Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 85

would be funny to send a false letter of resignation for a new university official. They also circulated demands for tuition to other students and letters implying that the official was gay. Administrators had begun acting on the resignation before they found out it was a fake.

In another bizarre incident, readers of alt.fan.douglas-adams, the USENET fan club for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams, started circulating rumors that genuine postings from Adams -- who occasionally reads the newsgroup -- were fake. Then an actual fake Douglas Adams started sending abusive notes to readers. The real Douglas Adams had a terrible time straightening out the mess.

Forging email is just as wrong as forging a paper letter. Forged email is also fairly easy to trace. Bad idea.

Chain letters

Have you ever gotten one of those letters promising you millions of dollars if you just send a few dollars to a list of people, but threatening you with hideous death within a year if you don't? Those things circulate in cyberspace as well. The best-known is a long, rambling letter signed by "Dave Rhodes." It appears periodically in random discussion groups and mailboxes.

Chain letters are forbidden on BITNET and on most commercial network services. If you receive a copy of the "Dave Rhodes" letter, or any other chain letter, don't follow the instructions! Forward a copy to your system administrator or postmaster and request that action be taken against the sender. You can also reply to the sender yourself and tell him or her that sending chain letters is not acceptable network behavior.

Electronic hoaxes

Some people don't stop with forging email from real people. Some people construct entire fictional companies and publicize them on the net.

A recent example that received a lot of publicity was the Sexonix hoax. A fellow named Joey Skaggs announced to the media that he had set up


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