Thoughts on Forwards

There is one thing that bothers me more than junk email (spam) when it comes to email. Misuse of forwards FWD FW.

  • Email Forwards are usually sent by people you know and trust.  However many times the information in forwards is not trustworthy and may not even be what your friend or relative actually thinks.
  • Many forwards I get have completely made up information, that can be easily be found to be false or partially false with just a little fact checking.
  • I have found an interesting and useful urban legends web site that deals with some of these
  • Even though an email may be true at one time, parts can be changed to make it at least partially untrue.
  • Some forwards have very controversial information or opinions – many anonymous or miscredited.
  • Some forwards say you have to forward to so many people or say that you have to give it back to show you’re really a friend.   This can be a good way to spread annoying emails.  Do you really have to reply to a forward, that they didn’t write, to show you are a friend?   Some of these emails say you’ll get something free for sending so many – I have never found that to be true.
  • Some forwards are fill in the blank and forward.  This might be giving too much information out.
  • Some forwards have copyrighted text and images that might be illegally redistributed.
  • One misuse of forwards is redistributing a private conversation.  This can be very hurtful to some people.
  • Another misuse related to forwarding is telling everyone to write to one particular person, which can overwhelm someone.
  • Many forwards are basically chain letters.  Chain letters are of course illegal to send in the US Mail.  Email is still fairly unregulated (or hard to regulate) and unsecured.  I would advise people to avoid sending these forwarded emails.
  • After a while the people that send me forwards, I usually ask them to stop sending it.