or view should only get the amount of attention in an article in proportion to its importance and level of acceptance. Fedor 22:34, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

AOL to basically all that Fubar said. Noel (talk) 17:22, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Given that no unequivocal proof has (or can be?) given that it derives from Monty Python, then a caveat must (forever?) remain. However, how on earth has someone arrived at the "false etymologies". Nothing has really been offered by way of solid refutation. The whole section reads like "I personally really like the Monty Python idea and wish to think the rest are all rubbish". POV & painfully so.

This sections reads like someone's favourite folk-etymology rendered without caveats. If there is no clear irrefutable proof that the term derived from Monty Python, then the article should steer well clear of making a mockery of Wikipedia by dessiminating inconclusive notions as hard fact. (talk) 11:23, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Spam reporter

Removed from the article (actual address redacted): feeds into a spam reporter.

Unless we have verification from the owner of the posted address, we should not be posting it here at all. Moreover, Wikipedia is not a how-to (e.g. "how to report spam") -- it is an encyclopedia. --FOo 06:36, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Occupational spam

Removed from the article:

This is a sub-genre of e-mail spam. Occupational spam is the flood of e-mail you receive at work that you don't want but has work content in it. Typical examples include the "reply all" messages or the "can someone tell me" message that gets sent to an entire mailing list. Gartner claimed in 2001 that a third of business email is occupational spam.

In the sense considered by this article, this is not really spam in anything other than metaphor. The paragraph is also chatty (refers to the reader as "you") and the topic might better fit in Spam (e-mail) or an article dealing with business e-mail. However what it is describing sounds to me more like simple improper or rude use of business e-mail. --FOo 06:27, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Suspicion of derivitation

I heard that the food item SPAM was sent to soldiers during World War II. Also, This leads me to believe that electronic spam is analogus to that somehow.

Since people were fed SPAM during WWII, I also believe that the feeding of those people was random just like electronic spam. If anybody can give any evidence on whether that caused the term spam to become a term for unsolicited ads on the Internet, type a description about it in the Spam (electionic) article. --SuperDude 18:42, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

No, the online sense of the word "spam" really does stem from the Monty Python sketch. There's evidence of this going back years on Usenet archives, which I believe are already cited in the article. Fake etymology springs eternal, though .... --FOo 19:10, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, the Spam (Monty Python) article does acknowledge that the concept of the sketch references the fact that Spam wasn't rationed after World War II, so Britons quickly tired of the processed meat. Still, there's no reason to mention it in this article. --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 20:14, Apr 19, 2005 (UTC)
Spam was rationed, but not as restrictively as fresh meat. See Talk:Spam (food)#Spam as WWII Provisions Sent from U.S. to Britain --Redrose64 (talk) 10:52, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Request for references

Hi, I am working to encourage implementation of the goals of the Wikipedia:Verifiability policy. Part of that is to make sure articles cite their sources. This is particularly important for featured articles, since they are a prominent part of Wikipedia. The Fact and Reference Check Project has more information. If some of the external links are reliable sources and were used as references, they can be placed in a References section too. See the cite sources link for how to format them. Thank you, and please leave me a message when a few references have been added to the article. - Taxman 19:41, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)


Does anybody know anything about this online address book company? What is their record as far as keeping information confidential? --User:Chinasaur

Quick answer: I run a mail server for ~1500 clients. I've had clients report Plaxo-related mail as spam on a number of occasions. As a person whose job involves providing a mail service that is not full of spam, I respect my clients' wish not to receive such messages.
Long answer: People's email addresses and personal information are valuable property these days. In my personal opinion, just because User A has User B in their address book does not give User A the right to turn over User B's name and address to a third party (such as Plaxo).
Under the AUPs of most ISPs, sending unsolicited commercial email and unsolicited bulk email are not allowed. These two phrases constitute the two frequently-used definitions of spam email. Plaxo's messages are commercial email, and are also bulk email (since they are sent to everyone in User A's address book) -- but are they solicited, or unsolicited? Only the owner of a given email address can solicit messages to be sent to that address -- if I sign you up for a mailing list you never asked to receive, then I and the mailing list operator are spamming you. Thus, User A cannot authorize Plaxo to send commercial or bulk email to User B; only User B could do that. Unsolicited by User B, Plaxo's messages are unsolicited commercial bulk email -- by the commonly used definition, they are spam.
Whether what Plaxo asks users to do -- that is, turn over other people's personal information -- is illegal is another matter, too. It depends on what jurisdiction you're in, and what business you're in. If you're a doctor in the U.S., for instance, sending contacts' personal information to a third party could be a HIPAA violation. If you're in education, it could be a FERPA violation. And the E.U. has very specific data privacy laws. --FOo 21:09, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
But in the general case, my address book belongs to *me* and I can do with it whatever I want. Nobody seems to complain that webmail services store other people's contact information...
In the general case, you're obligated to follow the law -- including anti-spam law, privacy law, and the contract law which governs your ISP's terms of service. In terms of ethics and etiquette, passing around other people's personal information without their consent is pretty obnoxious behavior.
If unsolicited commercial email is illegal where you live, then sending ads to the people in your address book -- or hiring someone else to do so -- is illegal.
If you live in a country with a data privacy law, then giving other people's contact information away without their permission can be illegal. So turning your address book over to a third party would not be legal there. (The U.S. doesn't have such laws, but the U.K. does, for instance.)
If your ISP contract forbids you from using your Internet connection to disseminate mailing lists or to deal in commercial email, then turning over your address book to a commercial service for bulk emailing is a contract violation. That can earn you a service termination and clean-up fee from some ISPs, depending on whether anyone complains and how seriously the ISP takes abuse handling. --FOo 03:45, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

