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Welcome. This is about virals AKA chain letters, the various forms they take, and why it's better to debunk and/or delete rather than spread them.

* * *

Second Life chain letter and phishing/malware scam was not originated by Gwyneth Llewelyn!

This blog titled The Way of Improvement Leads Home deals with and links to the account of historian Timothy L. Wood, who has been rampantly and falsely accused of creating an extremist Obama = Hitler chain letter because of malicious identity theft. Whether or not his own politics are agreeable, the fact remains that David Kaiser has been victimized in the very same way with the same garbage chain letter. TPS's comment on Pat Dollard's blog appears to be the culprit, and Pamela Geller promoted it.

Peter Fleckenstein did not write or originate the infamous health care chain letter but that hasn't stopped supposedly "non-partisan" and so-called "factual" sites Politifact and Factcheck from falsely accusing him, even if in a somewhat roundabout way. Neither has it stopped the tidal wave of left-wing netizens from spreading and clinging stubbornly to the nasty rumor as if their lives depended on it. Anyone can write a series of tweets, and any follower can lift, modify, compile and misuse them to create a chain letter.

Lieutenant and police abuse work computers and spread obscene joke chain letter. Holly Leam-Taylor started a lame joke email at work, it went viral, and she resigned.

Don't panic over the pyrex, The chain letter warning is unreliable, mostly false, and out of date.

By the way, gundams aren't real, neither is anime, people.

That's Nonsense!

Chain letters Friends Exact Punishment Through Chain Letter Forwards! Forwards Could Hurt You Why Chain Letters Are So Bad

The Modernday Chain Letter a Subconscious Mind-Game How Chain Letters Manipulate the Masses Signs It Is A Chain Letter How to Research a Forward Hoaxes Are Far From Harmless Fun! Rumors that Just Won't Die

This is a link to a forum discussion where someone has been mistreated by a forward-addict who really does bass her friendships on whether or not her contacts spread chain letters! That is so sad it's almost scary. Various Reactions to Chain Letters This eye-opening section contains sites where people express their honest feelings about receiving chain letters. Hoaxton page Hoaxton play by email group Hoaxton is the make-believe land where the fictional people in chain letters reside, and their saga is written. It is a fun and creative writing project that debunks and laughs at chain letters.

The flipside is The Hall Of Notoriety people who actually like, pass on and sometimes originate chain letters, so are the cause of the problem.

Hoax Busters - Dr. Brad Burke a fantastic write-up, except for the recommendation against hitting the reply-all when debunking a chain letter. Whether or not to do this is disputed around the net. My Turn, Your Turn, Email Forwards A heart-felt, well written must-read that should help you to think twice about sending that forward. The Three Chain Mail Profiles by Connor Andrew Clark-Lindh briefly but expertly outlines and explains the profiles of forwarders and non-forwarders.

Believe it or not, chain letters don't just come in make money fast or good VS bad luck promise/threat variety. They come in every and all flavors and are not just email. From snailmail to cyber, from text to flip flops, friendship bread, seed trains etc. mass-gives, if it's viral, it's a chain letter.

Viral Marketing Current Events and Chain Letters in the News

Classic Chain Letters promise love, luck, even fame or riches for forwarding, and sometimes the opposite for not passing them on. The threats can range from a period of bad luck to one's own death or the death of someone close to them.

The Chain Letter Child that Never Dies and Never Lived - inside the mind of a dying kid hoax creator More on various forwards An Old Annoyance Evolves with Technology Chez Joel Blog Archive how to use email responsibly Don't Be Fooled by Email Hoaxes Avoiding Chain Mail Hoax Busting Sites Top Ten Sites for Debunking Urban Myths

They can strike anyone anywhere, even pro-sports teams aren't off limits.

Email Hoaxes and Other Spam

Chain letter forwards can be about anything at all, from old wives tales to politics.

Because there are so many mutations of chain letters, especially the meme and "friendship" "love" and "luck" variety, not all of them are covered on each hoax-busting site.

The reason they mutate is to stay ahead of the viral/chain radar. That is, someone might be more likely to believe it's true and therefore, pass it on if they can't find a write-up about it on a hoax-busting site.

