|"News that's not known, or not known enough."
Helen & Harry Highwater's cranky weblog of news and opinion.
Don't be a poopyhead.
Since 1999, we've published a tiny weblog of news and opinion, Unknown News. It's more fun and more informative with readers' participation, so we invite readers to speak their minds. We cheerfully publish incoming emails that (in our subjective opinion) add to the discourse. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and if that address ever fails, please use one of our back-up email addresses.
We're not at all patient when people waste our time, though, so we present here a list of things that don't add to the discourse — crap we don't want. It's a long and boring list, with nothing that wouldn't be known already to anyone who has an ounce of common sense. It's a note to the poopyheads, who will of course never read it and wouldn't recognize themselves if they did... So this page is pointless, and perhaps that's the point, but — onward!
Please don't send attachments. We neither open nor send attachments. Every incoming email with an attachment is filtered into the trash, unopened and unread. Repeat or especially obnoxious offenders will have their email address permanently filtered into the trash or blocked.
Please don't send spam. All email that smells like spam is filtered into the trash, unopened.
Please don't email us unless you're really and truly, honestly, actually trying to send a communication you're not sending to anyone or everyone else.
Toward the honorable goal of eradicating spam, we filter out all email that's not addressed to us and only to us. It is simply rude — and simply spam — to add people to your mailing list without permission, and if you've asked we've said no. It doesn't matter that you "know" we'll be interested or you "think" we're friends or political allies. Our filters are set to sort "mailing list" emails into the trash with the rest of the spam.
We filter out anything and everything encoded to include graphics, animation, sound, or change font color or size. It's almost certainly spam — and even if it's not, we're not interested. To get past our filters, please send only plain, uncoded text.
We filter out all email bigger than 50k. Anything that huge almost certainly contains coding, which could be either spam or something nefarious — and even if it's neither, it's still much bigger than anything we've ever published, anything we'd ever want to publish, or anything we'd ever want to read on a computer screen.
We filter out any email containing common spam terms, like "penis enlargement," "Nigerian prince," "online pharmacy," etc.
We filter out all email with blank "subject" or "sender" headers.
We filter out all forwarded email.
If it gets past our filters, that doesn't mean we're going to read it:
We delete, unopened, all email titled "important," "urgent," "confidential," "please help me," "look at this," or any of the other routine spam titles going around.
We delete, unopened, any email that's "Re:" something we didn't send or publish, or "Re:" nothing at all.
We delete, unopened, all copies of anything received more than once, or received at more than one of our email addresses.
We delete, unopened, all email with nonsense or obvious sales pitches in the "subject" or "sender" headers.
Repeat or especially obnoxious offenders will have their email address permanently filtered into the trash or blocked.
Once we've opened an email, we're still pretty quick with the 'delete' button:
We delete anything that looks like spam. And we don't look closely. At the very moment we begin to wonder whether an email was sent as part of a mass mailing, it's gone.
We delete anything that starts out by saying it isn't spam.
We delete anything that starts "To whom it may concern," "Dear friend," "Dear Sir," etc., or opens with a salutation to anyone who isn't us.
We delete anything inviting us to look at an e-postcard, an e-joke, or an e-anything.
We delete anything that doesn't interest us within the first few paragraphs, and we're pretty easily bored. If, for example, you're sending a 20-page legal document and you don't bother typing a few sentences explaining it, it'll be deleted.
As soon as you mention the Bilderbergs, Illuminati, Rosicrucians, Skull & Bones, space aliens, Zionism, or anti-Zionism, or as soon as you begin hinting that you have access to information unraveling a centuries-old conspiracy, we're already reading the next email. Please consult our no nuts list for the exhaustive roster of topics we don't give half a rat's ass about.
We won't publish and aren't interested in advertising disguised as a submission (believe me, we can tell the difference), lunatic emails or material that's wildly off-topic (unless it makes us laugh), "Johnny One-Note" stuff (serialized emails reiterating the same points over and over again), comments that amount to endorsements of the status quo (hint: the status quo isn't working), today's amusing anecdote that's already in everyone's email in-box and on-line at 171 websites, long and/or rambling commentary unrelated to anything on this site (e.g., your lengthy opinions about the Vice President's wife's new dress, or last week's episode of Survivor), or anything else where we don't see your point quickly, or where we don't see what it adds to the website.
We delete anything from anyone who's repeatedly wasted our time in the past. This may include mailing lists, press releases, inappropriate submissions, perpetual pet peavers, people who ignore questions we've asked, hate mailers, or other wastes-of-time we haven't yet gotten around to blocking or filtering out.
And I suppose there might someday be an exception, but so far we've deleted everything sent to us via anonymous remailers. Most anonymous remailers are just sending insults, but if you're unwilling to face any dialogue in response, you're just not worth our time. We have occasionally received "hot news tips" via anonymous remailers, but this presents insurmountable problems: How can we believe what we're being told, if we don't know who we're talking to? Sorry, if you have serious news you'll need to un-cloak and contact us with an email address where we can respond.
When we've noticed that email from a particular sender is repeatedly a waste of time, we block the sender's email address. After that, anything that's ever sent from the same address skips our in-box — and instead goes straight into the garbage
We delete all form letters, petitions, and chain letters, and filter the sender into the trash.
We delete unwanted press releases, or un-asked-for promotional announcements of any kind, and filter the sender into the trash. This definitely includes webmasters who send announcements of every website update, unless we've specifically asked to be on that list. Please note: We've asked to be on exactly one such list.
We delete anything that's incoherent, offensive, intellectually empty, irrelevant, or clearly inappropriate in any way, and filter the sender into the trash.
All this may sound stern, and it is. But these policies leave us much more time to patiently peruse, ponder, and publish material sent by our actual readers, instead of by spambots and imbeciles.
Helen & Harry Highwater, proprietors
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