The Problem with Forwards

This morning my inbox greeted me with a message from my aunt. The message went on to tell me about the deadly dangers of drinking bottled water that had been left in the car overnight, and how passing this on could save lives, prevent global warming and restoring peace between Dwight & Angela (aka, "Dwangela", The Office).

Okay, so the last two were added by me, but I'm often hit with emails that have that level of absurdity.

I could go on and on and on about this topic, but I'll try to spare you with my soapbox as much as possible. The list of what I hate about email forwards is really, really long. Just a few of the highlights:

  1. Emails that tell me that I am a horrible person if I don't vote for X candidate or believe in issue Y.
  2. Emails that tell me I will have bad luck for X years if I don't pass it along to Y number of other suckers.
  3. Emails that tell me that not only do I have to forward it to Y number of other suckers, but I also have to forward it back to you for some reason
  4. Forwards that contain really, really large font. In a different color. In "Comic Sans" font.
  5. Emails that have 10 pages of header (i.e. the list of emails where it has been) before I get to the message
  6. Emails that warn me about my oncoming death or disease that have not been verified. No, wait...it doesn't matter if you have verified the email or not. I don't want to know that my water bottle will kill me.
  7. Emails that accuse peace-loving war-haters like myself of being anti-patriotic and un-Christian.
Okay, I'll stop there. That's enough for you to get my point.

I have a very good friend, whom I dearly love, that has one flaw - sending me forwards. She loves the kind that are heart-warming, anti-Democratic, pro-Iraq war.

Now, I am politically open-minded. I don't strictly align myself with one party verses another. I vote strictly based on issue and character. I'm actually registered as a Democrat so I can vote in the primaries.

So, when the primaries came around for my state, I began getting a slew of emails from her about how the democrats had terrorist roots, and so on. I know that she believed every email that she sent 100%. I'm sure you have seen some of those kind of emails too, so I won't bore you with all the details.

My friend is someone who takes all criticism personally, so I felt uncomfortable just telling her to STOP SENDING ME THIS CRAP. After a couple of weeks, I just could not take it anymore. I knew other people on her mailing list may not research this stuff for themselves, so she was probably influencing their vote as well as corrupting her own.

I finally came up with an idea. I sent her a message from ME disguised as a forward. I bcc'd her on this email "forward" in hopes that it would influence her to bcc me in the future emails. (Sending things outright to every email in your mailbox is another pet peeve of mine, but I've just realized that I'm going off on a tangent. Sorry.) Since I NEVER send forwards, I knew it would be enough to at least get her to read it. Here's what I wrote:

"Being an election year, there are millions of forwarded messages regarding politics and political candidates. All of us have the responsibility of doing our own research to make sure that content of those messages is actually true. The majority of allegations sent around are actually FALSE stories or situations meant to sway your vote.

Christians are especially targeted because we are so passionate about our beliefs. BEWARE of email forwards that accuse a specific candidate of being anti-Christian or even worse.

To find out if the email forward you have received is actually true, one suggestion is to visit http://www.snopes.com/. This site contains well researched reference information. It is very likely that the email you have received or one similar will be listed in this site, along with if it is true, false, partially true or undetermined. For the political section of the site, go to http://www.snopes.com/politics/politics.asp. There is a link from there for emails about Barack Obama, military, (Bill &) Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Mike Huckabee and many more.

Remember, do not let the content of an email forward sway your vote unless you have
researched the issues well!

I'm happy to report that while my friend still sends me heartwarming fluffy forwards that I don't read, she no longer sends me anything political.

Now I guess I need to work on my aunt and her death-by-water-bottle.

-- 2:00 PM Update --

My dear, to-the-point cousin Lauren responded to our aunt's entire email list before I got the chance:

Fear not.

Email Integrity Protectors Unite!

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