If I had a "friend" that turned over my email address to someone else 2 things would happen. That "friend" would get an email or call from me and might no longer have the privilege of being a friend with my email address and 2 the "someone else" would also get an email from me, be reported and then would find themselves blocked. When I get unsolicited emails I write asking where they got my email address. If I get the info requested nothing more happens other then they are blocked. If I don't get the info I block further emails from them after reporting them to their ISP. I will not tolerate any spam and spam is anything that I don't request. And I further will not buy from a spammer (I don't care if it's a gallon of gasoline for a penny). You want me to buy from you then use ethical means of advertising and I will find you. [Charli] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:57, 5 July 2008 (UTC)


How did an article with such a long name become featured? Ratification 00:57, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

A vandal moved the "spam (electronic) page there. It's fixed now. Dave (talk) 01:20, May 23, 2005 (UTC)
Would someone please delete the completely pointless redirect which that vandalism left behind? Jonathunder 05:49, 2005 May 23 (UTC)

Whether or not spam is commercial has nothing to do with whether or not it is spam

Spam has these three qualities:

  1. It is unsolicited.
  2. It is bulk.
  3. It is automated.

Everything meeting the requirements is spam.

— Ŭalabio‽ 2005-07-04 01:25:48 (UTC)

I've seen another definition: "bulk email from a stranger". I will also have a look at the messages above on this talk page and see whether an update of this article is necessary.
Personally, I think that if J. Random Luser mails arbitrary strangers to tell about his problems and how to solve them by depositing money on a bank in Kenya, it is spam, even if it is not automated. So I would consider the last requirement superfluous.
Shinobu 4 July 2005 08:14 (UTC)
"bulk email from a stranger" is good. I put the “automated” part in there because people trying to write to everyone manually are more funny than annoying. ¿How much damage could they possibly do? They soon crash and burn. I remember back in the early 1990s, a disturbed man manually posted to over thousands of usenetnewsgroups a message warning us that the end is nigh. I use to be a real usenetnewsaddick; but the spammers and brain-dead metoo AOLers ruined usenet:

― “And postin’ ‘¡Me too!’ like some brain-dead AOL-er”
― “I should do the world a favor and cap you like Old Yeller”
― “You’re just about as useless as jpegs to Helen Keller”

Weird Al Yankovic

If you ever write to me offline, please keep what happened to Old Yeller in mind before metooing me like a brain-dead AOLer. ;-)

The first phase of the Nigerian spam when the scamming spammer sends out millions of emails is fully automated. The handling of the greedy stupid gullible people who respond is a manual procedure — those idiots must be as stupid as Shrubya.

— Ŭalabio‽ 2005-07-04 17:56:27 (UTC)

@manually posted to over thousands of usenetnewsgroups: practically turned himself into an automaton then. I'll agree that non-automated messages are generally speaking not as annoying (or perhaps I should say "(...)lly speaking as annoying, but to less people"), but they can be, occasionally, and personally I don't think it matters. But that's just my personal opinion of course; you may want to disagree with it. Shinobu 10:18, 31 October 2005 (UTC)


I'll watch the news and press agencies, and make sure that this article will reflect what has really happened.

  • If it turns out the entire story or just details are made up or merely rumours, I'll remove the offending material.
  • I'll expand the article if more information becomes available.

Help is appreciated, but note that Wikipedia is not a discussion forum, so messages like "it's good/bad that this happened" don't belong here. Shinobu 19:29, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Lynching moved to E-mail spam.

Removed pro-spam link

I removed the pro-spam link for now - although not because it's pro-spam.

  1. It's link title claimed the essay would rebut arguments about spam. However, when I read it seems to merely deny spam is a problem (even goes so far as to say that it's not true most people don't like it). A more descriptive link title is needed.
  2. It's probably more suited to the e-mail spam article anyway.

Apart from that I wonder what the added value of this link is. An intelligent pro-spam essay would be nice to have. However, considering his arguments, and the way he presents them ("Lie #1! Lie #2!" - very reminiscent of some other essays...) I don't think this is the one. Of course I won't stop people from putting it back, as long as points 1 & 2 are given due consideration. Shinobu 21:24, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

"(even goes so far as to say that it's not true most people don't like it)"

That statement is likely made due to the fact that people tend to subscribe to large amounts of "newsletters", "special offer" lists, and things of that nature, which results in them receiving LEGITMATE follow-up emails from the owners of the list(s), which they incorrectly perceive to be spam, when in actuality they had previously instantiated a relationship with the list owner or company.

