September 16, 2002
1:08 PM   Subscribe

What are the ethics of forwarding an e-mail you were not mean to receive? What if it is sure to humiliate the sender? What if it ends up entertaining untold numbers of people around the globe?
posted by davidfg (35 comments total)
Should say "...meant to receive." I need an editor.
posted by davidfg at 1:12 PM on September 16, 2002

The Brad the Cad story, which the article alludes to, was much more hilarious (and not coincidentally, more raunchy.)

As for the poor woman involved, I think the best thing to do in these circumstances is go away for about five days. When you come back, everyone will be talking about something else. Really, it's that easy.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:14 PM on September 16, 2002

I remember reading this on "the site that shall not be named" and thinking how amazing it was to be witnessing it a mere 4 days after it was written, and with the full email headers intact. I've never seen a meme propagate that quickly before.
posted by machaus at 1:15 PM on September 16, 2002

so, did Tripp Murray end up "getting any?" ; )
posted by stifford at 1:21 PM on September 16, 2002

What are the ethics of forwarding an e-mail you were not mean to receive?

I think they're somewhat along the lines of publishing an e-mail you were not meant to receive in a national newspaper.
posted by toothless joe at 1:25 PM on September 16, 2002

"If you want to go out, perhaps we can get him to pay for drinks at the Park. Since we have not slept together, he will of course be trying to impress me and will, therefore, do anything I ask."

Wasn't that in The Rules?
posted by RylandDotNet at 1:27 PM on September 16, 2002

My brother forwarded me a similar email from some woman here in Chicago who was far more shallow and backstabbing than this; she went so far as to rate the guy's looks and actions throughout their first date. She emailed it to a friend, who emailed to some of her friends -- one of whom was a friend of the guy in question. Wish I could find it...
posted by me3dia at 1:44 PM on September 16, 2002

I thought the best part was that no one had an issue with the guy falling asleep during sex. Are we that overworked?
posted by tommasz at 1:50 PM on September 16, 2002

tommasz, maybe she was just lousy in bed.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:53 PM on September 16, 2002

me3dia, that highly entertaining email you're referring to is here
posted by h00dini at 1:54 PM on September 16, 2002

crash your right by this quote, "'John wake up.' At which point he shot up saying, 'What'd I miss.'" As a stranger to the circle of people involved in thiswho found the e-mail amusing, like John said, "What'd I miss?"
posted by thomcatspike at 2:06 PM on September 16, 2002

If she were dating a Congressman, Price Waterhouse Coopers would be indicted for something by now.
posted by DenOfSizer at 2:15 PM on September 16, 2002

This is, unfortunately, all too reminiscent of my own dating experiences in New York. One woman insisted on a Broadway (not off Broadway, either) show for the first date. I complied, and yes, I was screwed, but only metaphorically. Another tried to get me to buy dinner for her friends. (I wasn't some broker, I was just a nascent technology worker.) That, I declined.
posted by dhartung at 2:20 PM on September 16, 2002

It seems to reason that a girl desperate to get someone else to pay for her drinks before sleeping with him has a very good idea what a terrible lay she is.

Especially Mary. I nailed her and let me tell you, she was awful. There's no way I'd call her back, much less sleep w/ her again!
posted by kileregreen at 2:26 PM on September 16, 2002

That is, indeed, the one, h00dinie -- thanks!

My favorite passage:
So, question is, where do I stand on the whole outlook of Mr. Casey O'Brien and the date...The car, the money, the job, the cute apartment, the boat-which by the way only seats 6 people, so I really don't consider that really amazing, his mannerism and his great kiss will probably lock in another date but...I can tell you now unless he cuts his hair and sends me gifts, it won't lead me to seek anything more than my 1st 30 year old FRIEND (Oh by the way, I think he's only 29, but still, I'm rounding up). Plus, the summer is just around the corner and guys are EVERYWHERE, I need to keep the options open and my schedule free to lock in some other great summer flings...
posted by me3dia at 2:31 PM on September 16, 2002

Reminds me of this bit of clever dialogue from Sports Night:

Isaac: A couple of things: I am not quitting and I am not getting fired. Not today and probably not tomorrow. Let me add, Dana, that things I say in my office stay in my office!
Dana: Natalie's my, my second in command. She's the only one I told!
Natalie: Jeremy's my boyfriend! He's the only one I told.
Jeremy: I told many, many people.
posted by poseur at 3:32 PM on September 16, 2002

Yet another advantage of public key cryptography. It's that much harder to encrypt something to the wrong recipient and then go ahead and mail it to the same, yet still erroneous, recipient.

He he he he he.

This is why I won't touch address autocomplete w/ a stick.
posted by stet at 3:32 PM on September 16, 2002

davidfg: "What are the ethics of forwarding an e-mail you were not meant to receive?"

Does posting it on an incredibly popular website get the same answer?

