People do such strange things. So strange that sometimes I think I really must be living on Mars. Try this:
Every time we send out an issue of this newsletter we get lots of mail returned by corporate spam filters that have taken objection to some word or phrase in the particular issue. Usually I can work out what term is triggering the response. Mostly it’s something really dumb, like in one issue, where we jokingly referred to USB as an acronym for "You son of a b-tch."
But after a recent issue, I got lots of bounces and I just couldn’t see what the spam filters were objecting to. So in desperation, I rang an Email Manager who had conveniently put his phone number on the bounce message. This is the conversation that took place when I asked him why the message was bounced:
"It got bounced because it contained the word ‘Spam’."
(Shocked pause from me.)
"But that makes no sense. you can’t stop spam by filtering messages that containing the word ‘spam’. That’s confusing the word with the thing it describes."
(Long pause from him.)
"It’s because spam often includes the phrase ‘this is not spam’."
"But lots of genuine messages say that too."
"I know, but at least we kill the spam."
"But what about all the genuine mail you filter out?"
"Tough. People get too much email anyway."
"That’s a strange attitude, particularly from someone who’s job is Email Manager."
"Best way to manage it, is to reduce it. The less the better. People just have too much. Most of my users wouldn’t complain if I filtered out all their email."
"OK then, why not add the word ‘the’ to your email filter."
"That’s not such a bad idea you know."
End of conversation.
Now I told you that I must be living on Mars.
But at least I don’t have to worry about offending the Martians. Our Email Manager friend will never see this newsletter. It contains the word "spam".
Gizmo Richards firstname.lastname@example.org