Some chain letters can sneak by a lot of people's radar by not looking quite so obviously like what they actually are. These include and are not limited to forwarded Brain Teasers, Games, Jokes, Letters, Lists, Quotes, Points, Trivia and Recipe Chain Letters

No one can deny that recipes, even coming from chain letters can sound good. So with that said, let's have our recipes and break chain letters at the same time. Recipes From Chain Letters

Anti Chain Letters

There are even so-called anti-chain letters which are usually satires on chain letters. They are written in a way to show just how silly chain letters are and how anyone with a bit of sense should know better than fall for them.

The trouble with anti-chain letters is they are all too often posted, reposted, and forwarded around so they become the very thing they were meant to spoof. Their appearance and reappearance on web sites and in email only ads to the problem, and they become as stale and unfunny as the next joke forward.

Chain letters are by no means limited to email. Web sites including those for Groups and forums on the web, the blogosphere and social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook are also being misused as a means of passing on chain letters.

Facebook Chain Letters Myspace Chain Letters

What's more annoying, email or text message chain letters? Yes, even if you aren't using a computer, you can still get chain letters. The snailmail variety has pretty much fizzled out, however, cell phones and other PDAs are being invaded by text message chain letters that cost money to receive. This includes the bogus Amber alert missing kid hoax.

Are there any exceptions or are all forwards simply rotten?

There are forwards that started out real and with good intentions, but they are very few compared with the vast majority, and they quickly become old-hat. Real Articles Getting Turned Into Forwards will often soon be outdated, and/or end up getting unwelcome chain letter promises and threats attached to them as they continue to be passed along. This is why it's always best to check out every and any story or sick/missing person alert on hoax-debunking sites to be sure they are in fact, for real, without having been changed in a way that takes away from what they were meant to be, and their true authors are being credited, and wanting their story forwarded on.

Pleas to send cards, Missing person alerts, prayer requests and other similar appeals to help a sick or endangered person are often bogus, and the truthful ones continue circulating years after the crisis has been resolved one way or another. This is because once a chain letter starts spreading, it just keeps going.

The exceptions to this characteristic behavior of chain letters is when there is a deadline for the furor of forwarding to stop. Elections and holidays for example. Whenever there's an upcoming US election, wild political chain letters about the candidates fly around the net. When the election is over, the chain letters concerning it also die down, or they usually should. Unfortunately, not the case when Obama got into office. Easter, the Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Valentine's Day chain letters come out of hibernation every year their respective holidays roll around, to deluge inboxes and web forums everywhere. Once the holiday is through, those chain letters return to hibernation, giving many people a much needed break from the unusually high amount of forwards the holiday generated.

The Gost in the Killer Email Forward Funny column that spoofs forwards If it is discovered to be a chain letter, it will be moved to a different category on this site.

Chain letters spread like the flu.

Do You Forward Chain Letters? A discussion. Email Forwards and Social Networks a discussion, and emphasizing again why it is so important especially for Christians and conservatives to kick the chain forwarding habit and stop the hateful spreading of the negative stereotype. Currently, republicans and Christians have the worst reputation online for spreading chain letters when they should be doing all they can to stop it. That doesn't mean everyone who passes on chain letters is republican or Christian, or that everyone against chain forwards is a left-wing or non-Christian. But most complaints showing up online are about right-wing or religious forwards being passed on blindly by people holding right-wing views. Most of the complainers indicate they are left-wing and they make doubly sure to point out that whoever has passed on chain letters to them, is right-wing or Christian or both.

Chain Smashers a site trying to turn the tide.

Is it considered harassment to send someone a chain letter? Yes, it can be considered harassment, and it's bad for your own reputation as well.

How do chain letters track your email? They don't. That's one of the longest running lies/pranks chain letters play on people new to the internet. There is no such thing as an email-tracking chain letter; not from AOL or anywhere else. Charities never depend on forwarded messages and nonexistent trackers for donations, and no one will ever be in danger of dying if you refuse to forward a bogus email-tracking sick kid hoax.

Should I Really Worry About Those Stupid Email Forwards?

No, don't worry about them, discourage their spread instead.

How to Stop Believing in Chain Letters: 9 Steps - Wikihow

How can I stop someone sending me chain mail?

You can block their address as described in the answers to that question on the link above. And/or, you can email them back with a link to this site or others that deal with unwanted forwards and a suggestion to them not to send any more of them.

You may also want to give them a hint how impersonal chain letters are by sending them an email that looks like an auto-response. Example text for the message body:

You are receiving this automated response because this email program has detected a chain letter forward sent by you.

To remedy this problem, please send real email instead.


Guilty Pleasures

Comments (1)

Indy said

at 12:37 pm on Jun 24, 2009

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