For me this is no more than gossip. Same rules. Same ethics. And poseur's quote sums the situation perfectly: there is always a Jeremy.
posted by ?! at 3:53 PM on September 16, 2002

A woman who thought she was replying just to my [relative] about a message from me he had forwarded to her, also sent a reply to me. I was interested to find out that, although he is married with three kids, she was offering him something special for his birthday, and that she would do *anything* for him.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:56 PM on September 16, 2002

?!: touché

Mo: so, did you let sleeping dogs lie?
posted by stinglessbee at 4:15 PM on September 16, 2002

I thought the best part was that no one had an issue with the guy falling asleep during sex. Are we that overworked?

Maybe she should let him go on top for awhile. Sometimes you need to throw a curveball into the mix so you don't get bored.
posted by The God Complex at 4:23 PM on September 16, 2002

While this particular example (and the "Casey" story) seems like just desserts, what I fear the most isn't the "reply-instead-of-forward" mistake, but rather the less-frequently-discussed (I think) "forwarding-the-entire-thread" accident. I don't believe I've ever actually followed through, but I've caught myself in the middle of lazily forwarding (instead of paraphrasing) an entire thread just before I sent it complete with older comments the recipient-to-be just had no business knowing.

(Wow - that's a lot of hyphens and parentheticals.)
posted by Sinner at 5:01 PM on September 16, 2002

people who fwd emails like this are clearly leading very uneventful lives.
posted by t r a c y at 5:04 PM on September 16, 2002

t r a c y, some people just like to laugh at the unfortunate turn of events that befall others.

Plus the guy fell asleep! Come on!
posted by The God Complex at 5:18 PM on September 16, 2002

Umm yeah. So does anyone else have any funny forwarded e-mails for me to read?
posted by monkeyman at 5:19 PM on September 16, 2002

people who fwd emails like this are clearly leading very uneventful lives

Probably true. Realizing what a flake she was and ceasing contact should have been enough. Actions beyond that risk having others think that you'll do the same to them.
posted by HTuttle at 5:28 PM on September 16, 2002

She might not deserve to have her email forwarded around the world; just getting her friends there and then having the guy refuse to buy them drinks would have been enough. I've only dated one girl who expected, or, as far as I know, even wanted, for me to pay for her meal on the first date. Please, let's move out of the 50s.
posted by bingo at 6:38 PM on September 16, 2002

I still remember that three-way call back in the sixth grade. Brian was secretly listening in, and we thought Mara had hung up and proceeded to talk shit about her.
She cursed us out and it hurt our friendship tremendously.

That's the thing about new technologies - it takes a while for humans and their social habits to adapt.

(To this day, after a conference call, I always hang up and call the other person back. Just to make sure no one's "still on the line.")
posted by Fofer at 9:10 PM on September 16, 2002

"What are the ethics of forwarding an e-mail you were not mean to receive?"

I think this is a job for Angela Gunn.

"There are no hard-and-fast "rules" in private threads—they may involve consensus building, clarification, conspiracy, venting of steam, or just good old-fashioned name-calling. You need to use good judgment, though, about the reliability of your correspondent. Is this the sort of person who blurts out anything that happens to be in his head? Is he the sort of person you couldn't trust to keep a whispered aside whispery?

"If you feel that a confidence might be betrayed in a work situation, you should evaluate who might be harmed by that betrayal. "

That about sums it up. Only talk or write intimately with someone who you can trust... OR you could just post it to your weblog and cut your own throat.

By the way, Gunn's personal site indicates Yahoo Internet Life is going down the tubes. That's a shame. It was a good zine, I thought, though it went a bit south about when she left it the first time and never really rebounded even when she returned.

I enjoyed it for a time, but when I lost my job a year or so ago my subscription with YIL was one of the first things to go during that downsizing period of my life. Besides, I mentioned once here in MeFi that I liked YIL and everybody made fun of me so I could also attribute it to peer pressure.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:33 PM on September 16, 2002

FWIW, ZachsMind, YIL went under this past June.
posted by Fofer at 10:44 PM on September 16, 2002

Ethics: byword of the control freak.
posted by mischief at 4:46 AM on September 17, 2002

Didn't there used to be a word for a woman who would trade items of value for sexual favors? I'll think of it eventually....
posted by Floydd at 5:47 AM on September 17, 2002

Point taken Floydd. The kicker here is that apparently she's not even a good one... what with her "partner" falling asleep... along with the fact that she's certainly not discreet.

(In the end her little mis-click sure saved ol' Tripp a lot of money and frustration.)
posted by Fofer at 6:36 AM on September 17, 2002

Reading the article again, I'm surprised by the amount of personal detail contained within. Is it really necessary to post the name of the company each of the parties works at... the floor number of the precise building... etc? I mean, what value does that bring to the report, other than to potentially expose the two players to more ridicule, embarrassment, and/or harrassment? The whole article seems leering and snide, as opposed to provocative and perhaps, informative. There's a compelling issue at the core here (ie: the Internet's potential for social missteps on a global scale) but this reporter chose the schoolboy approach. Is this "National Post" a Canadian tabloid or something?
posted by Fofer at 6:42 AM on September 17, 2002

Is this "National Post" a Canadian tabloid or something?

yes. and it fits my kitty litter pans like a dream...! i'd never shell out a penny for it mind you. i steal it from sleeping businessmen, during rush hour subway rides.
posted by t r a c y at 2:38 PM on September 17, 2002

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