Stop junk e-mail and misinformation.
The Limitations of E-mail
(From the Chain-Breaker's Library)
E-mail is probably the most important communication tool since the telephone. Unfortunately, many use it to disseminate information - a task for which it was not designed. Imagine that your local TV or Radio news station decided to no longer broadcast the news, and instead, they'll just call a few people with the news and ask those people to call their friends and so on. E-mail is just as invalid and unreliable as that method would be.
Here are just a few reasons you shouldn't use e-mail to spread information:
- E-mail is not an information tool. E-mail is a communications tool for brief correspondence and coordination. It lacks the reliability and validity of news media and should never be used or trusted to distribute information, alerts or warnings.
- E-mail is editable. Everyone who receives a message may intentionally or unintentionally alter it before they send it out. You cannot be sure the e-mail as you've received it is unaltered from its original form. As a result, you often get incomplete or incorrect information.
- E-mail is anonymous. The identity of a message's author can be completely masked or lost in just two generations of the message. You can never be certain where an e-mail really came from. Without an identifiable source, a claim cannot be validated.
- E-mail is perpetual. There is no way to permanently date an e-mail message or set it to expire. The date and time that you see when you read a message is the time you received it or the time the last sender sent it and does not necessarily indicate when the message originated. A message written in 1995 will look as if it was written this morning; and a message you wrote 6 minutes ago, could come back to haunt you months - even years - later.
- E-mail can not be retracted. Once you hit the "send" button, there's no bringing it back. It's like leaving a nasty message on your boss's voicemail and immediately wishing you hadn't - once you've sent it, there's no getting it back.
- E-mail can not be tracked. The technology to globally track an e-mail message - at least by the methods described in most chain letters - simply does not exist. There is no way for a third party to know to whom or how many times you forward a message, and this is a good thing. Consider the privacy implications if such a thing were possible.