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Hosing the Hoaxes

Monday, June 10, 1996 by Dave Winer.

Remember Good Times? The virus hoax that refuses to die. Every few months the virus rears its head on some mailing list, and people waste hours if not days trying to calm the discussion that ensues. This has been going on for years! Amazing.

Hey -- as long as there are Internet newcomers the hoaxes will continue. Or as long as oldbies don't have a concise way of quelling the discussion. I'd like to suggest one way.

If you're worried about a computer virus, turn on your TV, radio, or buy a newspaper, or check in at a news oriented website like www.cnn.com. Turn to professional journalists who can check facts and talk to experts. You cannot trust email for this kind of news. Discuss it the old fashioned way, use a telephone. Please don't use email to talk about viruses. Thanks!

Try pasting the previous paragraph into a mailing list that's gone into a panic about a net-based virus.

One more thing, when you pass on an email containing a virus warning you are unwittingly becoming part of the prank. And eventually it won't be a joke. Like the boy who cried wolf, a real emergency can be missed. And someday someone will promote a hoax that's so scary and sounds so real that it could really impact our bandwidth.

Protect our net by staying calm.

Don't forget to breathe!


Dave Winer

PS: In Picky Crabb, 6/7/96, I spoke a little Italian. A couple of corrections. Pezzonovante is one word, it means 90 caliber -- a big gun or big shot. The senators that played a central role in The Godfather were definitely pezzonovante, in their own minds, of course. Buono sera means good night, not good day. It was also the name of the businessman that Don Corleone tells to take a hike. A double-entendre. Coool!

PPS: Check out Michael Markman's comments on The Godfather at http://www.scripting.com/davenet/mail/msg51.html.

© Copyright 1994-2004 Dave Winer. Last update: 2/5/07; 10:50:05 AM Pacific. "There's no time like now."