Posts Tagged ‘spam’

Not that long ago I was complaining about unsolicited spam via Second Life residents… well it seemed very topical and apt that I just came across this story about people receiving a hefty fine for email spamming, under New Zealand law: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0812/S00291.htm .

What I’d like to know is how much they actually made from the spamming – and whether the money was made from people paying them to spam, or from people replying to the spam with money (or a mixture of both). I came across a far too cryptic sentence in one of the 4 or so news reports I encountered that said: “Trading under the name “Sancash”, the men are accused of sending more then 2 million unsolicited messages in a three month period last year. In that time, $1.6 million was paid to Lance Atkinson.  He then paid affiliates.” Taken from this version: http://www.3news.co.nz/News/NZ-spammer-hit-with-100000-penalty/tabid/423/articleID/85305/Default.aspx?_cobr=MSN . I’m not sure how to read that, but either way you’re looking at a lot of profit, right?

I will follow the story as it progresses – which it will do considering the other parties who have chosen to take it to court – and will report on it as I hear about it here, because I know I’m not the only one who has had enough of the spam-merchants.

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Is it just me or has SL got a lot more spammy lately? In the space of 24 hours I got hit with this offline IM from someone I’ve never met:

[2:13] Zilver DeCuir: Hi! Sorry if im bothering you, but my friend is having a sale on skins, would you mind if i sendt you a notecard with some info?

To which I repled “Yes I do mind”. And this conversation in-world:

[22:54]  cc Beverly: hi
[22:54]  cc Beverly: can i please have some money
[22:55]  Landsend Korobase: why would I give you money?
[22:55]  cc Beverly: bc
[22:55]  Landsend Korobase: That’s the best you can come up with?
[22:56]  Landsend Korobase: you have absolutely no skills..?

They didn’t reply, no doubt trying for the next sucker. Let me add, that second “girl” was an August account, not a noobie.

I can’t remember the last time I got this sort of unsolicited garbage – I’ve been hit with these sort of things only from people I wrongly added to my friends list, not from complete strangers like that. Then suddenly two in one day. Is it just me..?

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Gestures and Spam

Ahh the joy of SL gestures. At the push of a button you can convey a happy noise, a funny phrase with in-joke groundings, an emotion, a whatever… but why would you. No really, why would you. SL is principally about communication for most of us – we type what we want to share and we read what people share back, so why would you take a stock phrase and use it over and over instead of communicating in a genuine and sincere and original manner? Why not push yourself just that little bit more to come up with a personalised and clever sentence instead of a button push?

I include in my frustration the green spam you get from people’s body parts when they are clicked, and toys when they are clicked, again pre-created phrases that fill the screen and add essentially nothing at all to the conversation. You can’t take credit for the cleverness of the phrases most times, and even when you did come up with them originally why use them over and over..?

There is novelty value in such things, but that’s the point right: novelty. Once it’s no longer new, where’s the attraction? There’s also the in-group aspect of some gestures, such as “everyone in our group uses and understands this gesture, it’s part of who we are”, which again, fine to an extent, but even this gets quickly tiring and becomes spam that you wish your eyes didn’t have to bother with.

The clubs full of people shouting out hoo and airhorn are in the same category as green spam to me, they convey no information or amusement. But maybe that’s just me, guess it must be. I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who goes “so that’s why we keep hitting that button for that sentence, I get it now!”. Having said that, I am not 100% innocent myself, I use hoo and aah now and then. But I always prefer to type “great song” or “tune” or “I love this one” or “hi honey” or “what the hell, why are you a giant green penis in a frock”. It’s good to be specific and personal. Don’t you think..?

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To me, SL is a haven of liberty – in the libertarian sense not the anarchist sense. So part of it’s beauty is the freedom to talk about things and use words that are deemed outside of the societally accepted range of much less liberal RLs. Stay with me, I’m getting there :p There are two main speaking aspects in which I enjoy this freedom: Naughty words and adult talk. I revel extensively in both just because I can – being a mummy and a respected person in RL means I have to contain my freedoms a lot and conform. But in SL I get to just let loose a bit, and god does it feel good. So I want to reflect a bit of these freedoms and where I draw the line in the SL context, cause yes, even I do draw a line somewhere.

First off, naughty words: Never forget that words only cause offence if you let them, they are merely syllables and sounds, there is nothing inherently offensive in any word in existence. Any offence is caused because of your belief system and your historical context for those words. Choose any word and you’ll see what I mean. What does matter is the intent of the speaker, if the word is used entirely innocently or with malice, that is what is key. Even then, the word is not evil, the person using it is. No word. No word, ever. Should be banned. Ever. I want to look at some of the words used in SL that cause the most fuss despite it’s apparently liberal basis. And yes I will have to arbitrarily censor myself throughout because this is a public blog post.

C*nt is one of my favourites, it’s so visceral, so immediate, and has a lovely strength to the sound of it. Go on, say it out loud now, feel the way your nose slightly raises, your mouth opens wide in the middle of it, then rounds off in the “t” that leaves a word hanging. And you know what really gets me is it’s the women who find this word ugly and offensive. Come on, it’s just another word for your, well, c*nt, and what is wrong with that piece of the anatomy after all..?

F*ck and slut have a similar appeal, one word punchy sounds that linger as the end consonant rounds off. They are almost beautiful. And yet again, their purest meaning is not offensive, since when is sex and having sex a bad thing..? Well I know since when, since the Victorian times at least, but come on, let’s grow up a little. SL is an 18+ world, you should be able to use whatever words ya like.

There are words like n*gger etc that are far more often than not said with ill intent, but even then the sayer is what matters. One coloured person calling another coloured person a n*gger is not meant to offend. The context is key.

Now, what about adult talk, by which I mean talking about sex, violence and other such R18 topics. SL should be a place where we can freely discuss all such matters too, without being banned or told off. Having said that, there is a line here. Mostly it’s a matter of excessive sexual content tends to belong in IMs, but even then SL lets you mute people; if you don’t like what you’re hearing you can respond, reason with them, or mute them. Again, the intent behind the speaker is usually key – they may not mean offense, or they may be driven by pure griefing malice.

But you know what I find most offensive? Not the swearing, not the adult talk, those I can cope with. The thing that really annoys me is the green spam: the tail pulling, biting, flea baths, xcite, sexy knees, noobie dolls, plushies, the list feels endless. Lazy button pushing that covers your screen with pointless crap. Gestures are bad too but for some reason the green crap makes me want to strangle someone. Right, I’ve decided it annoys me so much I’m going to write a post just about it after this one, that’ll make me feel better.

So bring on the swears, bring on the naughties, we’re all adults we’ll cope just fine. Amen.

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