Forum spam comment

Anonymous editor added the following comment below the Forum spam section today: —Aapo Laitinen 21:32, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

I would add to the above definitions to say that none of the above instances on a Forum are in fact spam unless the off-topic posts or threads are posted with the intention of pushing an agenda; be it a financial, self promoting, recruiting,.. etc. agenda or otherwise.
Posting off-topic can be as harmless and innocent as starting a thread on favorite music in a Politics forum. This should hardly be confused with spam.
Also the last case mentioned above, regarding increasing post count is not Spam,. this is "post whoring" or Postboosting

Question: Clicked on Postboosting and found no information just a notice saying "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. Please search for Postboosting in Wikipedia to check for alternative titles or spellings." What is Postboosting? 00:11, 6 July 2008 (UTC)Charli —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Mass Messaging

The article says that spam is mass messaging, however I disagree. I believe that you could receive a single message that could be considered spam. --Hm2k 20:25, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I think every e-mail about cheap viagra is spam, and I don't care if it was mailed to other people also. But I don't think I'm here to inflict my opinions upon everyone. The definition used here seems pretty common. Shinobu 08:50, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

In addition to this spam is not labelled by the sender, but by the receiver. The receiver is more often than not unaware of whether the message has been received by others. Hm2k 02:34, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

True. I wonder what the law says about this. Shinobu 09:00, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

One old definition on Usenet was "the same post many times". The tunable parameters there are "same" (what counts as "the same"?) and "many" (how many times is "many"?) However, in the email world, a standard definition is "unsolicited bulk email" (UBE). Here, the parameters are "unsolicited" (what counts as an "opt-in"?) and "bulk" (again, how many copies?) Usually, an individual sending a single message may be harassment, or some other form of abuse, but it isn't spam.

Something to keep in mind is that spamming (in any medium) is not simply an offense against the recipient. It is something that harms the medium itself, whether by reducing the total usefulness of the medium to all users, or by overloading the medium itself (flooding). Receiving one unwanted message may be unpleasant, but it does not by itself threaten the medium. Sending a bazillion unwanted messages, though, does. That's why bulk (or "many times") is essential to defining spam. --FOo 02:49, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure about US law, but I've looked up the situation here, and this is what I found:
Sending unsolicited e-mail, whether of commercial, political, or charitable content, is no longer allowed. Senders have to have demonstrable permission of every recipient for every (bulk) e-mail they sent, provide a clear and easy to use opt-out facility in every e-mail, and identify themselves clearly as the sender. Also, the gathering of e-mail addresses for mailings is restricted by the changes to the Telecomlaw. (source: XS4ALL)
Shinobu 07:45, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I guess you have to consider where the meaning of spam came from, which according to many sources, junk messages/mail was named spam after the Monty Python SPAM sketch. This in turn does contradict what I said previously, as the main points of this sketch were the fact that the spam was "unwanted", and secondly that it was repeated many times throughout the sketch. Therefore my conclusion is that there are two factors of spam that must be present: it must be unwanted; it must be repeated. However you cannot have one without the other. If the message is simply unwanted its defined as "junk", if the messages is just repeated, this is defined as "bombing" or "flooding" or similar. --Hm2k 01:14, 13 March 2006 (UTC)


Somebody know antispam services? I find only Spam Blocker Crawler on Friday. I think that some antispam services can block all spam in their niche. --AliveUser 00:03, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

There is Postini, Message Labs, Microsoft Exchange Hoted Filtering (Frontbridge), Surf Control (Blackspider), and a couple dozen others not counting the Anti-Spam appliance vendors like Ironport, Trend, and the others. Most os the managed services block ~95%, but some have much higher false postive rates in order to get that. Litch 23:37, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

External Links - Humour?

I believe this section should be purged as it not only attracts spammers but isn't really very wikipedia'ish as it doesn't really offer any information regarding spam.--Andeee 15:03, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Agree - I've deleted it. Except The Incredible Spam Museum which could be a useful resource if researching spam. was pretty funny, though, I must admit. --Singkong2005 08:56, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Not sure, a new wiki is emerging that contains EXTENSIVE documentation on spam sites that is being writted by professionals on an invitation-only basis. It would truly be a useful link: —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:14, 24 February 2007 (UTC).
What about the "Your post advocates a…" spam solution form? It's been through so many incarnations at this point it seems to deserve a mention somewhere. --Trevor Wennblom 04:18, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Hello everybody, I'm the author of The Incredible Spam Museum; as i just redesigned the web site & put it back online, I was willing to ask an opinion about the eventuality of re-adding a link to T.i.s.m in the external links section —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Boring? Misses the points?

I don't suppose anyone will read this, or be interested in it, but this article - and even this talk page - irritates me. You miss some very obvious thing, and get lost in a fog of irrelevant detail. First, you don't even clarify in the intro that UBE is the highest-category definition of (email, the most common) spam (in which UCE also usually sits, as a sub-set), and that this best states what spam, in its most widely experienced form actually is. This is very clear at spamhaus. Also, I don't think it is POV enough (to respond to those remarks). Why not quibble about the POV of pedophilia articles? Or the POV of articles on hunting which espouse the right of hunters to hunt species to extinction for sport? Get real. Some things are massively antisocial, whatever 'logical' arguments can be roused in terms of 'rights'. The article gets so lost in the breathless detail of describing zillions of sorts of spam (which really ought to have their own page - e.g. game spam) that it is more concerned with detail than definition. The most irritating thing about the article, and this talk page, is that there is no attention given to how to solve it. That's I think the most relevant think to cover; and yet there's nothing on that here, really. (And yes, I am sore in the middle of the night after more spam to my private email!)

