He Said, He Said:
Tales From the Other Side
Written by: Alex Sandell and some other guy
I've received two emails (that is ALL the emails that I have received from "their" side) from anti-spammers asking me to print their letters and give THEIR side on my page, in the last two days (maybe this is their idea of organizing a campaign), so I decided that, in the spirit of fairness, I would include one of their letters, in all its mendacity, for each of you to read. I only added one twist . . . I added my reply to this gentleman's email. His stuff is in the <<<brackets>>>, my responses to his stuff are in bold, because, frankly, I like my stuff better. Hopefully this will end the debate, once and for all. (Of course we all know better.) Please keep in mind that I have never SPAMMED anyone. I will also note that nothing in this email was fabricated, with exception to the homepage addresses of anti-spam fanatics.
<<<First let me start by saying that I think you are a talented
writer. I am
very sorry that you and MAPS are having a dispute.>>>
Thanks. I am very sorry MAPS chose to get involved with a one-sided dispute
due to a certain MAPS employee, one who has even upset other anti-spammers
with his behavioral difficulties, and frequent blocking of them from his
server, deciding, two years ago, that he didn't like me, and was going to
get me kicked offline, no matter how many LIES he had to tell to do it. I
am also very sorry MAPS takes each of their employees at their word, rather
than investigating each incident, BEFORE reporting it to an ISP. Finally, I
am very sorry that MAPS told both myself, and a lawyer, what I must do to
have my email account reinstated, and then went back on their word, once I
did it, and convinced my ISP that they must suspend my account, completely.
Sure, MAPS will say they couldn't force someone to do anything, but we both
know that is like a criminal holding a gun to someone's head and claiming
that they will either A.) prevent him from going to 40% of his favorite
places (including his job) or B.) ask him to wear different clothing,
because what he is wearing is offensive. Months after the victim alters his
attire, the criminal is finally caught, and says he's innocent, because
nobody FORCED anyone to change their clothing.
<<<I don't know why, but I feel the need to try and help. I believe I know
how you got in their sights, because of your piece on spam.>>>
I believe that's obvious, being that I state it in numerous updates you have
<<<Things seemed to escalate from there. I was hard to figure that you were not serious in
that piece, there was no indication there and they treated you like a spammer.>>>
Whether or not I was serious in that piece is 100% irrelevant. You are
backing up my argument that anti-spammers are anti-Freedom of Speech. I
have the right to write an update without having the wrath of 200 computer
geeks coming down on me, because they disagree with it. I have the right to
make the case for SPAM, without being labeled a "SPAMMER." What I DON'T
have the right to do, is block people who disagree with MY opinion, from
using their email, or going on the Internet. That's what MAPS (yeah, I
know, "MAPS blocks no one, they just insure that people are blocked"), and
their supporters, think they are somehow entitled to do.
<<<I didn't know about spam until I got hit. I know it is easy to get mad at
MAPS, but what they do is exact.>>>
It is anything BUT exact. Even MAPS fails, time and again, to follow their
own policies and agenda. MAPS is a group of people who seem to have a LOT
of personal vendettas against people, and the people they have vendettas
against are terrorized by them, whether they SPAM or not. Other people,
namely members of MAPS, have SPAMMED quite frequently without MAPS giving
them so much as a slap on the wrist.
<<<It is not indiscriminate.>>>
<<<I don't think you
will take the time to look at it for what it is: the internet
An American organization feeling it can self-govern something that belongs
to the world is a dangerous thing.
<<<MAPS does nothing except complile a list of abusers etc. ( a blacklist)>>>
If that were true, I would NOT be using a long-distance connection to get
online now. Blacklists are dangerous: a lot of innocent people get on
them. The McCarthy era being a prime example of this.
