( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante
May 15, 2009 12:18 PM   Subscribe

What's the oldest recorded use of the Spam Solutions Form Response?

I've seen a boing-boing post on February 2004, and an AC slashdot posting a day earlier. Was this the first sighting, or is this just an example of USENET culture imported into the web?

Also, any precursors of this joke form response, spam-related or not, are welcome.
posted by pwnguin to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Here is a Flame Form from 1994. I know I saw this, or something much like it, many, many times on Usenet. It would appear to me that the example you linked to was derived from the earlier usenet version.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 1:33 PM on May 15, 2009

I am astounded that Google Groups doesn't have an example of the spam form posted to usenet!
posted by jepler at 1:56 PM on May 15, 2009

Prior art search, by chance?
posted by bz at 2:03 PM on May 15, 2009

Response by poster: jepler: "I am astounded that Google Groups doesn't have an example of the spam form posted to usenet!"

I hadn't thought of google groups search. Here's a post from feb 4th 2004. Russian, but the form is in English.
posted by pwnguin at 2:18 PM on May 15, 2009

Response by poster: bz: "Prior art search, by chance?"

Kind of. Not for patents or anything stupid, just translating the form to a different technical problem.
posted by pwnguin at 2:20 PM on May 15, 2009

I know I frequently saw smaller versions of it as early as 2000, probably earlier, in the Usenet group news.admin.net-abuse.email. Seemed to be an in-joke already then, so it probably had already been around for some time.
posted by ctmf at 5:42 PM on May 15, 2009

Actually, looking in on NANAE on google groups, it looks like a lot of the names I recognize from 2000 are still there. If you ask there, someone might remember.
posted by ctmf at 5:47 PM on May 15, 2009

Best answer: I don't think it was a joke, but Heinlein sent his fans FAQ form letter responses.
posted by GPF at 6:36 AM on May 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I wrote it. Here's a link to my original post on December 3, 2003:


As you can see it predates the AC post you found from Feb. 2004.

There was a similar form circulating on USENET in 1994 that Antidisestablishmentarianist posted a link to above. That was a very good guess because I was thinking of that form when I was writing this one.
posted by lapsed.catholic at 8:08 PM on May 18, 2009 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Interesting; you join specifically to post this reply?
posted by pwnguin at 6:25 PM on May 19, 2009

Well I had to after you posted this, didn't I? It's good a reason as any.

I've had so much fun with this form. I search for it sometimes when I'm bored; it still keeps popping up in all kinds of different places and people continue to react strongly to it. Some people love it and others get really upset. It seems to surface in anti-spam circles a lot. People are also writing spoofs of this form about non-spam-related things.

I was surprised by its popularity; most of the memes that I propagate do not succeed as well as this one has, that's for sure. I would have done a better job on it if I'd known. It's getting pretty old anyway; it predates CAPTCHAs.
posted by lapsed.catholic at 8:36 PM on May 19, 2009

Response by poster: People are also writing spoofs of this form about non-spam-related things.

Indeed, I'm working on one myself. As I dig deeper into google there appears to be a number of these, mostly in referential form of "Your post advocates a ( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante to $FOO" where foo is things like DNS, Somali pirates, web 3.0, political correctness, etc.
posted by pwnguin at 1:38 AM on May 20, 2009

Best answer: This was the other source of inspiration-

Dear ... ,
Thank you for your manuscript on the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.
The first mistake is on: Page ... Line ... This invalidates the proof.
Professor E. M. Landau

That and about 500 Slashdot posts describing the same 50 bad ideas.
posted by lapsed.catholic at 9:33 AM on May 20, 2009

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