Aside from your other points -- many of which have merit -- Wikipedia is not the place to find "how to solve it". Wikipedia is not a how-to guide. We do have an article on stopping e-mail abuse that discusses some of the methods people have used to stop or deter email spam, but I'll admit it isn't very good yet. You might also consult out article e-mail spam which deals with that specific medium. This article is an overview of spam in all media. --FOo 01:53, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Origin of the word

Hey guys. Just to let you know the origin of the word spam comes from SP(ICED (H)AM, I got it from Websters Dictionary. This information should be added to the article. a better explanation would be "spew" and "scam".

No, it shouldn't. That belongs (and is already on) Spam (food), the article dealing with the foodstuff called SPAM™. This article is about the abuse of electronic media which is also called spam. --FOo 01:56, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I definitely think the etymology of the word should be included. Are you sure that is where e-SPAM derived its name? It could also be another acronym. Who choose SPAM? Was there an incident where a villager sent to many emails so they SPAMed him to death rather than stone him to death? I am very interested in where this word comes from. Hopefully it will soon be known. -David
It already is known already. See the section History: The term spam is derived from the Monty Python SPAM sketch. Erik Warmelink 03:38, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Viruses causing spam

My father told me about a time he started receiving massive amounts of e-mail spam, where he (a network engineer) traced the email back to it's source and found it was coming from the IP address of a computer of one of his business partners. Some investigation revealed that she had a virus on her computer which caused her computer to send commercial spam to everyone in her Microsoft Outlook address book (though without her email address on the from field). It appears that the virus did not actually send the address book info back to the originator, because once the virus was cleaned the spam stopped. I realize this cannot be used as source material, but maybe someone could find a good reference for some text in here about the fact that much spam actually comes from unknowing PC users. Dansiman 23:12, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

This is discussed in some detail at E-mail spam and Malware. See notably the section entitled "Spammer viruses" of the former and "Malware for profit" of the latter. --FOo 01:52, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Reasons and Incentives?

Why do people spam? How do they make money doing it? The article should answer these questions. (Also, if you know, post an answer on my talk page because I'm interested.) --Hyphen5 16:37, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

There are a huge number of reasons why people spam, just like there are a huge number of reasons that people steal or vandalize things. I'm not entirely sure if it would be productive to list all of them. The wiki pages on stealing and vandalism don't list the reasons.
An the reasons include, but certainly are not limited to:
  • in order to advertise a product in hopes of increasing sales.
  • in order to be paid by others to advertise products, even if it doesn't increase sales.
  • in order to get paid for orders that you never deliver
  • in order to hype up a stock so that you can dump it
  • in order to promote your religion and/or political ideas
  • in order to trick people into revealing for identity theft and/or bank account theft
  • in order to try and con people
  • in order to infect your computer with a worm/trojan/malware/adware program
  • accidently, due to errors in a program that sends email to people
  • in order to reduce spam they receive, people sometimes spam others (see [[6]]
Wrs1864 17:12, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
More abstractly, "spam happens" when the potential downside of spamming (legal action, public reaction, etc) plus the overhead (bandwidth, developing/getting a email/wiki/blog spam tool, taking over a host/zombie, etc) is outweighed by the likely upside (total expected profit from spam, including everything in the list above.) Spam happens because the overhead in electronic communications is so lightweight, and the downside hasn't reacted fast enough. Benjaminhill 19:53, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
But do people actually make money from spam? Do people actually respond to spammers? (I have never heard of that.) How is this even possible, since they often hide their true e-mail addresses? --Hyphen5 01:51, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Sure, many spammers make money off of spam. Sure, people actually responde to spam. Remember, the rate of severe mental illness and mental retardation in the general public is well over 1 in 1,000, and spammers only need a response rate of about 1 in 100,000 to make a profit. UBE in the form of phishing and email worms are *designed* to look like legitimate email and can fool many more than 1 in 1,000 people. Wrs1864 16:28, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
In answer to the question do people make money off of spam the answer is absolutely yes. Nearly ever spammer that sends out enough spam to get noticed is a professional, that has calculated the rate of return against the cost of doing business. Assume the opposite, that spammers on average fail to return a profit. In that case, there would have to be a continual new supply of people who are thinking of trying their hand at spamming, and I think that is much less likely. Spam works, and works well, due to the low overhead/downside. Benjaminhill 17:14, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Ham (electronic)

If "spam" is the colloquial term for UCE why does this article not mention the word "ham" for solicited email? There is also no Ham (electronic) article.

Reference: Sorting the ham from the spam, The Sydney Morning Herald 2003.

-- StevenMcCoy 10:08, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Dates and spam

Why does "a certain proportion" of email spam have bizarre dates (past and future)? (Unless there is a Tardis-connection from 2002, 2029 etc) Jackiespeel 19:32, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Most email clients sort incoming messages by date. Therefore a message with a date far in the future will be prominent as the most "recent" message. Dates far in the past are used so that the spam may be overlooked when purging recent messages. Raymond Arritt 19:36, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I would add " and archiving" to "purging" above. If the user uses the email client to sort messages by date, oldest first, and archives or purges messages already dealt with, new spam email messages with old dates will be at the top of the list.   — Jeff G. (talk|contribs) 00:05, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

It's ludicrous for the Wikipedia article "Spam" to mention e-mail spam only once in passing

It is one thing for there to be a separate article focusing exclusively on e-mail spam; this is entirely reasonable. But it's another thing entirely for the Wikipedia article "Spam" to mention e-mail spam only once in passing.

