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9.16 Thwarting Email Spam

In these last days of the Usenet, commercial vultures are hanging about and grepping through news like crazy to find email addresses they can foist off their scams and products to. As a reaction to this, many people have started putting nonsense addresses into their From lines. I think this is counterproductive—it makes it difficult for people to send you legitimate mail in response to things you write, as well as making it difficult to see who wrote what. This rewriting may perhaps be a bigger menace than the unsolicited commercial email itself in the end.

The biggest problem I have with email spam is that it comes in under false pretenses. I press g and Gnus merrily informs me that I have 10 new emails. I say “Golly gee! Happy is me!” and select the mail group, only to find two pyramid schemes, seven advertisements (“New! Miracle tonic for growing full, lustrous hair on your toes!”) and one mail asking me to repent and find some god.

This is annoying. Here's what you can do about it.