An apology to that unsung hero, Saint Forwarder.

Through work, I have contact with the General Public. Estimating conservatively, hundreds of people I barely know have my email address. This does not bother me, because 99.9% of them cause me no trouble at all. They use my address for the purpose for which I provided it to them, and then they go away and I never hear from them again. But some of them have my email address, have it in their address books, and then email everyone in their address book as soon as some hoax or glurge or Bill Clinton joke hits their mailbox.

When I get a forward from one of these people, I send off a quick response: “I do not appreciate this sort of email. If you will be forwarding messages to everyone in your address book, please take me out of it. I’m still happy to answer any questions you have about [legitmate subjects X, Y, and Z.]”

You’d think I’d pissed on their hard drive.

“Well I’m so sorry. I thought that this was valuable information everyone could use.” “How did this hurt you? I should be able to send you any worthless crap any time I want. I have a right to free speech! If it’s not actually causing your eyes to bleed, I have done no wrong.” “What, are you some kind of SATANIST that you don’t want to read the touching devotional story I sent to you personally and six hundred other people?” “You are incredibly rude to ask that I, a stranger, not forward email about random topics to you whenever I feel like it.” “How dare you respond to this fake virus warning with anything other than gushing gratitude?” (Obviously, I have corrected spelling, punctuation, and capitalization for the benefit of you, the Gentle Reader.)

Oh, my god, you’re right! I’m a cold-hearted, obnoxious, and mentally deficient not to realize that you are performing a Valuable Public Service! By sending everything that hits your inbox to every email address you can scrounge up, you are Doing the Lord’s Work. You are Spreading a Little Sunshine in an otherwise dreary world. You are Informing the Uninformed, Righting Wrongs, and stirring up Justifiable Moral Outrage with every randomly-capitalized, carriage-return-ridden, misspelling-laden message you pass along to your grateful correspondents!

I should just open up and swallow this endless stream of random-monkey-generated effluent! And I should thank you for taking the time to forward these little dumplings of wisdom to everyone. Do you stop at just the people who you know well? Garsh no! Are you one of those small-minded fools who will only forward such life-saving and inspirational messages to people you know you will appreciate them? Fie! Your personal concern for my personal life brings me to tears.

By the way, keep up the good work with those little one-line comments: “I usually don’t pass this sort of thing along, but this is a great cause!” “Every woman in America should this message!” “Check this out! You won’t be sorry!” Without your insightful commentary, I’d hardly know whether to read this insufferable crap or not! By the way, don’t ever delete all the >>>>>'s–they form such a lovely decorative border and enhance readability! Sure they do! Plus, it’s vital for me to see the header of everybody who has received this message in the past three years. Yup! Let me be next in line to thank you for all the hard work and effort you’ve put forth on my behalf.

Bless you, St. Forwarder! You’ll be in my prayers tonight.

Eeeeek!! I have one of the followers of Saint Forwarder in my office.

Just today, our (not too bright) receptionist took it upon herself to forward a virus warning (that old chestnut about a screen-saver of the Budweiser frogs being a virus that will DELETE EVERY SINGLE FILE FROM YOUR HARD DRIVE, CAUSE SPARKS TO FLY FROM THE DISK DRIVES, MAKE YOUR SPEAKERS BLEED AND POSSIBLY EVEN CAUSE STERILITY AND DEATH!!) to our entire company…about 300 people.

As I surfed on over to to find the link to the UL debunking, I thought to myself “Self…what’s going to happen if you send her this link? Hmmm…I know!! She’s going to turn around and forward the link to everyone she sent the original email to again”.

Sometimes it’s easier to just shut up and press delete.

In the past, when I’ve recieved virus and charity hoax messages, I’ve sent back a message to all recipients of the original message pointing out the hoax, including corroborating information. I point out the misinformation politely, but the originating St. Forwarder is effectively outed as a panicky idiot.

Each time that this has occurred, I never recieve another message from the originating sender, and I hope the same is true of the others in the sender’s address book.

And yes, I do understand that by responding, I’m sending yet another unsolicited email to the mailing list, but by pointing out ignorance rather than perpetuating it, my goal is to lessen future tellings of The Gospel According To Saint Fuckhead.

I used to do that same thing, replying to the sender and all recipients, especially on virus hoaxes. Now I just block the sender, no sense in putting even more strain on the mail servers…

I had someone who was sending no less than 15 of these a day to my hotmail account. That’s not my main account, so that made it slightly less annoying, however I was getting fed up. This was also someone who had taken my e-mail address from another glurge that someone had sent out. I didn’t even know them.

I tried sending the person the snopes link that debunked each one…no use. All I got from that was “well, it could be true, and I was just trying to be helpful”.