For this article to omit even the most elementary basic facts about e-mail spam makes no sense at all, since this article is about spam (the vegetarian kind). It is standard for Wikipedia to have a general article that says something about an important sub-topic, and also have a specific detailed article about the subtopic. This is how it should be. Someone with some knowledge about spam (I know very little, myself) ought to write a section of this article -- and it should be the first section after the intro -- that gives basic facts about e-mail spam. E.g., its origins, its growth, how much e-mail it currently generates, perhaps how much it's believed to generate in sales, and its different categories and rough percentages of each, as of now.Daqu 18:09, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I added a short section right at the top.-- era (Talk | History) 01:05, 27 November 2007 (UTC)


SPAM stands for "Stupid Pointless Anoying Messages" I was tought this in school, it has nothing to do with the Python scetch MJN SEIFER 19:36, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately, schools do not always teach the whole truth. Sometimes different schools even give opposing teachings. That does not necessarily mean that you were taught falsities, but it does mean that you need more than I was tought this in school if you want to change the article.
In the article itself (under History) and on the talk page (under Etymology) several arguements given why the explanation you were taught might be a backronym. On the talk page Suspicion of derivitation is also relevant. Erik Warmelink 21:40, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Hobbit Spam

Why is there a whole entry for hobbit spam? It seems odd to reference one minor spam campaign which isn't very unique. I googled "hobbit spam", and didn't get many results, most of which only mentioned the phrase in passing. I've gotten plenty of spam that seemed to be completely pointless, but I've always figured either the ads were filtered out, or the spammer was just trying to "ping" email addresses. Prgrmr@wrk 21:55, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

The true meaning of spam

MJN and I could argue about the true meaning of spam, and probably wouldn't accomplish anything, except I think it's safe to say that the term "spam" was not derived from a sketch on Monte Pythons. "Spam" is an abbreviation, plain and simple, like the many other abbreviated terms used in chat, messaging and email; LOL (Laughing Out Loud), BRB (Be Right Back), IDK (I Don't Know), TTYL (Talk To You Later), etcetera. What "spam" stands for is arguable, since the original use of the term is not documented, and no one knows who exactly coined it. MJN says "Stupid Pointless Annoying Messages", I say "Sending People Advertising Messages", since "spam" originally referred to advertising, (spam email), well before chat rooms and forums became popular and "spam" began being used in place of "flooding". MJN and I could both be right and wrong at the same time, perhaps it's "Sending Pointless Advertising Messages", or any other variation. You be the judge. In any case, Monte Python has no place in the history of "spam". T. L. Fulton 16:48, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I find it weird that people still insist on arguing about this, but oh well...
Seriously, the word does come from the Monty Python sketch, and it's not an acronym -- although it's certainly true that in many circles (apparently in yours and MJN's, for example) it's used as a backronym. Language is what we make it anyway, so why not? "Stupid pointless annoying message" is certainly informative enough, but that's not where the word came from. If you really want to convince us otherwise, perhaps you would be kind enough to provide us with a documented example of the acronym being used before he documented examples of the Monty Python sketch?
(And honestly? Claiming that "Monty Python has no place in the history of spam" is kind of ridiculous. Even if you were right and the sketch was not the origin of the word in this context, informing people that it's just a popular myth would be pretty important, since the knowledge that Monty Python is the source of the term is very widespread.) -- Captain Disdain 15:36, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Please see Erik Warmelink 03:33, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Does "widespread" opinion constitute as fact on Wikipedia? Because that's how it's stated in the article. Maybe that's why The Simpsons poke fun of it. Funny, I found it ridiculous to claim the source as a Monte Pythons sketch. If the opinion is as widespread as the show... T. L. Fulton 22:57, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
No, a "widespread opinion among lusers" isn't necessarily a fact. Erik Warmelink 20:57, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm an old fart that was around when I first saw the term SPAMMA shortened to SPAM in the BBS networked groups. It was short for Same Post Across Many (or Multiple) Message Areas. (SPAMMA) It originally did not refer to BUCE, but to cross-posters. I really don't understand why this historical trivia has been overlooked. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:53, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Links to anti-spam sites?

* "Learn How To Stop the Spammers From Finding You"- An informative resource to use to stop spammers from finding you.

Another good link that should be included (or one with similar content) "The First Serving of Spam" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

There is a Spam Forum that is hosted by . Go to: for discussion and to ask questions about various types of spam. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:03, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Quick Question...

What do you call the practice of spamming Houses of Parliament with irrelevant and/or ineffectual bills to "gum up the works", so to speak? -- 21:05, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Increasing the cost of email spam

One proposed system to combat spam is by making the sender pay for email by spending a few seconds of computing time. Outgoing mail is marked with 'postage stamps' that convince the receiver that the sender is genuine. See this project for an implementation of this technique for thunderbird: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:37, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Spam from Sophos?

The "Geographical origins of spams" section appears to be shameless PR spam? I don't think the data in this section is at all meaningful as it changes drastically from month to month a spammers adopt to get around anti-spam technologies and filters. This section only seems to exist to promote Sophos and I think it should be removed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ihouston08 (talkcontribs) 16:52, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Improved thus as I thought there was content worth saving.

