Some Things you Should Know
Virus alerts warn that opening an email message
with a certain subject line (PKZ300, Good Times, AOL4FREE, Doomsday, Penpal
Greetings) will destroy your computer. Untrue. Opening an email message cannot
pass a virus on to your hard drive any more than answering your phone can cause
your answering machine to melt. If you receive a message warning of a "virus"
not named above, you can check if it is a hoax virus at
http://www.ncsa.com/virus. This is the
address for the National Computer Security Association. Don't pass virus
alerts along unless you have verified them at the NCSA homepage.
Urban Legend Hoaxes
Urban legends are stories that ARE NOT
TRUE, but sound as if they should or could be. Common urban legend hoaxes on
the net are Craig Shergold, The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe, Feds Charging for
Email, Beware of Kidney Thieves! They are not true. Beware of any message from
someone you don't know which includes the phrases, "This happened to a
friend of my cousin/a friend of a guy on my softball team." and concludes,
"Please pass this message on to as many people as you can." Urban
legends can be reviewed at any of several Urban Legends pages or by reading any
of the books of Jan Harold Brunvand (The Vanishing Hitchhiker, The Mexican Pet,
The Choking Doberman).
Terms you should know:
Spam: Electronic junk mail. Budding capitalists have realized that
they can send junk mail over the Internet to a large number of people. They scan
listserv membership lists to obtain addresses.
Flaming: Messages sent to a particular user with the intent of
demeaning him or her. You'll know it when you see it.
Lurker: One who reads messages and rarely posts. Not as bad as it
Troll: Someone who joins a group and then asks questions or voices
opinions for the purpose of starting stupid, pointless arguments. Typically,
this person will initiate a flame war and then, when members finally agree to
ignore him or her, leaves the list. NEVER post a reply to a Troll's message.
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