Electronic Chain Letters and Mindless Forwards are SPAM!!
Chain letters ask their recipients to spread e-mail by forwarding them to as many 
as possible.  In chain letters and e-mails, there are stated "benefits" for forwarding 
them, and there are often stated consequences, as well, for NOT forwarding them.  
Chain Letters and e-mails do not have to be get-rich or good luck schemes either. 
They cover all kinds of topics.  Never forward chain letters and forwarded and 
reforwarded e-mails with huge lists of cc's STILL in the message body area! 
(cc's are lists of user e-mails showing who the e-mail was forwarded to and from)!!

Chain E-Mails in my view also include those messages opening with an enticement 
containing positive topics, such as good things that happened, things that teach 
something, things that produce a benefit like money or luck, and things involving 
a web page that the sender liked, YET are FOLLOWED by a REQUEST to
Forward the message!!!  For these type mails, I simply will NOT participate !!

Mindless Forwards are those unlike chain letters that demand multiple reforwarding.
These instead contain e-mail attachments that appear embedded with further internal
attachments that have to be opened completely to read the actual message!!  
(I once got one with 6 attachments!)  Another characteristic of Mindless Forwards
are those containing huge lists of users (I call it the "cc" list) above the message!
The senders of these do not bother to strip the "cc-lists" off before forwarding!

My "take" on Chain E-Mails and those which I call "Forwarded Forwards":  

      Follow the Golden Rule!!  Treat others as you would like to be treated -
      with respect!  Send something beneficial,  but PLEASE don't ask that it 
      be forwarded!!  The decision to forward is NOT the sender's!! Most people 
      appreciate a personal e-mail meant just for them!   Most busy people (like me, 
      can't you tell??) do not like to be recipients of chain and mass-forwarded e-mails!!  
      A lot of them have included layers of attachments filled with forwarding statements 
      that do not even contain the message!  This is the depths of poor Netiquette and
      disrespect by senders who, by the nature of their e-mails, force recipients to open a
      stream of cascaded e-mail attachments,  just to access the message primarily 
      intended to be read in the first place!    

      Blindly sending on e-mails that have been heavily forwarded, and worse, 
      leaving the huge cc-list on the main text, is infuriating and offensive!!  
      By "Following the leader" as a "mindless forwarder", one may lose friends!

      Be courteous to the citizens of cyberspace and they will welcome your e-mail!  

      On the other hand,  if one sends along chain and Mindlessly Forwarded e-mail,  
      one might end up being hated and ostracized; or, one's e-mail address might get 
      blocked by those who don't want re-forwarded and/or chain-letter style e-mails.

      Nightscribe's Advice on forwarding e-mail is condensed to a few simple rules:

     1.   Strip all forwarding cc lists out of the e-mail body.   Good E-mail is personal,
           (uniquely sent to one recipient) so why would one want to make it look like 
           the sender is poking a head out of a noisy party and saying: "Come on in, 
           we're having a good time!"  I only want my recipients to read e-mail from 
           me, not sharing it with a mob of "Forwarditis Victims" cc'd all over the e-mail!

     2.   If you must "be efficient" by sending to your list all at once, then use the blind
           copy (bcc) method. So the users don't see your e-mail list in the forwarded e-mail!

     3.   Personalize the message by preceding it with a short note on why it is sent.
           The reader will appreciate the message if he/she knows the sender cares by 
           selecting the message for his/her own enjoyment and/or benefit!

     4.   NEVER ask recipients to send it on (forward it). That starts the "Reforwarding
           of forwards and the chain mail cycle all over again.   There are a great deal of  
           people afflicted with the condition I call "Forwarditis".  When an e-mail 
           requests the action to "pass it on", "send it" or "forward it",      I can almost
           guarantee these people thus afflicted, will send the e-mail all over the internet, 
           again slowing the Net down all the more because of it.

