Chain Letter Reply Template

I hate chain letters. The underlying conceit of a chain letter is to make the sender feel guilty or afraid for not sending it on, to make the receiver feel annoyed at the sender for involving them, and to perpetuate that cycle ad nauseam. It may seem harmless at first touch, but if you forward one you are being manipulated by the original author. Even if you just send them on but don’t feel anything, some of the people you target, or indirectly target, are going to have a bad day or two because of it, because of you. So just don’t send them on: no-one’s hurt; it doesn’t cost you anything; and you’ve saved some of your bandwidth. It wasn’t that funny or clever anyway. Just full of platitudes or bad info.

I try to kill these damn things; to stop them everytime I see one (cue rousing music, maybe some kilted people thrusting swords in the air, general cheering, and exeunt all stage left (pursued by bear)).

My standard reply to chain letters:

Hi So-andSo,

Please don’t be offended, this is no reflection on you, but please don’t include me on any chain letters. I don’t like them. I find the concept underlying them offensive and divisive. If I had a religion, they’d be against it!

The wikipedia page is pretty evenhanded about them: and this is good mickey-take:

Something lovely and generally ignoring the whole chain letter thing so hopefully there’s no bitter aftertaste.

If it’s a virus/worm/hoax email of any kind, I look it up on Virus Encyclopedia, Sophos, or Hoax Slayer and email the sender with the ref and an explanation.