Section 8 - About Antispammers

8.1 Why do anti-spammers fight spam?

There's no collective answer to this - different people will have different motivations. However, three of the most common ones are:

  1. Fear. We've calculated our email boxes will become useless if spam becomes a widespread marketing method, and we don't like the idea.
  2. Anger. We don't like people stealing our computer resources and so we're going to defend ourselves.
  3. Altruism. We want to make the Internet a better place.

8.2 Aren't anti-spammers just a load of anti-business communists?

No. Some anti-spammers own businesses, and most of the rest work for businesses. Anti-spammers are generally NOT anti-business. In fact, many anti-spammers happen to believe that businesses that cannot survive without stealing the computing resources of others (i.e. spamming) should go the way of the dodo. It's called "capitalism".

8.3 Aren't anti-spammers just a load of anti-commerce net-nazis?

See 8.2 above.

8.4 Don't anti-spammers just want to control email on the Internet?

No. Controlling all email on the Internet, apart from being a practical impossibility due to the distributed nature of the system, would be an extremely big job to undertake purely to satiate a few egos.

8.5 Why don't anti-spammers spend their time stamping out porn instead?

Porn isn't what gets anti-spammers hot-under-the-collar; spam is. Anti-spammers are drawn from a surprising cross-section of society and you'll find that they hold wildly divergent views about the contentious issues of the day, pornography included. However, they are drawn together by the simple opinion that spam endangers the email system, which they really rather like.

8.6 Why don't you anti-spammers just get a life?

We have lives. Part of our lives involve sending and receiving email and so we want to protect this when it is endangered.

8.7 Are anti-spammers all Systems Administrators?

Sometimes, when reading, you can get the impression that in order to be an anti-spammer you have to be a technical wizard and run your own mailserver. This isn't the case at all, and the point to remember here is that the only people who contribute to highly-technical discussions will be those with highly-technical knowledge, but this doesn't mean that there's not less-technically-minded people reading.

Anti-spammers tend to be drawn from many sectors of life with many different types of knowledge. Some do run their own networks and their own mailservers, but many do not. This FAQ-maintainer, for example, is a Java programmer. Many anti-spammers don't even work in the computer industry; they can be florists or brick-layers, brain surgeons or secretaries. It doesn't matter. The skills needed for most spamfighting are fairly easy to learn and the more voices that are heard on this issue, the better.

8.8 If you anti-spammers are so smart, why am I still getting spam?

So who said we were smart? ;-)

As a problem, spam has not been solved. We will probably never be able to completely eliminate spam from this world, any more than we can expect to eliminate robbery, assault, or bad music. Realistically, our aim must be to reduce the spam levels as much as possible, to a level where it doesn't greatly impinge on the usability of electronic mail.

That's an achievable goal. We aren't there yet, and we have a long way to go, but we've come a long way too. Someday, someway, we _will_ get there.

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