<<<If you are an ISP, you can use the list. You don't have to. This is where
most people don't understand. The blocking comes NOT from MAPS, but the
recieveing ISP. They 'filter' who they will accept traffic through. Yes, MAPS does
make the list, but if the amount of net abuse were not so rampant, MAPS would
not have taken off like they have.>>>
You fail to mention the other way MAPS works: they strong-arm ISPs into
upgrading their systems to MAPS' standards, and, if the ISP fails to do so,
they "blackhole" them. This is totally unfair. How would you like it if
someone came into your store and told you you had to start selling
pornography behind the counter, or 40% of your customers wouldn't be
allowed into the store? MAPS is violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Law with
what they're doing. You cannot legally prevent customers of a business from
patronizing that business because YOU don't like how said business is
The only reason MAPS "took off" (around 1-5% of the web actually uses it;
40% is a number MAPS decided sounded good, so they throw it around as if
it's a fact) like it has is through a lot of rhetoric and Gestapo scare
<<<don't know the exact beef that MAPS has with you,>>>
Here's how you can find out:
The update regarding how it all began at:
The update featuring a lot of my readers' upset remarks over how MAPS-RBL is
Finally, an update which links to a lot of other people who have been
wrongfully accused of being SPAMMERS by MAPS-RBL
Then again, you read all those, didn't you? What, exactly, did you miss?
You didn't forget to take your Anti-Spam blinders off, again, did you?
<<<but as one who is not taking sides, I really think that had this incident not happened you might
have had a different experience and understanding of what they do.>>>
And I think that if this experience ever DOES happen to you, you will
<<<I won't bore you with how a spammer hurt me, both businesswise and
<<<Let me say they turned my life into a nightmare for a while and
cost me a lot of money. Too many people think hittng the delete key is
the answer. And that just indicates a sever lack of understanding. I can tell
by your writing that you are intelligent, opinionated (what good writer
isn't) and unconventional. I believe that learing the whole story is important.>>>
I know the whole story. I wish I could say the same about those on the
other side of the fence.
<<<I only care that you understand and that you look at the situation fairly.>>>
That is what I have done, and I see how unfair it actually is.
<<<I personally don't think you have or could have when you are this upset at
Maybe I'm this upset because what they are doing is WRONG. I wish you could
understand and look at this situation fairly. Personally I don't think you
have or could have when you are this upset at a SPAMMER that turned your
life "into a nightmare" and cost you "a lot of money."
<<<As for the other stories you have linked on the "Don't get sucked in by
the "blackhole!", I can't speak about the CyberCreek people, but there are a
number of software companies selling spamware and they feign like it has
Guess what? They have the RIGHT to sell that software. Just like people
have the right to sell, and advertise, software such as "Spambuster." Just
like the "Bulk Emailer Forum" has a right to discuss THEIR feelings, much
like the anti-spammers can in their cozy little SPAM-L group, without a
bunch of anti-spam zealots SPAMMING them, and threatening them, every day,
so they have to move from server to server. That's what I don't get about
most anti-spammers, they continually whine about their rights being taken
away, as they're busy taking away everyone else's. They also resort to
SPAMMING to "send a message" to anti-spammers. Do two wrongs suddenly make
<<<My own personal distate began when I was forced to police my kids email,
because some spammer harvested us out of the Internic. My son and daughter
are going to grow up having a great new tool at their disposal, and I have to
restrict their access, becaue some jerk is exercising his "right" and
sending my kids offers to buy viagra, porn, gambling, porn, make money fast and
porn. Did I mention the porn? Combined as a family, we get about 80 spams a
As one individual, I get about 75-100 SPAMS per DAY. Why? Because dozens
of anti-SPAMMERS have felt it their right to "teach me a lesson" by signing
me up for mailing lists. I have received letters (forged headers, of
course), from Anti-Spammers asking me how I like it. Those people are
obviously NOT anti-spam and are not trying to save bandwidth. The fact that
so many sys admins post so often in newsgroups and wrongfully sign others up
to receive SPAM tells me one thing: MASS-MAILING ISN'T COSTING ALL OF YOUR
PRECIOUS SERVERS AS MUCH AS YOU CLAIM IT IS. A lot of the posts in
news.admin.net-abuse.email are totally redundant, and unnecessary, sort of
like SPAM. Almost all of them could be sent to an individual, rather than
posted for the entire web to see. Yet, these "anti"-spammers waste
bandwidth every day talking about how much they despise those who waste
I'm sorry you want the Government, or some self-appointed group of
such as MAPS to do your parenting for you. Maybe you should set your kids
up with a separate user name and check incoming mail before they do. But,
that would make being a daddy YOUR job, rather than somebody else's, would
it? Sorry I even suggested it.
