e-superstitions

by shiva

Email, undoubtedly, has become an indispensable medium of communication. We come across some emails which are forwarded without any second thought. These mails won’t have a logical backing, nor any material evidence or accountability. Someone says something; other people believe it and forward it. Though superstition may seem a little strong word for this scenario, I still wish to call it Email superstitions.

freeThis is a type of chain messages that many feel compelled to forward. For example a mail that says AOL will pay to help someone pay for his or her cancer treatment in proportion to the number of recipients of the email; Other examples range from messages that say Nokia is giving away free phones, offer of a free laptop or make a wish and forward this mail to 10 people. Or ORKUT would delete your friend’s profile if you don’t write a certain scrap in your friend’s profile.

The one who receives this email does not stop to verify if it could be true but simply key in some of their contacts and hit the ‘forward’ button.

It is irresistible for some people when they receive such messages. It’s surprising that even the most educated ones fall pray to these mails and blindly forward them. They don’t bother to spare a minute to check and authenticate the content and source. They simply forward due to following reasons:

  1. They’ve free time (probably inexpensive Internet and no work)
  2. They think they’ve nothing to lose (If I get it great, else I lose nothing)
  3. The mail came from their friend they assume the contents are genuine and blindly forward.
  4. They fall pray to catchy words/temptations in the mail.
  5. They think they’ll help someone/themselves by forwarding

By forwarding these mails, the main risk is that we expose email Ids of our friends and relatives to third party. Over a period of time this increases junk mails in our inbox.

For those who are busy at work, this kind of mail eat their time, productivity and often irritate people.

Story by Srinidhi Hande of ISOC India Chennai

The founding fathers of the Internet laid down several architectural principles around which Internet standards were developed and adopted. One of these principles are among others reflected in RFC 760. This document, among other specifications, lays down the robustness principle – – the robustness of the implementation of the Transmission Control / Internet Protocol (TCP / IP) It recommends “conservative sending behavior and liberal receiving behavior”.  A network should format the ‘datagrams’ very carefully before sending the datagram. At the same time, it should accept ANY datagram that it should interpret (e.g., not object to technical errors where the meaning is still clear).

John Postel signed this RFC with the epigram “Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send

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