Against The Guy Who Keeps Forwarding Me Bullshit Emails

I have this friend who is a well-regarded member of his profession, but the man has a mental age of about 12. He is completely unable to think critically about the world around him, but unfortunately is quite competent when it comes to finding and forwarding emails that are full of nonsense. I think we all know someone like this.

He is conservative and a supporter of our esteemed President. Thus, about every 20 minutes he shotgun-forwards a message containing various slanderous charges against John Kerry and Democrats in general. My favorite was the one claiming Bill Clinton forced Israel to release a bus-bomber named Mohamed Atta from prison, so 9/11 was Clinton’s fault. This tale was corrected a few days after 9/11 when someone discovered that the bus-bomber Atta and the 9/11 Atta were two different guys. When I brought this to my friend’s attention, he said, “Hey, you’re taking it too seriously. I’m just joking around.” Yeah, I’m fucking dying laughing, you old pile of mashed potatoes.

The latest one was a list of great things old people do or have done, and bad things young people do or have done. It said that old people aren’t the ones who took God out of the schools. Actually, the Lemon decision, which is the most important one related to religion in schools, was made by the Supreme Court in 1971. The birthdates of the majority in that case ranged from 1886 (Hugo Black) to 1917 (Byron White), so they would be from 87 to 118 years old today, if they hadn’t all died of old age already. But hey, he’s only joking around.

So much for an informed electorate. What really pisses me off is that I know he’ll vote, and I know who he’ll vote for, and I know that his vote will cancel out my vote. Long live democracy.

To anonymous,
Sometimes I feel like I might puke if I see one more animated gif. angel, JC, heart or bear. I appreciate all of the prayers and being included in your thoughts and contacts list, God knows I can use all the help I can get and I think you’re a nice person, but I’m a bit offended by the Conservative Christian source of these email chains sometimes. It all just has that “church lady” touch to it that really weirds me out (shudder).
Not your fault, you have the best of intentions. I can choose to read it or not.

I had the exact same problem. This self-proclaimed pundit of the people would forward the spam-aganda to everybody in his address book, usually adding his own “zinger” at the top to show everybody how on top of the political scene he is, or to chide people for endorsing/voting for/thinking like the target of the political piece.

I got him to stop, or at least stop sending them to me, by “replying to all” to his messages with a brief statement about checking the facts, about the foolishness of signing your name to something without bothering to see if its true, and then links to cites debunking the message.

Me calling him on it privately only got the “it was just for fun” defense. Me sending it to everybody on his distribution list (friends, family, coworkers) has resulted in no further emails polluting my inbox as well as hopefully keeping the other receivers from further spreading disinformation. Either he’s doing his own fact checking now, or he just took me off his list – either way I’m happy.


I had one who right after 9-11 kept sending me e-mails about the 5,000 or 20, Jews who left the WTC right before the attack (or didn’t come), who talked about all the Muslim bias he was getting every day and how every American hated Muslims (including me!), how Muslims were the One True Race (?), ad nauseum.

ElectricZ has the right answer to this sort of thing: “Reply To All” with a brief, unemotional debunking, a link to, say, Snopes, and a polite request to refrain from forwarding anything else without checking it first.

I can tell you, it works wonderfully well at reducing sludge. :smiley:

I usually “Reply to All” with a link to and a comment to use it, love it. Gets the point across right quick to all involved. Those few mailings that do get sent to me now have much shorter cc: lists.

Ihe emails I was getting were more in the feel-good glurge crap than they were political screeds, so I took a different approach. They were mostly things about angels and children with terminal diseases showing great courage, that kind of thing.

Politely asking the sender to not be included on the to: list for things like that didn’t work. Politely replying to all didn’t work either.

Pointing out that the dying kid in the email was now 27 and working as a stock broker didn’t work, even with a bevy of snopes links. In fact I think that may have been taken as a sign of weakness and they thought that if they sent me enough this crap they’d get me to convert to whatever it was that people who forward that crap want you to convert to.

So I took their stories, twisting them around so that the angels became bent on destroying all humanity, the innocent children became sadistic monsters, and the guys who were killed in 'nam staggered back from their graves as zombies, thirsting only for vengance against those who had wronged them in life, and then I sent those out to everyone on the lists.

That worked beautifully. After three or four of my glurge adaptations, they stopped sending them to me. They still send them to each other, but I don’t get them anymore.

I actually kind of miss them. Taking a “good” story and turning it “evil” is a very fun writing excercise.

I’ve tried the “Reply to All” Snopes links, but my point is that this guy (and evidently most of the people on his mailing list) are impervious to the facts. The funny thing is that every single thing the guy sends me has been debunked on Snopes. It’s as if he actually gets his info directly from Snopes and ignores the commentary, thinking instead that it is just a repository for interesting facts.

However, I am most intrigued by buckgully’s strategy, and I plan to employ it at the soonest appropriate time.

In that case:

Dear friend,

Although I value our friendship, I will no longer accept email from you. Your email address is now blocked. I would be happy to continue our correspondence through the postal service.


Buckgully, you are a goddam genius!!! I am going to try your methods, since nothing else has worked for me.

Do you have any samples, with original glurge for comparison? If you do, lay ‘em on me! That just sounds so freakin’ cool!

I read this thread yesterday. This morning, my favorite co-worker forwarded a widely circulated e-mail to me about the dangers of dioxin in plastic food containers - all in red font.

Here’s where you people come in…previously, I would merely delete the glurge and be happy with the knowledge that I had not forwarded the misguided putrescence of fact. Before, that was enough to satisfy me.

But this morning was different. I’m sick and tired of the highly educated people in my department (I work in an academic library) warning me of the dangers of using a cell phone while pumping gas, kidnappers lurking under my rear tire, and microwaving food in plastic containers. The spirit of this thread and general Doper-ness overcame me, and I did something I’ve never done before - I hit “Reply to All.”

I pasted in the linky-link.

Like I said, she’s one of my favortie co-workers, so I kinda feel bad for semi-humiliating her. But goddamnit, the misinformation must end! Especially since we’re an academic library, the custodians of information fer crissakes!

Oh yeah, and since this is the pit - FUCK!

I had to do the “reply to all” thing in order to get my sister-in-law to quit sending me the debunked stories. I tried many polite “nope, not true; here’s the Snopes link” private emails that didn’t work. Then I got curt and deliberately publicly humiliated her. No clue if she just stopped sending them or just took me off her list.


Make some of these evil for us, pleeeeease?

I feel for you - My auntie used to do this until I sent her a snopes link letting her know one of the hate-filled emails sent to me was full of it.