<<<That is insane. There is no constitutional right for sending me spam,
they can't wrap themselves in free speech.>>>
Free speech seems irrelevant to you, anyway.
<<<Rowan v. U.S. Post Office, the Supreme court held:>>>
I dont give a damn what Rowan v. U.S. Post Office said. It is not relevant
to this argument.
<<<My private mailbox and those of my family have been invaded.>>>
You act like you've been raped. Get your priorities straight.
<<<I had to pay for all my spam last year because we lived a long distance
call to our ISP.>>>
And I now have to pay for ALL my email this year, including your one-sided
letter! Why? Because a certain employee of MAPS didn't like me, and MAPS
not only plays the "guilty until proven innocent" game, MAPS plays the,
"guilty forever, if one of our employees says you are" game, which has put
me in a compromising position.
<<<So what a slap in the face!>>>
Tell me about it. At least you were long-distance because you had no local
access. I am long-distance because MAPS caused me to be DENIED local
<<<Here is your spam pay me for it! It did not break
me, obviosly, but why should I have to pay for it?>>>
Well, it is breaking me, and you're still sending me junk.
<<<There is always another side, you know that better than I do.>>>
That became very apparent a long time ago.
<<<I was going to suggest that when you have calmed down, you
might explore what they are doing.>>>
Screwing innocent people over. "Throwing the baby out with the bathwater,"
as they admit.
<<<Then I thought, maybe you are calm, but you still don't like it. If you
are open to it, please learn more about what they do. I respect your right to
speak your mind. I would only ask that you use you mind when you speak.
Painting them as fascists and Nazis is beneath you,>>>
No, it is being honest. Fascists usually have one GIGANTIC "cause." Each
individual fighting that cause is less than the sum of their parts. They
dedicate their lives to fighting their cause. If innocents are damaged,
they are simply causalities of a greater battle. They claim things such as
"the ends justify the means," or that sometimes you have to "throw the baby
out with the bathwater." Both of these philosophies are stated on the MAPS
site, and repeatedly in groups such as SPAM-L. They ARE fascists, and
telling the truth is not beneath me, just as destroying innocent people's
lives through vile lies are not beneath them.
<<<I know that you could do
Thanks for the pep-talk.
<<<What I would rather is have you really look around and learn and if
you still feel that same, fine.>>>
I have done that. I still feel the same. I'm glad that's fine with you.
<<<Fight away. Learn more about them and if
that changes your mind, great. If that justifies what you belive, great
too. You can start here at http://I.wont.advertise.dictatorships.or.their.websites.on.my.page.com
and http://www.really.I.won't.com you want.>>>
I have studied each of them, thoroughly. They spout out the same rhetoric
MAPS does. It's nonsense.
<<<Everyting here was said with respect for you and with sincerity.>>>
<<<Unfortunaitly, it may also have been said with spelling and punctuation
Ditto. I didn't take very long writing this. Please forgive any
<<<You can quote any or all of this email as long as you present that
I am looking to promote understanding, not take sides.>>>
If I asked 300 people whether or not you were siding with MAPS, 300 of them
would say, "yes."
<<<I do wish you the best.>>>
"Where EVERYONE is normal, because NOBODY is sane!"
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN! I want to know what you think! Was the man behind this email siding with MAPS, or was I judging him unfairly? Send all of your thoughts, and responses, to firstname.lastname@example.org!
All portions of this update written by Alex Sandell (the stuff in bold and italics) is copyright ©2000 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved] and may not be used without permission. If it IS used without permission, I'll sue you, your parents, your parents' parents and your little kitty.
PS - The next update on this page will NOT be about MAPS. Just thought you'd like to know.
Back to the table of brains
Back to the mind-map.