First use of the term SPAM

The article states that "the first usage of this sense was by Joel Furr in the aftermath of the ARMM incident of March 31, 1993, in which a piece of experimental software released dozens of recursive messages onto the news.admin.policy newsgroup." I have just read a comment on slashdot ( ) from a guy named Paul Czarnecki claiming his 19987 usenet posts are the first documented appearance of the term SPAM. He backs that up by showing a 1987 post on usenet news.admin news group ( ) where his signature uses the term in the sense of this wikipedia article: "Paul Czarnecki -- Spam, spam, spam, Usenet, and spam". Needless to say, the fact that the usenet post in question is stored by Google serves as enough evidence IMHO. Another effect of this information is that the wide spread believe that the term SPAM came from the famous Monty Python sketch may be backed up by the same source (since Czarnecki's signature is clearly a parody to the sketch). I guess this a valid information and deserves to be looked at. []'s Pabloximenes (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 19:02, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Merging History of spamming

There doesn't appear to be any good reason for having a separate article, History of spamming. It's short, among other things. And I notice that a lot of questions on this page are actually about the history of spam; no surprise, since most articles of this type do discuss history.

More specifically, I think what's in the article History of spamming should be merged into the daughter articles of this article, particularly E-mail spam and Newsgroup spam. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:04, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

weak oppose - I see what you are saying, but I think it would be far more appropriate to remove a large part of the text out of this already overly long article and into the "history of" article. Wrs1864 (talk) 15:00, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
comment (because I'm not sure whether this is support or not) - either way the content should be merged. I'm neutral as to whether that would be here on this article, or over on the history article. I do think it's useful to keep a centralized history in one place, not spread out among separate daughter articles, because that would dilute the subject. Most of the sources I read trace the history of spam across its various modalities, rather than one at a time. Wikidemo (talk) 19:19, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Let's imagine this scenario: the aliens are attacking us, as in the old serial "Invaders" Remember?

I think the problem with SPAM o unsolicited email (bulk or not) is a kind of witch hunting that does not consider it as a useful massive and democratic communication tool. Let's imagine for a moment the scenario presented in the tittle: the aliens are invading the planet and there's only one or very few persons that have discovered this, just like it happened in that serial back form the 70's. How would this people do to let mankind be aware of the exponentially increasing danger? Wouldn't it be what you call spamming and better chain spamming the cheapest and fastest way to do it? What we call massive communication media like tv, radio and newspapers don't have the speed and massive propagation possibilities that spam has. So the problem, as with many other things that we attack in a generic way, is not SPAM but, eventually the bad use of this magnificent massive communication tool. IT is as if we were to ban guns because some people use them to kill others that don't want to be killed and that, up to our knowledge don't deserve to be killed. Or as americans experienced in the 30's we were to ban alcohol because some people get drunk and harm themselves or others. The list of actions to be banned because of missuse could extend for quite a long space, but I think that you might have caught the general idea I'm trying to state. And, by the way, isn't all kind of advertising different kinds of SPAM? Has anyone ever ask you permission to interrupt a program you're watching on tv to try to sell you some kind of brand new widget? Have anyone reading this article ever been solicited permission to receive advertising in his snail mailbox? May be the real problem with electronic SPAM is far away from the focus they're trying to put us into. It's the cheapest and fastest way to let millions of people know something new, be it good or bad, and no one can charge it with a u$s 2000 per second fee as they do on the TV or cable, can they? I think that if SPAM is considered such a big problem then we should be caring about the other mass media that never ask us to send a commercial. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cemls2008 (talkcontribs) 02:12, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

anti-spam (government or otherwise) agencies

The article uses the work "depeered". What is this supposed to mean? Is it a typo?

Also, I didn't see any mention of anti-spam (government or otherwise) agencies. Do they exist? Isn't someone out there fighting spam and imprisoning these people that prey on the stupid or naive with their phishing and spamming emails? What agencies exist and can we forward our spam to them so they can stop it? (talk) 09:48, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

'depeered' is hotlinked in article. Double click on it for explanation. Darrell_Greenwood (talk) 00:49, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
There exists no agencies anywhere combatting spamming. Both the tech and the means exist to eliminate spam just like that, but no-one wants to do it, meaning it will never go away. (talk) 17:10, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

RFC 2635

According to RFC 2635 [7] the term spam was derived from a Monty Python sketch and not "widely believed" as the text said. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wuemura (talkcontribs) 09:36, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

YouTube Spam Numbers

Hey, does anybody know why they have those numbers underneath of a spam message on YouTube? I really want to know and I think we could add it to the article. --MasterOfTheXP (talk) 05:25, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

SPAM from Monty Python?