So, finally…I got one that was especially sugary-sweet. I hit the Reply All button…and sent out:

Not only did I quit getting e-mails from this person, I also got a number from other people on the distribution list who said thanks, because they were equally annoyed by it.

It won’t work for everyone, especially those who get these to their work addresses, but it sure made me happy.

About 5 months into my current employment, I opened up one of those stupid DON’T OPEN ANY EMAIL WITH THE SUBJECT… phony virus warnings that the support staff tend to forward to everyone and did a reply to all and publicly stated that people who blindly forward virus-warning messages without checking them out should have their hard drives erased, and inserted the link to the applicable snopes page.

Turns out it had been sent NOT merely to our IT Department but to the entire organization’s distribution list.

Turns out it had been sent by the CIO of the parent company that owns the company I work for.

Well I get all this crap from my Mom now. I can’t yell at her and tell her to stop sending stuff to me. Anyway, I don’t get enough where it’s a problem, and usually the subject tells me to delete it right away.

Preach it, Sister Podkayne, preach it!


My biggest annoyance comes from people who never learn to recognize gluge. They forward one of those AOL and Vivid video are merging and will give a 1000$ and a blowjob for each e-mails… blah blah. Dispite the fact the merger doesn’t necessarily have a basis in fact. (AOL and Intel? Don’t you think that might have been on TV). Despite the fact that the marketing plan makes no sense. Despite the fact that the alleged real e-mail with a header from a real lawer has rampant misspellings. Fine, you fell for it the first time. But why, WHY must you send me every single one of these because THIS ONE MIGHT BE TRUE.


Sorry, you hit a nerve.

Well, you could also try sending them this:
My Brother is going to love this forwarded list of lawyer jokes

but they probably won’t “get” it.

(As my brother’s name is Jim, he loved this article when I forwarded it to him).

As our company network bitch (I mean, administrator), the very first time I caught wind of this shit sailing around the office, I personally confronted the main offender. I informed her that any and all virus issues were up to ME to deal with. Since I’m trying to actually educate my users on virus issues, I really didn’t need her spreading false virus hoaxes around.

In addition to that, I now made it so that everyone who gets outside e-mail must give me the domain of the person sending it at (like or whatever. I have it so that only known senders can get e-mail in to my users, and everyone else gets it bounced back. This came after several people ignored my virus pleas and opened up junk mail.

It is my dream to see a day when no one feels it’s necesary to forward this shit all over the world. I’m really hoping it’s a trend that is leaving soon.


I use those headers to determine which people have offended by forwarding, and I reply only to the offenders. I include links to Snopes, along with excerpts, describing just WHY AOL isn’t going to pay everyone to forward this email. If something’s been forwarded five times, for instance, I’ll send my reply to each of the five forwarders…and not to everyone on each recipient list.

By Zette

Crack that whip, baby! You sound more like a Network Goddess to me? What do your offerings consist of? New servers and hubs and T-lines that don’t go down? :smiley:

My favorite (if that is the proper word) forward to receive are the ones that promise something will pop up on the screen after you forward it to a bajillion people.

The first time I saw the forward, it said it was a movie of the Taco-Bell dog. Then it morphed into a “free coupon will print on your printer” or something like that. There have been a couple more just like it.

Of course, there is no executable code or movie file or anything attached that would actually be able to do this. (Call the Vatican! It is a miracle from St. Forwarder!)

I like to respond something to the effect of “Didn’t happen, did it? SUCKER!”

I use to include technical reasons why but now I have truncated it to only the verbal abuse. It has pretty much the same effect without the excess typing.



Sorry to hijack, but I just wanted to mention that “Monkey Dumplings of Wisdom” would be a great name for a band.


Personally I just send in return a blank e-mail with “unsubscribe” as the subject header. It works surprisingly well, although you may have to explain to a few of the more egregious cretins what it means.


There. I now have the following standard response:

(subject:) Patrick’s standard reply to forwarded shit

I suggest that you urgently read the following in reply to your witty and/or useful and/or heartwrenching forward:



Although it may not be true these days, it’s still good to include the admonishment that “each message you forward costs the net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.”

Got a cite for that?

I feel your pain!! I’m a Network Admin myself and went through a time of great suffering with this well-meaning but infuriating crap. I finally publicly chastised The Great Spamero in a “Everyone” message to educate about this stuff. I included the snopes, urbanlegends and (espicially for the virus stuff)the NAV hoax center links.

I guess I’m pretty fortunate, because it’s been pretty quiet since then. People send their virus warnings to me instead of the whole network. My little cross to bear.

(I was afraid I came off as i bit of a cranky asshole in that email, but the CEO gave me his undying blessing).