delirium happy

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Argh
delirium pissed off
rho
My technical-novice father appears to have discovered the joys of sending 5MB "funny" email forwards. Lucky me. Anyone have any experience in trainging parents not to do this sort of thing?

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Shock collars are probably right out.

I found explaining in person or the telephone that I have usually seen these wretched things n times before and that they aren't original, it is just that she hasn't seen them before.

My mum got some .exe which was a crappy Xmas thing. She thought it was WONDERFUL and was all shocked when I failed to be even slightly impressed. I explained that it was all so 1994, that I'd seen umptymillion of them before and technically it was Just Not That Clever(tm).

I don't care what my mum and her annoying novice friends send to one another. Just don't send them to me. When she does, I just delete them and fail to be amused when she asks me if I liked it...

My mum's first windows trojan came from a animated singing .exe email forward.

If it's a text forward, google for it on a webpage somewhere and email me a link. Or preferably, actually communicate with me.

I've tried that... "But it came from $friend" etc etc. She does have a virus checker and she'll have to learn the painful way! I figure a "here, reinstall windows with this" will teach the lesson nicely.

Now I need to stop her sending phone address book data by 'business card' because Not Everyone Uses Nokias(tm).

I've trained an auntie and some offline friends out of doing this, but only by being really, really firm and saying "PLEASE no if they're interesting they wouldn't be forwards and if I was interested I'd have found them already please stop sending them or I'll set fire to your computer" and similar things. They all stopped sending them, but huffily, so really I have no useful advice since you presumably don't want to upset your dad.

I have some experience of a 100% effective, though perhaps suboptimal technique:

It is to simply do nothing and wait, and then continue to do nothing. Eventually their computer will succome to a trojan, critical mass of bloatware, catastrophic user error or hardware failure. At this point, in the absence of a child who can magically convert incoherent error reports into a working machine, they will either
a) buy/steal a whole new computer which lacks their original address book data and ISP details, or
b) decide that the internet is 'too complicated' and revert to spamming you via the postal system.

As I say, suboptimal. Although I must say one of the few advantages of being disowned by your parents is not having to deal with the "I did X and there was an error." "What was the error?" "Does it matter?" conversations, or any more sodding SCART cables.

The UKC news server used to reject posts if they contained more than n% quoted lines. Though relatively ineffective at raising the signal-to-noise ratio, the basic idea of screening messages before allowing them onto the network has merit. Someone (or perhaps Anyone) simply needs to develop an SMTP relay that rejects messages that are excessively lame, with an informative (and hopefully sarcastic) bounce message. It will then be a small matter of encouraging all the major[1] ISPs to adopt the new software, and the Internet shall be saved. Hurrah!


[1] Posters of crappy forwards, all caps, illiterate txtr spk, bad quoting etc tend not to use lesser-known ISPs, afterall.

Send back a 5Gb monster of a post and see how they like their SMTP host tripping out? Accompanied with the tag line "This may be big, but it's not clever" the length of time it takes them to download it ought to make them realise that sending boring but huge attachments is so passé. Each time they send you a huge yet boring attachment, give them another dose of the 5Gb email.

Either that or install on his computer next time you're visiting a program that lets you control his computer remotely, then use every opportunity to scare the shit out of him by moving his icons around his desktop.

Reply to each one with: Thank you, although I'd seen that before.

And then send a few dozen over to the person. Soon, the novelty value will wear out. Also, introduce them to http://www.snopes.com - welcome to the internet, learn about snopes - that should be mandatory, so they can check out hoaxes before forwarding and hopefully cut down on a few false alerts. Or even real ones that you're already going to be aware of.

Seconded. I told my mom about snopes repeatedly. Even did "reply all" to some massively-forwarded fake info she'd sent with a quick explanation of the fakitude and a link to snopes. Eventually it sunk in, or maybe she was just too embarrassed that she'd been sending out junk and misinformation.

I did the same with my mom (and the first time, my uncle wrote to me and thanked me for the link to Snopes, then he busted her the next time she did it. hehe). She's very diligent about that now, but anything remotely "cute" or "funny" she still sends to half the world. At least she's learned to use Bcc:.

I trained my mom not to send this stuff - and to be extremely cautious about anything with a file attached, no matter who it came from. The first reason I give for not passing all that stuff around is that it clogs up people's email boxes and can prevent them from receiving other mail. Even tho this is mostly an exaggeration, mom (and your dad) are not technically knowledgeable enough to know that and it's more objective than "I've already seen that and I don't want any more of them" so they don't get as offended. Then I point out how all the forwarding (most times with zillions of email addresses visible) helps spread viruses and spam to help discourage it.

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