Tech Geekers vs Spammers

By Xah Lee. Date:

Recall that Spy vs Spy was a popular comic by Antonio Prohias that appears in Mad magazine.

spy vs spy spy vs spy spy vs spy
Covers of “Spy vs Spy”.

The theme being two archenemic spies, colored one white and one black, who better each other on schemes and technologies. One creates a voice-recognition missile, then the other invents a voice-exchanging device. The final frame of the comic would have the second spy shrieking with mirth and a victory pose over the mishaps of the other. Turn to the next installment and the winner and loser are reversed: We see one spy excitedly plans a booby trap. When he enters the other spy's house to install the bomb, he got blown up because the other spy has spied on his scheme. Again the hilariously smug victory pose over the misfortune of the other.

Their fight is endless. Over and over we read with glee over the silly stratagems and incredible technologies they devise that befall on themselves.

As i sit here and read the technology geeking morons fighting with spammers.


The Worsening of Email Spams

The tech geekers, due to utter ignorance of sociology and power-struggling nature of males, have long been fighting with the spammer in the very beginning, by tech battle. That is, the tech geekers devise technological ways to defeat spammers, while, the spammers, do exactly the same: they use more technology to thwart the tech geeker's ruse. (For example, tech geekers have black lists, honey pots, web email-harvesting traps, bayesian filtering et al, while the spammers have email havesters, spam farm, forged header, et al.) Long story short, in mid 1990s spam is just a annoyance that accounts perhaps 1% of email traffic, but today it is 90% of email traffic, and i'm getting tens of spams in my inbox per day, most of which are either entirely image based or have lots of Joe-Bloke rube texts that are very difficult to distinguish from a Joe-Bloke email. (in my spam mail box, at one period ~2003 i actually receive literally thousands of spams per day (they sent randomly generated email addresses to my domain name), and since about 2004, i started to lose real emails because of spam.

Newsgroup Noise

Now, let's consider newsgroups. Every tech geeker knows about newsgroups. Now, newsgroups software have “kill file” feature from the very early beginning. Newsgroups have been around for what, 30 years? With each generation of newsgroup clients, the kill-file feature or otherwise various mark-up mark-down features get better and better all the time. But has any of these features abated the so-called “trolls” or “noise” in newsgroups? or, have they reduced or eased the fights and hostilities in newsgroups? Frankly, the noises, fights, troll-cryings only increased and in fact today you can not go by passing a few days without hearing a troll cry or fight broke out. What is wrong? Again, due to the tech geeker's total ignorance in sociology, they perceived wrong problems, and their actions only exacerbated the situation.