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Why shouldn't I spam?

Here's a post that I wrote to a forum that I very occasionally contribute to - I thought it was worth sharing the words a little wider as it help give a bit of a deeper insight into the world of internet moderation, security, rules and advise for the majority of people who are users and don't really need to be fully aware of these things. The post was following up a slightly aggressive young lad who needed a few analogies to help him appreciate the effects of spamming should he have chosen to start doing so.

I'm just an ordinary member of this forum ... but I do have admin / moderator rights elsewhere. So I can tell you the sort of things I go through when I see (or are informed of) abuses of what the forum's intended for, and I cannot tell you what or how the moderators and admins here would differ from that. But it can give you a general insight.

Quote: ""Heh, Im only 17. I dont pay for the internet. So I havnt read the ToS. Is there anywhere online that I could read that? And is spam considered illegal or abusive?""

You're using someone else's service, so you could get them into trouble, and yourself into trouble with them. Perhaps a parent, perhaps a school / college. And wouldn't it be a shame if you upset them and they took away your access / course of study. At 17, you're old enough to drive in most countries, and even though it might not be legal, to obtain drink. Would "I''m just a 17 year old kid and I didn't actually buy this car myself" be enough of an excuse for someone left dead at the roadside if you hit them while driving under the influence? Aren't you allowed to sign up and die in Iraq for your country at 17? So why do you think you might not be responsible for your own activities on line?

But, seriously, spamming isn't in the same league. I'm personally very used to deleting spam and indeed I take quite a lenient view of what is and isn't spam. That's not the case with certain of the moderators here, who have stated that they have deleted complete posts (and I suspect banned members) because a post include an advert for the site/services of the poster within their message. I feel that's draconian, but it's the site owner's ultimate choice and right to have such a policy. That's a 'civil' matter - not a 'criminal' one.

As something gets to be a more obvious nuisance, and/or becomes sustained, the owners and moderators have other tools they can use and, yes, they do have elements of information that allow them to trace you. At a certain point - for example if you were posting porn that was visible to minors - your activities would move from 'civil' to 'criminal'. And I would imagine that certain activities from you would trigger certain actions in the owners and other site visitors, and that certain activities such as posting up of unsuitable material might result in reports going back through ISPs, and through various legal authorities.

Does this happen? Yes, it does. I can tell you first and second hand stories (not third nor fourth hand, you'll note) of an ISP threatening to cut off a service because of an assumed spamming incident that actually involved a single email message, of a major commercial company taking someone to court (but then settling for a payment of thousands of dollars) for copyright violation, and of threats of immediate action against a web site owner unless certain activities were ceased with immediate effect.

In summary, it's in your interest NOT to start spamming to see what will happen.
(written 2006-11-13, updated 2009-01-01)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G903 - Well House Consultants - Running and moderating forums and social media sites
  [22] Falling out over the silliest things - (2004-08-21)
  [29] Silence is Golden - (2004-08-26)
  [115] Expiration dates or times on web pages - (2004-11-12)
  [130] Spelling and grammar - (2004-11-25)
  [204] The confidence to allow public comments - (2005-02-06)
  [231] Feedback as lifeblood - (2005-02-28)
  [248] Use me, but use me effectively - (2005-03-16)
  [424] How not to run a forum - (2005-08-24)
  [516] Open source questions? Anyone can ask. - (2005-12-03)
  [651] Please Register with Opentalk - but just once! - (2006-03-19)
  [806] Check your user is human. Have him retype a word in a graphic - (2006-07-17)
  [828] Freedom of speech and freedom to post - (2006-08-10)
  [841] Forum help - a push in the right direction - (2006-08-21)
  [919] Freedom for X is denial of privacy for Y - (2006-11-09)
  [948] Running an on line campaign - (2006-11-27)
  [1088] Why use BBC code not HTML? - (2007-02-21)
  [1190] Save the Forum - A regular clean sweep - (2007-05-17)
  [1362] No Thank You - (2007-09-23)
  [1472] The Horse goes on and on - (2007-12-15)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1523] Ive just received an email from myself. Should I be worried? - (2008-01-29)
  [1532] Comment spam blocked. Please comment via Forums - (2008-02-05)
  [1539] A forum is not always the best vehicle - (2008-02-14)
  [1563] Guidlines for posting on a forum - (2008-03-04)
  [1569] I dont care - goodbye - (2008-03-09)
  [1578] Please don't shout at me! - (2008-03-16)
  [1595] First Great Western Weekend - (2008-03-30)
  [1678] Software - changes and delays. But courses must run on time! - (2008-06-15)
  [1759] While the world sleeps ... - (2008-08-19)
  [1923] Making it all worthwhile - (2008-12-04)
  [1972] Pettifog and forum boards away from public view - (2009-01-03)
  [2103] Ask the Tutor - Open Source forum - (2009-03-25)
  [2116] Why do we delay new forum members through authorisation? - (2009-04-03)
  [2156] Stopping forum spam - control of the signup process - (2009-05-04)
  [2162] Admins thoughts on banning a member from a forum - (2009-05-09)
  [2177] Preventing forum spam - checks at sign up - (2009-05-12)
  [2254] Forum membership - a privilege not a right - (2009-06-22)
  [2386] Computing under the influence of alcohol - (2009-08-29)
  [2526] A reluctance to move from old shoes to new - (2009-12-05)
  [2527] Flying tonight - (2009-12-05)
  [2569] How to run a successful online poll / petition / survey / consultation - (2010-01-10)
  [2781] The 500 pound question to get you started - (2010-05-26)
  [2820] Netiquette for forum newcomers - (2010-06-20)
  [3479] Practical Extraction and Reporting - using Python and Extreme Programming - (2011-10-14)
  [3910] Identifying your real customers and keeping them well informed fast - (2012-11-02)
  [4017] Acceptable User Policy / vexatious interacter - (2013-02-24)
  [4025] Backups, Codebase, Strategy and more - dealing with forum incidents - (2013-03-03)
  [4065] Handling requests to a forum - the background process - (2013-04-17)
  [4234] Change to Libel and Defamation laws from 1st January 2014 - (2013-12-31)
  [4239] Facebook marketing - early experiences - (2014-01-19)
  [4283] Can a legitimate forum post become illegal a year later? - (2014-07-11)
  [4307] Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache server - (2014-09-27)
  [4315] Welcoming genuine forum posters quickly - but turning away off topic advertisers - (2014-11-16)
  [4403] The unbalanced relationship between customer and provider - (2015-01-21)
  [4492] Almost so wrong, but perhaps it's right for some? - (2015-05-11)


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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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