Monty Python once observed that you can't have egg, bacon, Spam and sausage without the Spam; it is becoming distressingly apparent that we can't have Usenet without small-s spam either.

It has gotten to the point that a new offline reader for Usenet newsgroups, offered by Dvorak Development, now offers switchable spam filtration, trained to spot anything posted to too many newsgroups at once and to killfile spammers on contact.

In the best of all possible worlds, this sort of thing would not be necessary, mostly because in the best of all possible worlds, people would not be (1) greedy for quick bucks with no discernible effort and (2) gullible enough to think such things would actually be forthcoming. While this may be the most expensive of all possible worlds, it's far from the best, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't catch some lame rehash of the Dave Rhodes scam or something of comparably low quality.

Of course, in net.context, coming out against spam is rather like political candidates coming out against crime — shameless posturing, nothing more. I don't claim to be doing anything more than that here. On the other hand, if Dvorak comes up with something that will actually kill, not just killfile, spammers, their product will easily be worth ten, a hundred, a thousand times its asking price. I doubt seriously they're working on such a thing — programmers tend not to be particularly bloodthirsty, except during beta testing — but I can dream, can't I?

The Vent

#13
9 July 1996

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