     5.   Don't forget to strip off the "Hotmail", "Yahoo" or "ICQ" ad footers often 
           found at the bottom of mass forwards.  Example  forwarding footer ads:  
           "Get your FREE E-Mail at www.hotmail.com"  Or: 
           "Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail - Free email you can access from anywhere!
           http://mail.yahoo.com/"  YUKK!! Such ads are simply  revolting, so get rid of
           them when you forward an e-mail sent to you with these included at the bottom! 

     6.   Remember, "epidemics" of re-forwarded  e-mail are part of a game one should
           NOT want to be part of.  Simply delete all of these kinds of e-mails AND don't 
           forward them! "Re Forwarded Forwarded" e-mails show evidence of having 
           been packed into a semi rig dumpster carrier, and spewed into all the neighbors
           yards!!  All who are connected to the internet are automatically included within
           the growing huge population called "the cyber community".   So, don't litter
           up cyberspace with Chain Mail and Mindless Reforwarded Forwards! 

     7.  Think it over before forwarding Forwarded e-mail or Chain e-mails.  
          When in doubt, DON'T, especially those including big "cc lists"!

     8.   Another way to be sure it is OK to forward a mail, is send a preliminary
           single line personal e-mail, and ask the intended recipients (Including
           friends!) if they wouldn't mind getting forwarded e-mail.   I think it is a very 
           respectful  thing to do, to ask first.  If the reply says "No Way" or contains 
           another negative response, by ALL Means do NOT follow-up with forwarded 
           mail !!!!!!!!!!!!  If receiving yes answers,  then it is likely there is still trust on the
           part of the intended recipients, so then forwarded mail is allowed to be sent.
           However,  I strongly encourage the implementation of the courtesies outlined 
           above,  BEFORE forwarding them;  if one simply "forwards the forward", 
           then I can assure that the "electronic welcome mat" will soon be removed, 
           and the senders of such mail may also become regarded with contempt, along 
           with those sending commercial SPAM mail,  HOAX Mail, Chain Mail, etc.

     9.   Summary:  Chain Mail stinks, especially Reforwarded e-mail with attached 
           forwarding messages, begging fthe reader for more forwarding to occur!!!

    10.   Disclaimer:  If on the other hand, there are buddies that love to exchange
           chain letters and forwarded reforwards,  that is their option AND risk :) 

Now that you have seen my comments and advice on this topic, there are some 
solid web resources on Chain E-Mail and Forwards.  Because I have found 
via search engines many "billions" of web pages on unsolicited e-mail,  chain 
e-mails and e-mail forwarding, I have selected only sites that have the most 
relevance.  Why would I want to waste your time, like I would if I forward the 
forwarded e-mails?? 

OK- here are a few links, then two great quotes on the topic.

Go to school on Chain Letters at Rutgers Web
EFF Chain Letter Archive
Forwarding Hysteria
E-Mail Facts of Life
How to Defeat a Chain Letter
Anti-Chain Letter on 7 Types of Chain Letters
Copy of an Anti-Chain Mail "Chain Mail"
DOE on Electronic Chain Mail
DOE Chain Mail List of examples
A dissected Chain Letter
IBM on Stopping Chain Letters and Hoaxes
How to React to Chain letters
Chain Letter Protection Pact
Chain Letter Dilemna
One Small Effort to Turn the Tide of CyberJunk

A QUOTE on Electronic Chain Mail by DOE ASSIST:

"ALWAYS consider any message that recommends universal forwarding as suspect
especially if it also includes a central target address.  To our knowledge, there has never been a 
legitimate use of this type of communication (and it is illegal to do this through the U.S. mail).  
While you may have concerns that a needy charity may be losing some benefit, the damage from 
these messages is far greater than the minimal possibility that the note is legitimate.  So, as a rule, 

Another Quote From Chain Letter Central:

"Send Chain Letters Responsibly: This may come as a great shock, but many people hate getting 
chain letters. Please do not send chain letters to someone who does not wish to receive them. Sending 
chain letters to people who haven't requested them can cause loss of friendship, profane e-mail responses, 
and ostracism. Generally, chain letters annoy the bejeebers out of people. So think a minute or two before 
clicking that send button!"

Amen on these sage quotes!

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