Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 86

the world's first virtual reality sex provider, called "Sexonix." He actually rented a booth at a Canadian trade show to show off his wares. Then he claimed that the Canadian government had seized all of his hardware and software on his way to the show. He posted a press release to The WELL claiming that the seizure had destroyed his business. The trouble was, he had no hardware, no software, and no business except that of fooling people.

In this case, the worst thing that happened was probably that the people who were fooled felt -- well, foolish. But it's not hard to imagine stories that could have far more dangerous consequences. Hoaxes are bad Netiquette.

Rumors

A close cousin to the hoax is the rumor. Two rumors that weren't invented maliciously have gained special prominence on the net. The first is the Craig Shergold story. Here's the true part: A number of years ago, Craig Shergold, a young English boy, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He decided that before he died, he wanted to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for receiving the most get-well cards ever. He succeeded. Better yet, a wealthy American had the idea that maybe Craig's cancer wasn't inoperable. He paid for Craig to see specialists in America. It turned out that the type of cancer had been misdiagnosed, the tumor was removed, and when last heard from, Craig was fine.

Well, almost fine. Somewhere along the way, Craig's request for get-well cards mutated into a request for business cards. And the news that Craig was fine didn't spread as fast as the requests. Craig's mailbox has been piled full of unwanted business cards for three or four years now. It's driving his mother crazy! If you see this story, please tell the well-intentioned person who passed it on that the cards are no longer wanted and Craig is well.

The other rumor that resurfaces periodically is the modem tax story. Several years ago, the U.S. Congress did discuss imposing a special "telecommunications tax" on modems. A call to action was posted and


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