This Might be Real?

Last week, I had one of those embarrassing moments you have years after turning bits and pieces of your job responsibility over to others. I forgot how something worked. No, I didn’t forget the network password or the code to the server room door. I forgot how spam works.

Specifically, I forgot how our spam filtering service works.

It’s OK. I forgive myself. This is about the 5th or 6th spam filtering service we’ve used since it was my job to choose and configure one.

I was made aware of this fact when I noticed that I wasn’t getting certain emails that I had been expecting. It was a weird deal. I am a member of an organization that takes a bunch of surveys. “Why would you join such an organization?” I hear you ask. Actually, it’s a pretty respectable research group. I won’t say which one, but a lot of people pay a lot of money to get the reports that are generated from the research. I don’t have that kind of money to spend, so I trade a few several a big bunch of minutes to complete surveys and then I get the research reports for free. Well, some of them. In any case, I was getting the reports just fine but I hadn’t received a survey.

They called.

This is Bruno from enforcement at (name withheld for my safety). Do you remember agreeing to complete the surveys we send you? You do. Great. So, how’s come you ain’t completed any since October? ‘’Cuz, ya know, those surveys ain’t free.

Bruno gave me a few options: Check my spam folder, stop receiving the surveys, start paying for the surveys, or maybe Bruno would stop by the next time he is in my town.

I check my spam filter daily, Bruno. I really do. But, I’ll look into this.

Silly me. I thought that the spam filter list I check every morning was the list of spam that had been filtered out of my email. No. The list I see each morning is the stuff that the eggheads at our spam-filtering service aren’t sure is spam. Things they think might be real.

For you technical folks out there, each piece of email is given a score from 1 to 10. A score of 1 to, I don’t know, remember, I gave this to someone else to do, let’s say 5, is considered real email. Email with a score between 5 and 7 is sent to me for further review. Anything with a score over 7 goes straight to Hell. My research reports apparently scored under 5. The surveys clocked in at 7.2, so our email administrator only had to wade part way into the river Styx to retrieve them. If it had been scored 8 or higher, he would have had to fight the Hydra, too. Legend has it that dipping oneself in that river gives you certain greater than mortal powers. This is how network admins survive in large organizations.

The domain of the research company has been added to the whitelist, the safe-senders, the list of people who can send me anything. All is right with the world, Bruno is home enjoying WWE reruns and I am back answering questions.

Below is a sample of the kind of thing that ends up in my spam filter each day. Again, this is only the stuff that the spam filtering folks think might be spam. They aren’t sure. This stuff is, according to our anti-spam service, not nearly as bad as “Please take a few minutes to tell us about your storage usage.

51 thoughts on “This Might be Real?

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  1. I wouldn’t be too embarrassed since you found the surveys, Dan. It is interesting to hear more about your job and how even someone in your position may need reminders or updates on process changes. Welcome to the many who are in this group. . . Hahaha! :D

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wow – enjoyed this – and I actually was telling my husband about your other post – and hope he reads it – it was the one about the ads and how you had already gotten certain items they were still sending you ads for – – because he had that happen to him with an item. Just wanted to share that – and your humor is always enjoyable (like Bruno is back home enjoying… – lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Last week, I accidentally marked a bunch of WP things as spam. At least, I assume I did. I stopped getting Deb’s posts, then I noticed I didn’t get the young poet, and I wondered why Marian and Gary hadn’t posted — I immediately jumped to conclusions of conspiracy how I do. Eventually I decided to research my spam. No idea what I clicked, or perhaps what kitty pawed, but I had to fix it. I’m not exactly skilled at these things, and I am the most tech-savvy person in the house. (Thank tacos the boy comes to visit regularly!)
    There are a lot of things I previously did regularly that I no longer think about — the human brain has a real use it or lose it storage issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The interesting thing about the brain though is what it chooses to lose. I mean, I still remember how to mess with the carburetor on my 1977 Dodge pickup, a skill I hardly need these days. The new fangled toaster the Mrs bought has a ‘make it a little darker’ button that I can’t remember how to use from one Sunday to the next. I think there’s a blog post in this comment. Thanks for the inspiration :-)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just recently had to reconnect with a blogger whose email I had been getting for a long time. I haven’t touched anything on WP for months, and yet this one disappeared. It’s hard to tell. I think “oh, she’s taking a break” and then zzz


  4. I’m so glad you got that sorted! I would not like to receive a blog update from your editor saying, ” Bruno paid a visit and thankfully you’re not swimming with fishes, but you won’t be typing for awhile, and just to remind you to fill out those surveys Bruno signed your casts with a reminder.”

    My brain has gotent so selective about what it’s keeping I have to write myself notes all the time!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We get SO much spam, and unfortunately I cannot leave our work setting tightened because potential clients send us image solicited. I really resent the sex stuff. I’m not a prude, but they are always asking me for blow jobs so IF they are going to send me spam at least get my sex right…. and I can’t put “those” words in because my oldest brother frequently sends me the funniest emails with any one of the possible words in them that might stop spam. BTW Dan, I have turned more people onto your page.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment and the advertising Katie. I actually have certain critical accounts send a copy of emails to my personal address to avoid the spam filter. I’ve have a couple of times where important stuff gets caught due to the subject line. Companies use so many domains these days, it’s hard to whitelist everyone. Wanting to be “open” and protected is very difficult.


  6. Dan,
    It is always a ‘thrill’ to see what filters are working or not working as intended. Technology keeps changing – just like the stuff we intend to send through technology. Often in my particular case we have a bunch of filter rules that become obsolete over time. Some other intermediate service in the process flow changes, or the input data changes, and suddenly it is almost working. Just not quite working in all cases. I have resigned myself to calling my psychic friend any time someone tells me I should have called them yesterday. Happy Monday !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Speaking from the point of view that my brain is so stuffed that every day NORMAL trivia flies right on by me, if I were you, I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself. I find that because I concentrate on some areas of my brain more so then others, the others get rather mushy. So IF you are not used to be doing something and then you are staring at it dead in the eye, of course your mind GOES BLANK. Welcome to the human race and um gracing with age. Sorry but I had to throw that in there. I KNOW what has happened to my brain. Just sayin’ …. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Anything with a score over 7 goes straight to Hell. The surveys clocked in at 7.2, so our email administrator only had to wade part way into the river Styx to retrieve them.” This made me chuckle, Dan, thanks for that!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Have you ever received a call from someone who you think is not speaking a native American accent? I mean he is trying hard but you figure out he might be from a different country altogether. A lot of call centers are here in India and we normally do these survey calls as well. I used to make calls to Singapore, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong for Gallup. They believed I was calling them from the States. I’ll share a funny incident here. One of my colleagues not used to calls was so scared while calling a CTO in Japan. He said he was calling from United Space of America (instead of States). The Japanese guy thought he just got a call from NASA. He was so excited, but he later realized that we’re just technical survey guys calling to fill up surveys. He just hung up disappointed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s funny Sharukh. I can see that happening.

      I try to avoid the surveys if I can. These days, the ones that aren’t from the States (or where they claim to be from) are pretty easy to spot. They mess up quickly if you go off topic. For instance, I usually ask about the weather.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think the only positive thing about Spam is what Paul says. The serve is fine. Otherwise my Spam folder is usually loaded with so much crap that I empty it without looking. It once caused me a lot of problems, though, when the project manager sent me an email that went into the Spam folder. A few days later we had a meeting and he was very angry that I had ignored his mail.

    Liked by 1 person

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