[conspire] I get mail

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Apr 3 17:49:53 PDT 2006

I still _do_, a lot of the time, send personalised responses, but not
always, as I used to.  _This_ guy sent only the two lines quoted below
('cept once in plaintext, and once redundantly in very bad HTML), no
subject header, no indication what on earth he was talking about,
written in all caps.

----- Forwarded message from rick -----

Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 17:46:02 -0700
To: Richard Dyse <blackjackdyse at yahoo.com>


This is a form-letter response.  It's being sent to you because you
appear to be someone I do _not know_, and you sent me personal e-mail 
expecting free-of-charge personal, private help with your technical problem.
(I might be mistaken, in which case I'm sorry, and please let me know.)

The following comments (as marked) appear to apply:

[ ]  You seem to have departed from an ongoing public mailing list or 
     newsgroup discussion I was involved in, onto private e-mail -- and 
     didn't cite a compelling reason for private discussion.  This is
     very often accidental, in which case, that's OK, and no offence taken.
     As appropriate, please just either (1) post back onto the prior 
     public forum, or (2) explain why we need to talk in private mail.

[x]  You seem to have mistakenly followed a hyperlink from some 
     software project's Web pages to the essay "How to Ask Questions
     the Smart Way" that I co-wrote with Eric Raymond in 2001, found
     my e-mail address hyperlinked as co-author, and then sent me mail
     under the mistaken impression that I'm a free-of-charge help 
     resource for that software project.  _Thousands_ of such projects
     hyperlink to Eric's and my essay.  We're not involved in any of
     them, let alone have we volunteered to give free private tutoring
     to all of those thousands of projects' millions of users.

[x]  And you didn't even _read_ that essay, either, did you?  For gosh
     sakes, it says right underneath the table of contents not to do 
     what you just did.  What, are you a bit dim?  (If I seem sore about
     this, it's because the essay is about how to ask questions 
     _intelligently_, and each and every day, several strangers send me
     demanding e-mail showing conclusively that they paid no attention
     to even the _top_ part of the essay's contents.)

[ ]  Aren't you ashamed, sending homework questions to utter strangers,
     like that?

[ ]  I am now sending you a second copy of this form letter, because 
     you chose to ignore what it said the first time and repeat your 
     completely inappropriate and rude request for free private technical 
     assistance from a stranger.  Maybe you were hoping I wasn't serious,
     or thinking you can persuade me it's easier to solve your problem 
     than to talk sense into you?  Sorry, it doesn't work that way:  
     After two attempts in a row at such rude presumption, I will 
     generally just blackhole your sending address.

Again, apologies if none of those actually applies, in which case,
please let me know.  (If you "just found my address somewhere", but 
are a bit fuzzy on specifics, then odds are it's from the cited essay.)

----- End forwarded message -----

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