A lot of bloggers and web properties are making hay of the 30th anniversary of Gary Thurek's unpopular email sent to all the users on the ARPAnet.

However unpleasant Gary's message was, it doesn't meet the standard test for spam.

The standard test for spam relates to four critieria: 

  • Anonymous – no. Gary did not hide that he sent the email in question
  • Bulk – yes. Gary did send the message to many users.
  • Irrelevant – no.  Gary did send the email to people who were obviously users of PDP computers and would therefore likely be in a position to appreciate the improvement at DEC that he was promoting.
  • Inappropriate – no. The message is quite appropriate.

So on these four counts, Gary's action is only 25% of the spam definition. Here's a picture of me with Gary at last year's Interop (I was in the Sendio booth).

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