Erm.. are you having a laugh? SPAM is not a reference to monty python, it stands for Stop Pornographic and Abusive Mail... named after the same act. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:50, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

ummm...actualy my IT teacher said that it was related to monty python... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:45, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Spam clearly is not "Stop Pornographic and Abusive Mail", because spam doesn't want to stop itself, and it rarely includes pornography. It is truly originating from the food. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:29, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Spam War

Should spam war be included in this? Spam war is when some one spams (in fourms) a lot. Usally making 5-10 pages and 20-75 pages of pure spam. (talk) 17:20, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Excised paragraph about origin of the term

I excised the following from section 6.2 (Origin of the term):

  • This belief is fallacious. The term SPAM, as associated with the practice of sending unsolicited content, dates back to a time before the existence of the World Wide Web. In the early 1990s the Usenet was one of the main sources of content on the Internet and consisted of thousands of diverse discussion groups. Around this time a prankster, who was later identified as a student, began posting articles to every newsgroup a few at a time endorsing SPAM (the original meat product) as the cure for all ills. The articles were written in all caps. and contained a short statement as to how SPAM saved the world or similar nonsense. The prankster was banned but not before posting to almost every newsgroup. When such a posting appeared in a newsgroup the subscribers to that newsgroup would say they had been SPAMMED. In 1994, not long after the original Spammer was banned, two lawyers started posting adverts to every newsgroup multiple times causing widespread outrage. The notorious Green Card Spam was probably the origin of the sending of unsolicited content for commercial gain.

As interesting as it all is, we have a verified source saying the term originated from the Monty Python sketch, and nothing verified to contradict it (as yet). If a verifiable source for the above is found, by all means add it back in (but in the context of there being disagreement about the origin, rather than the fairly absolute tone of the above.) Manning (talk) 06:29, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Number of spammers caught?

Are there any numbers on this? As far as I can tell, less than a dozen people out of the tens of millions of spammers around the globe have been caught, effectively making spamming a 100% fool proof crime. Are there any references to anyone getting caught, ever? Other than the few show trial cases? If not, it's astounding, and should definitely be included. (talk) 17:07, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

An Example Of Spam

spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:13, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

History of SPAM

Shouldnt we add an entry about the history of spam? See the quote and link below

"This Day In Tech Events That Shaped the Wired World April 12, 1994: Immigration Lawyers Invent Commercial Spam ... 1994: Members of more than 6,000 Usenet discussion groups find themselves the recipients of a message imploring them to use the legal services of Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel to ensure their place in line for a green card from the U.S government.

It didn’t matter that most recipients had no need for such services. They’d just been spammed by a company — for the first time in the net’s history. Not surprisingly, some lines of the message were in ALL CAPS AND BOLD."

this is already mentioned under newsgroup spam though

Vmaldia (talk) 03:05, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Redefining spam to include all the new varieties?

Spamming is the use of any electronic communications medium to send unsolicited messages to someone in bulk.
Spamming is the use of any low-transaction-cost communication medium for individual gain at the expense of the network, community, or individual.

Why do I think it should change? For every major network effect enabled information technology, there is either a present or theoretical corresponding type of malicious behavior (referred to as variants of spam, spim, blam, etc). This is due to an indirect increase in utility from the position of the malicious user: not every new member is a spammer, but every new member is a potential target for spamming. So "spam happens" when the barrier to entry for spammers is less than the utility of spamming memebers of the community.

Oppose; 1)I see nothing wrong with the definition in the article that justifies a new one. 2)The most common meaning of spam I know is simply UBE. We shouldn't stray too far from it, IMO. 3) UBE over high-cost links such as satellite or international phone call or SMS links can be far from "low-transaction-cost". 4)Bulk is a key component missing from the proposed definition. Elvey

Words like "spam" are already being applied too loosely. Your proposed definition just makes things even more vague. Also, all to often what qualifies as "individual gain at the expense of the network, community, or individual" is highly subjective.

Oppose; I believe that in networking, spam refers primarily to email messages. Other uses are metaphorical. Note also this article should also mention SPIT (SPam over Internet Telephony). See —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 2 December 2010 (UTC)


What about the motivation to do spamming? It seems to do pay off, but why? It seems that most spammers do not advertise products they want to sell or websites they own themselves. So there must be people who pay spammers for advertising their products/websites by spamming. Does it pay off for these people? Of course, if you send a quadrillion mails (which costs you neither time nor money) and get one customer buy your thing, it paid off. But how many customers can you actually get by spam mails? So the question is: how much do you pay a professional spammer for doing his job? And do you pay him for sent mails or for what? And on the other side: Why do people become spammers? And how? Are we even talking about masses of spammers, or are they just a few people, but seem like millions? Are there a lot of professional spammers or is it more an auxiliary income? I think the article could be improved by giving answers to some of these questions.--TeakHoken193.187.211.118 (talk) 13:13, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

External Link

Added Feb. 4th, 2011 by Knuddi Some of the reports are quite outdated and hence I suggest to add the live statistics of the most spam sending countries. These graphs are actually updated every hour and you can see how f.ex US spam decreases over the day when many home computers are switched off and the botnet is not active. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Knuddi (talkcontribs) 08:56, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

I couldn't find a place in the "cost of spam" section for this spam cost calculator. It would be a good external link.

Drcarver (talk) 10:16, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

>People who create electronic spam are called spammers.

wouldnt be "spammer" the right term? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:37, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

recent vandalism by apokalupsis

user apokalupsis was involved in an argument on a video game forum where he misused the word spam rather than admit his mistake he came here to change the wiki to suit him here is where it started just thought you might want to know thx — Preceding unsigned comment added by Raspberryhead (talkcontribs) 23:22, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Cost-benefit analyses

Spam "usually" goes hand in hand with child pornography? I'd like to see a reference for this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:41, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

coining the term 'spam'

the article needs a section at the beginning about who coined the term spam. and what, if anything, spam stands for -- or the origin of the term. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gawdsmak (talkcontribs) 10:58, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Shoulder Pork or SPiced hAM?

