A lame, pissy rant about people who dump their friends' address books into their own.

So I’m checking my e-mail this morning. I usually do it first thing in the morning to see if there are any messages from professors or the station that I need to act on during the day. Sometimes there are, sometimes there aren’t. I also get messages from family and friends that I want to read.

I have no problems with any of this. This morning, however, was the last straw. As I said, I was checking my e-mail because I’m expecting something from a classmate. That message wasn’t there, but tucked into my “Bulk” folder was a HUGE message from some guy whom I don’t know, but whom I know is a friend of an acquaintance who sends me mail. It was a short text message with glurgy pictures attached.

Now, I don’t know what planet this guy comes from, but where I live it’s considered rude to dump a third party’s mailing list into your own address book, especially when you don’t know the people on that list. For all this guy knows, I’m our mutual acquaintance’s mother or minister or someone who just doesn’t give a shit. (For the record, I’m in that last category.)

My mother did that to me once, before I figured out how to use blind copy. She dumped my friends into her address book and started sending them glurge. When my mother sends glurge, she doesn’t send out one message at a time, she sends 'em out by the dozens. Now, I like my friends and I want to keep them. I e-mailed my mother to ask her to take those names out. She was confused before I explained that I’d gotten a few e-mails complaining about unwanted mail from a woman they didn’t know.

So, if I can suggest a good rule of thumb: If you would send a personal letter to this person, go ahead and add that person’s name to your address book. But if you wouldn’t, don’t bother. Or, if your self-esteem depends on the number of names in your address book, at least introduce yourself and ask me if it’s okay. That’s not unreasonable, is it?


I get that kind of stuff from a grandmother I barely know. She composes massive e-mails about somebody she knows, or maybe great uncle Jeb from Podunk, or some lousy “Praise God for all our blessings” foreward, and sends it to about a hundred people. None of whom I know.

Since these are the only e-mails I get from her, I just delete them out-of-hand, but it’s still annoying as Hell.

A while ago I got a fwd from someone I didn’t know. I was already in a bad mood so I sent her a nasty e-mail telling her to never do it again. She replied saying she’d got my e-mail off another fwd (turns out she’s a friend, of a friend of a friend), and she was really really sorry. I felt kind of guilty so I apologised and we ended up getting friendly and exchanging e-mails for a while! And she never DID send me another fwd…

Parents do this and it’s very annoying. Why can’t people learn to use the BC header?? I don’t want my email address on a hundred complete stranger’s MS Outlook. It just invites viruses and spam.

Futile Gesture, you hit it right on the money. I don’t use Outlook for mail (viruses being the principal reason), but I know that others do, especially at work. The ONLY time I got hit with a virus was in a similar situation – some idiot put me in an address book and I got a virus (and a ton of religious glurge) for my trouble.

The other thing (and this is what pissed me off this morning) is that it’s vaguely unsettling if not downright creepy to get personal mail from someone I don’t know (especially a man I don’t know). It’s not THAT big a deal, at least in the grander scheme of things, but I don’t know what that person’s intentions are. For all I know, his intentions could be honorable, or not. Either way, I am just not comfortable with the whole proposition.


If you don’t want to be mean and flame the clueless, or, if you don’t want to go through the bother of charitably educating the clueless, then simply put the offender on your ‘block sender’ filter (available in your email program, or your ISP’s email controls).


“Flame 'em 'til their 'puter crashes and burns!”

Nothing pisses me off more than receiving round robins with a list of all the addresses its been sent to proudly displayed at the beginning. It just tells me that my address is also being circulated in this way.

However, the addresses may not have been intentionally added to someone else’s address book.

I recently noticed that after upgrading to a newer version of Outlook Express the computer was automatically adding the address of the sender of any email I received to my address book - including the stuff arriving to an address that I only give out where there is a risk of being spammed.

After realising what was going on, and disabling the function, I spent many a happy hour deleting all the superfluous entries such as “penisextensions@underageteenanimalfuckers.ru” etc. from my address book… :rolleyes:

A few years back, one of my colleagues used to get a weekly email from a guy he didn’t know. The guy had sad masochistic tendencies and used to detail what he got up to at the weekends in great detail, and would include links to pictures …

One Monday morning, my colleague received the latest adventure, which described getting a Prince Albert, with step by step pictures. He called me over and while we were getting grossed out yet fascinated, our boss walked in. He had a look at the pictures and squirmed a lot too, then asked who the email was from. My colleague explained it was someone he didn’t know who had obviously copied his email from a mailing list, but his name was X.

The name was familiar to our boss. Turns out he was an external examiner on one of the degrees our department ran, and also was booked to give a seminar a couple weeks later.

Of course, the email was circulated among some colleagues and there was full attendance at a very boring talk on C++ standards. At the end no one had any questions - the only thing we really wanted to ask we couldn’t!

Same as trabi: I inadvertantly ended up in this situation when my email-newbie uncle forwarded a hoax virus warning to everyone in his address book. I replied to all saying that it was a hoax, and providing a link to a web page that proved it. Unfortunately, the settings on my recently upgraded Outlook Express were defaulted to “add all recipients to address book” - I ended up with about 100 total strangers in my address book. Luckily I’m not the sort to send glurge, so I deleted them all, but I only found out about a month later and was initially mystified as to what had happened.