I have decided there is no difference between Hate Mail and Spam. Nobody wants to get either one; they each share the intent to bother and wound; Hate Mail and Spam live to burden and bother.

Do you agree Hate Mail and Spam are the same thing?

If not, what’s the difference between the two?

What is the worst piece of Hate Mail you received?

What was the silliest Spam you found in your Inbox?

27 Comments

  1. Hi David,
    While I’ve received countless pieces of spam that have resulted in endless hours of extra work just to delete them, I’ve never gotten a hate mail message either by U.S. Mail or electronically. (And, I’m in the debt collection business!)
    While spam is a hassle and probably causes me to lose legitimate email as well — now I just zap everything that goes into my personal email account’s spam filter without even reviewing it — spam isn’t personal because it is being pumped out to everyone in an effort to make money for Russian mob members and other terrorist groups and maybe a few misguided souls who are violating U.S. laws against sending spam.
    Hate mail on the other hand is personal. Someone took the time to intentionally target the recipient of the hate mail. And, worse yet, the person is probably harboring malicious thoughts and intents toward the recipient.
    That would bother me more than getting some solicitation to buy the Soprano family’s stock offering of “Webistics” or some silly Austin Power’s “enlarger pump” because the fool typing up those messages doesn’t know who I am or even if they’ve gotten the right email address.

  2. spam is irritating, hate mail is personal. spam is the lesser of these two evils. i’m fortunate enough to have yet to receive a hate mail; the closest to it was some pretty upsetting comments in my blog. definitely an incentive not to achieve more popularity in the blogosphere!

  3. Chris!
    Oh, you have Hate Mail, ole pally! 😀 I just delete it before it finds your eye. Next time I’ll forward some of it on to you. I usually don’t do that because it ruins one’s day.
    Hate Mail means mail that tells you what a rotten person you are, or how stupid you are, or how you don’t know anything….
    Hate Mail doesn’t include any bodily threats to life or limb. Hate Mail is usually personal, but not always.
    If you’ve written anything slightly out of the mainstream on the web, you’re certainly in the line of fire for some Hate Mail or you aren’t writing effectively enough. 😀

  4. Spam is just targeted to email addresses, I never open them otherwise they know the email address works and you get more. Never really had any hate mail that I am aware of.
    Gmail seems to do quite well filter much of the spam out. At work we use Postini that captures all the spam.
    It can be irritating when you have to delete a lo of stuff, but I am just surprised so many people still open the spam mail.

  5. Hi Michael!
    I think some Hate Mail is just as anonymous as Spam. It’s obvious they don’t know you or what you wrote — they’re just out to prove a point or tack a line in their favor and they use a lot of these tactics while trying to be personal but are just as off-base as Spam:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2006/07/27/how-to-spam-a-blog/
    I agree Gmail does an outstanding job of filtering Spam. I used to pay $300.00 a year for a special Spam protection service for all my domains but I had to Whitelist all my associates or they’d likely get caught in my Spam trap for a day before I got a report. That was a lot of work clearing people across several different domains…
    Gmail filters the bad stuff and keeps the good — I’ve only had to rescue one false-positive out of thousands — and it’s a real thrill to have the Spam trouble handled so seamlessly.
    You’re right that’s it’s best to not even open the Spam. It makes such a mess of things if you do.

  6. I’m going to hire a pollster to make sure I’m squarely in the bland mainstream before I write another article 😉 Or, maybe I’ll be for and against everything like all of those guys and gals running for political office.

  7. Chris!
    Nooooooooooo! Be the radical dissident you’ve always been! :mrgreen:
    Generally speaking…
    Robert Taylor: You are anti-police.
    Dune Acres: You are anti-free market.
    Malachi Ritscher: You are anti-American.
    Ha!

  8. Hi David,
    I can’t imagine anyone sending me hate mail, except maybe Shannon. Even though I changed her name, she knows who she is and what she did! The White Witch for sure.
    Donna

  9. Hi Donna!
    When we had open comments here “Hate Mail” was a regular vista of my day. It’s easy to spew hate when you can hide you identity. Now that we require registration the hate has tailed away — but I’m sure it is finding other avenues for expression.

  10. Hi David,
    How is the registration working out as far as number of comments? I remember you saying WordPress thought it would curtail them. Do you notice a significant difference?
    Donna

  11. Donna —
    Comments from new people have dropped off — I guess registering is too difficult — but the “regular” registered commenters have increased.
    I think that’s a good thing people know who they’re talking to and it helps keep the conversation honest.
    When I cleaned up the comments I was surprised to find so much fakery — people pretending to be different people just to perpetuate the hate and arguing.
    I don’t ever want to go back to that again — but that’s the risk you invite when you use an open, unverified, comment system.

  12. Donna —
    Speaking of new commenters — you have one on your HPV article from yesterday.
    I don’t think you get notified when a new person posts the first time — I do, so I can clear them — so check it out! 😀

  13. Hi David,
    I see your point. Quality over quantity. The reverse is true for so many of the “trivial” blogs.
    That is the one thing that drew me to your website in the first place. 😀
    Donna

  14. Hi Donna!
    I’ve always said I’d rather have one really excellent comment than 10 trivial ones — we’re lucky we have such a strong community here where the articles are more of a leaping point for deeper discussion of the topic rather than the end-all. Divine!

  15. They are both nasty – hate mail tends to be more personal. Over the years I have had plenty of both. The hate mail I have received has been personal – directed at me and my lifestyle – so far (touch wood).
    Akismet did a grand job while I was away 450 spam comments caught – it did however miss a pile of hateful rubbish left in comments on one particular blog entry.
    Gmail also has excellent spam catchers as well.
    Both are nasty and insidious.

  16. Hi Nicola!
    Welcome back! We have missed you!
    Yes, that’s it! You know precisely what I’m talking about — most of the Hate Mail here starts with the same line… “Who do you think you are… ?” 😀
    I’m glad Akismet was good to you!
    I’m with you on Gmail. I have no idea how Google does Spam protection so well and they give it away for free. I know people who get a Gmail account and they only use it as a Spam trap and have Gmail auto-forward every message to their “real” email account. That’s a cunning plan!