Thursday, January 17, 2013

Scientific Spam

Each time I get spam about pipetters and RNA in my e-mailbox I  feel guilty.

Because what's the natural reaction to a spam letter? Hitting the "Report spam" button almost automatically! Die, die, you useless spam letter, and burn in the spam filter, so that other good and honest people would be spared of your loathsomeness.

But when I get a spam letter about axon tracing, it's not that easy anymore. What if I actually use this company? Or may use it in the future? If I now put their e-mail in a black list, would I be sorry about it later? What if they were at SfN, and scanned my badge? Does it mean that now I'm obliged to delete their letter calmly and carefully, without cursing it forever? And also, aren't we in the same boat? Like, if I meet them in a bus, I would treat them as a friend, as a colleague, and we'd find something to talk about. They are doing something similar to what I am doing. Aren't we brothers? Aren't we fighting for the same common goal? Like for light of knowledge, and the betterment of the world?

...But still it's obviously a spam letter, shameless and unsolicited...

I am actually surprised how uselessly emotional I get about it, and how I actually start thinking before finally pressing the "report spam" button. It's just crazy. Why would I care? Spam is spam, regardless of the topic! Yet for some bizarre psychological reasons I now hesitate.

The "official best practice" however is still to press the button. Because spam is noise, and noise is evil. If you  send unsolicited communications, you deserve your sales to go down. Period =)

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