Brad Feld

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Spam is ruining the english language

Jun 04, 2004
Category Technology

I hate spam (who doesn’t). While I was running this morning, it dawned on me that spam was ruining the english language. “Huh – you ask?”

I noticed a handful of emails yesterday that had perversions of cuss words (I grew up in Texas – we called them “cusses”, not swears or curses.) All of a sudden, one of my partners is saying “shite” instead of “shit” and I’m seeing “f*ck”, “fcuk“, and “b*st*d” in casual emails to me. Oh – and there’s a preponderance of “frig”-related words (frig, friggin, frigging).

A simple spam blocking technique is to block messages with “dirty words”. Many people (me included) have no ability to eliminate profanity from their thoughts (and subsequently what comes out of their mouths or off their fingers). My mom tried to help solve this problem when I was young, but she failed, and now she’s proud of my shameless cussing (ok – I’ve convinced myself of that – maybe she just ignores me.) So – now critical email isn’t getting through because spam filters can’t figure out that when I type something like “That idea is a pile of shit.” that I mean “What a bad idea”. Or – when I type “fucking awesome man!” I’m simply trying to emphasize how excited I am.

Hence – the downfall of the english language. We have to either (a) go back to using non-profane adjectives, nouns, and verbs, (b) pervert the cusses, or (c) improve the spam filters.

Damn spam.