Internet Guidelines for the Cyberspace Greenhorn


I wish people would think before they hit the forward button.  The following guidelines should help before you send that next critical e-mail to your friends ensuring  "They don't miss out on this one time opportunity!" ;-)

Before I get my share of flaming e-mails stating that I didn't develop these guidelines let me point out "I didn't write this. It was culled from others on UseNet.  If you have to ask "What is Usenet?"  You probably need to read this entire page and then print it and use it for a reference.

Be Smart, use sense and conserve network bandwidth and your friends and acquaintances time.  Remember bits and bytes have feelings too and don't squander them on pointless crap.



1. Big companies don't do business via chain letter. Bill Gates is not giving you $1000, and Disney is not giving you a free vacation. There is no baby food company issuing class-action checks. You can relax; there is no need to pass it on "just in case it's true". Furthermore, just because someone said in the message, four generations back, that "we checked it out and it's legit", does not actually make it true.

2. There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is waking up in a bathtub full of ice, even if a friend of a friend swears it happened to their cousin. If you are hell bent on believing the kidney-theft ring
stories, please see: <http://urbanlegends.tqn.com/library/weekly/aa062997.htm> And I quote: "The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for actual victims of organ thieves to come forward and tell their stories. None have." That's "none" as in "zero". Not even your friend's cousin.

3. Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe. And even if they do, we all have it. And even if you don't, you can get a copy at: <http://www.bl.net/forwards/cookie.html> Then, if you make the recipe, decide the cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass the recipe on.

4. We all know all 500 ways to drive your roommates crazy, irritate co-workers gross out bathroom stall neighbors and creep out people on an elevator. We also know exactly how many engineers, college students, Usenet posters and people from each and every world ethnicity it takes to change a light bulb

5. Even if the latest NASA rocket disaster(s) DID contain plutonium that went to particulate over the eastern seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would reach the public via an AOL chain-letter?

6. There is no "Good Times" virus. In fact, you should never, ever, ever forward any email containing any virus warning unless you first confirm it at an actual site of an actual company that actually deals with virii. Try: <http://www.norton.com  or http://www.av.ibm.com/>  And even then, don't forward it. We don't care.

7. If your CC: list is regularly longer than the actual content of your message, you're probably going to Hell.

8. And speaking of attachments, the rest of the world does not own a computer just like yours.  AVI's can be generated with an infinite number of CODEC's, and just because you get a kick out of watching a fake CNN recording of the President getting a hummer on YOUR machine doesn't automatically mean that the file will be readable by all of the recipients on your CC list.  Same goes for BMP files.  If I see one more postage stamp with Clinton behind bars, someone's going to die. Add to that the fact that attachments like this take an eternity to download from a standard e-mail account and take up wads of space in the mailbox, and you might begin to see the point.  If not, I'll happily return everything you send three or four times until you do.  If the size of your message is in double digits, you're making a mistake.

9. Same goes for .EXE files.  Contrary to what Mr. Gates tells you, the entire world hasn't bought the crap he's selling.

10. If you still absolutely MUST forward that 10th-generation message from a friend, at least have the decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone else who's received it over the last 6 months. It sure wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the ">" that begin each line.  Besides, if it has gone around that many times - we've probably already seen it.

11. Craig Shergold in England is not dying of cancer or anything else at this time and would like everyone to stop sending him get-well cards. He apparently is also no longer a "little boy" either.

12. I don't care how fat you are or how quickly you made money. If you lost weight, make lots of money, and read lots of spam, good for you. Keep it to yourself.  You shouldn't be proud of being a person formally known as fat.  I bet you still have stretch marks anyway.  If I want that kind of tripe I'll watch TV at 3 a.m. and buy tapes on real estate and on placing "tiny classified ads".

13. If you feel compelled to start a message with, "Sorry for the spam", don't send the message.

14. The odds of you being one of the first people to "discover" how a ring of clever phreaks are calling people on the phone posing as Bell (Pacific, Atlantic) employees checking line trouble and having them punch a few keys to "give them a hand" in fixing some line trouble are approximately 0, even for large values of 0.

15.  Two words.  Spell Check.


Updated: December 29, 1998

Note: I am uncertain as to who actually initiated this set of guidelines but it has been added to by others to the current state you find here.  If you have other rules that you think should be included please send these to me and I will post those that are appropriate.