The article (section Etymology) claims that spam is an abbreviation of "Shoulder Pork hAM" whilst the article Spam_(food) claims "SPiced hAM". I searched the Hormel Foods site ( and the "Official Spam site" ( but could not find any reference either way. Does anybody know? NL Derek (talk) 21:39, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

you people had me lode pix and you still won't let me comment,but everyone else can comment on my pix fuck you

TLD Spam?

Is it considered to be a form of search engine spam if a business uses a top level domain, such as .org, that is reserved for non-commercial uses? Sometimes when I search for information on a type of business restricting my search to .org sites, I get pages of commercial sites that properly belong in .com or .biz. In fact, now I'm even using .org when I'm searching for a commercial product or service just to get a list of untrustworthy businesses to avoid. Bostoner (talk) 02:38, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


What is UCE? -- Zoe

UCE == Unsolicited Commercial Email; UBE == Unsolicited Bulk Email. Spam is often defined by antispammers as "UCE or UBE". That is to say, if you get mail you didn't ask for and it is either commercial (advertising something), or bulk (duplicate messages have been sent to a large number of other people), or both, then it is spam.
"Antispammers" or "spamfighters" are people (usually mail system administrators, but sometimes just concerned users) who try to stop spam. They do this by teaching people why spam is bad (and ineffective); by advocating laws and suits against it; by encouraging ISPs to kick off spammers; and by implementing technical means to reduce spam, such as filters and DNSBLs.
You can learn a lot about spam, spammers, antispammers, and so forth from the Spam FAQs at and on the newsgroup --FOo at is a pretty informative site too, if you like to know how to stop spam from reaching your inbox and what spam filter and blocker to use.

That's a much better definition than the one in the article itself. Spam is unsolicited commercial email sent in bulk, but it can still be targeted. Getting addresses from a Usenet group about penguins and sending spam about penguin food is still spamming.

What the article misses is that even though the US government said that certain types of spamming is legal, that doesn't mean that it's no longer spam. If a company sends out thousands of emails to customers who gave email addresses for transaction related purposes (and never asked to be on a mailing list) then it's still spam to to send out advertisements to these users. It may be legal spam, but it's spam nevertheless.

The definition in the article is too narrow and goes against long established definitions of UCE.Hagrinas (talk) 00:04, 2 May 2012 (UTC)


spammé — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Request for Reference: Named after Monty Python sketch

Could someone provide a reliable reference for the information that spamming was named after the applicable Monty Python sketch? Information on such word derivations can often be apocryphal, and I'd be much more comfortable if it had an explicit reference in the article. The one link I could find, to a posting, contained several people disputing the etymology. -- Creidieki 4 July 2005 17:28 (UTC)

See the Brad Templeton cite linked from the article:
See also the Net-Abuse FAQ, section 2.4, for citation from Nathan J. Mehl who knew the guy (or possibly, was the guy, ahem) who originally "spammed" Pern MUSH:
Also see the FAQ on the subject of "unintentional spamming" as mentioned in the Alternate meanings section of this article:
In other words, it all started with a jerk who decided to disrupt a role-playing game, by posting "SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM" over and over again, in imitation of the Vikings from Monty Python. --FOo 4 July 2005 17:56 (UTC)

New forms of spam

In the article the paragraph immediately after the beginning of this sub-section (New forms of spam) is not complete. It may have been inadvertently edited out during previous editing sessions. HJKeats 7 July 2005 16:52 (UTC)

Agreed. I reverted to the previous version. Eric 7 July 2005 17:44 (UTC)

Chain email spam

I don't know enough to write this myself, but...
a) is there a name for the emails that say "if you send this to 11 people a video will pop up on your screen"? b) is this spam as such, or does it have another name?

I agree with this. Chain email is annoying and it drains resources in the same manner as regular spam. I consider it spam, just on a more personal level in the sense that you usually know the spammer. -- Kibeth
I think the type of spam discussed in this article mostly has an economic purpose. Also there is an article on Chain letters already, which covers electronic communications as well. (talk) 22:02, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Political Issues Adjustment

The following statement was prejudicial and argumentative and illegitimately cites another Wikipedia page, so I am removing it: "Anti-spam policies may also be a form of disguised censorship, a way to ban access or reference to questioning alternative forums or blogs by an institution. This form of occult censorship is mainly used by private companies when they can not muzzle criticism by legal ways.[44]" Corjay (talk) 13:20, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Geographical origins

Article lists Finland as tying with South Korea for fourth place. The Cisco report cited as source for these numbers does not mention Finland at all, and instead lists Indonesia tying with South Korea. The lower places (6-8) seem to be slightly off too. (talk) 11:01, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

What is a-one for the production of testosterone, Clomid or Nolvadex.

Recently, I received a gobs c many of mad feedback around my desire Nolvadex on Clomid, which I use in all cases (at least in the players of bodybuilding), and as an anti-estrogen cure-all as supporting the good cholesterol, and as a stimulator of testosterone. In any circumstance, most people use Nolvadex and not to act with Clomid ginekomestiey. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:22, 12 June 2013 (UTC)