If you can imagine working in the office of a school for gifted, troubled, and criminally insane children, inside an international airport, you can get a taste of what it is like to do support for Slashdot. I've worked here around 5 years now and have seen some crazy things. From a guy showing up at the office and offering me a car if I let him "reverse engineer Rob Malda's life", to people shaking and on the verge of tears because they got a Slashdot sticker. I was really tempted to take the car by the way but the thought of Rob spending his last few weeks in a hole, while this guy lowered a bucket of lotion and water down to him once a day, made me feel bad. Most of my time is spent answering email. Most days I receive about 50. When it's busy I can get well over a hundred. As everyone knows, people are precisely 500% more rude and angry online than they are in real life. Something about not having to see the tears or dodge the fist of the person you are swearing at brings out the worst in some people. We decided it would be fun to go through some of the more 'interesting' mails we've got through the years as part of our 10 year anniversary. Below you'll find some of my favorite rants, conspiracy theories and tantrums. (CT: Don't forget to put in your charity bid for the EFF- time is almost up.)
Lets start out with the good. I hardly ever get mail telling me how good we are and I don't expect it. I do appreciate humor though. When I get a mail like this it makes my day.
On Thu, 24 Feb 2005, ******** wrote: "Hi all Found the culprit at the London site that got them all banned from Slashdot. He was running a spider across bloglines.com, and there was a link to slashdot (which it followed).... as he said "I should have known better"... he should have, he is a real techie.... The rest of the staff at that site have taken the user outside, stripped him naked, and are currently stoning him in my middle of Oxford Street.... I hope this is an adequate punishment, and you see it in your hearts to allow ********* to access your fine online publication again. Sorry for any problems this has caused, when I get down to that site next week, I hope there are some stones left for me to throw at him."
Sometimes we get mail that is obviously for someone else.
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 12:18:01 "I am very tired of your whining. John won custody of Brandon. There is no changing that. What makes you two think that I need Brandon to have a family? I have news for both of you I have my own kids. I don't need someone else's to complete my life. I could care less where he lives. Whether it be with Tammy or John it makes no difference to me. As a matter of fact I only have 2 kids because that is all I wanted. I sure did not need one that has a learning disability. So when you are sending out all your e-mails, letters and internet crap leave me out of it. I am just a person in the middle of all this bologna. Don't assume that what you all want is what I ever wanted. I have my own life and my own career. I have my own identity. None of it revolves around any of you or Brandon." Have a nice day!
I can only hope that everything worked out for Brandon. Sometimes people just need to share with me what's going on in their lives.
Sat, 9 Apr 2005 22:11:16 (PDT) "please take ******* off mailing list I get slash-story on yahoo and msn do not need both , and use yahoo more a lot more thank you I am a good man who very well may die in jail for something I did not do because I must take a plea 4 years of cancer has taken all of my money I am taking Clindamycin hcl 150 mg 3 pills 4 times per day plus Cipro XR 1000 mg 1 per day Acidophilus 3pills per day ! These are the new ones just for the Lung deal Cymbalta 60 mg 1 times a day ( 6mo's) prednisone 60 mg per day-off now !(4yearsplus) singulair 10 mg 1 per day (3 years) ranitide300 mg 2 times per day (3years) mirtazapine 45 mg bed time (1.5years) clonazepam 1 mg 4 times per day (2.5 years ) Advir 250/50 2 times per day (2 years ) combivent inhaler b-1 2 or 3 times a day (3 years) Wow when you write it all ! How do I keep going ? 5 Years no SSI-SSA Paid in 20 years ? Plus I must be on a lung pump W/oxygen everynight or I could die at any time !!!!!!!! Was on 60mgs of Paxil and 60mgs of steroids at the same time for over 4 years it changed my personality 100% took myself off both even with a danger of taking much time off the end of my life !"
This brings us to my favorite type of mail, the crazies. They range from the mildly disturbed to schizophrenics. I honestly wish i got more of these.
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 2004 08:41:39 "I try to be very circumspect in the emails that I generate. Some of my contacts are personal friends and some are serious business contacts. I am sending this link because it reflects the hours of study that I have done (far less than the 10,000 that the author mentions). In the 1960's while being trained to go to Vietnam, I was taught that you never can understand your enemy till you understand his religion. This nation is in a war - not because we chose to be in the war - but because those on the other side believe that we have no right to exist and they are determined to destroy us and our way of life - simply because we do not share their religion. I will never try to FORCE anyone to believe as I believe. I will openly discuss the evidence that has made me believe as I do, and if you accept that evidence then we will be agreed. If I have accepted false evidence, or if my logic is flawed, you are my friend to show me a better way. But for others to determine that if I will not accept their religion, then they must kill me and destroy all that I have is completely repugnant to all humanity. Read, study, think and make decisions that are logical based upon available evidence. May you always walk with God."
Thursday 15 November 2001 06:33 pm "I'm writing you to express my concern as a citizen that our government has spent and is spending taxpayer dollars on research into implanting microchips into the human brain. With some of the horror stories coming out in books from authors like Cathy O'Brien and Brice Taylor--survivors of atrocious CIA mind-control experiments--the potential abuse of this technology is very alarming. Slashdot would do well to alert the public about this issue, an invasive and abuse plan to control people's very thoughts. The U.S. Air Force released a report in 1996 titled AIR FORCE 2025, which is mirrored on the Federation of American Scientists Web site at: http://www.fas.org/spp/military/docops/usaf/2025/v3c2/v3c2-4.htm [By the year 2025:] "The civilian populace will likely accept an implanted microscopic chips that allow military members to defend vital national interests." --Chapter 4 of Information Operations: A New War-Fighting Capability contained in Volume 3 of Air Force 2025: Final Report by the U.S. Department of Defense (1996) Air Force 2025 is the final report on a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense presented on June 17th 1996, and which seeks to identify the technologies and practices that will need to be implemented by the year 2025 in order for the United States to "remain the dominant air and space force in the 21st century." The report actually uses the term "brain chip" for the implantable microchips which can perform a number of functions such as satellite tracking at all times, personal information storage and retrieval, and behavior modification."
Wed, 03 Mar 2004 15:39:17 "What is your problem? I'm doing the best I fucking can. My whole existence is to do the right thing and make people happy. You are doing it too alright. I realize the whole world is focused on me right now, get over it. I appreciate many things in life as we all do. Just do the right thing, every single time."
About a third of all the mail I get is angry users. Most are civil, some are nasty and a few threaten me with bodily harm. Even people who aren't exactly sure what Slashdot is send me angry mail.
Mon, 01 Nov 2004 07:20:22 "Dear Whom ever! You people are absolute idoits. You mean to tell me that you ban new user who have only been using your service/server what ever the case maybe after approximately 5 minutes or so? If that is the you people do not understand the concept of customer service in the least! Period! Even though, I did not select the use of what ever the your website or service this is a example of the worst customer service of all time, bar none.(Pardoning the pun of course) If you have agreements with other companies that customize windows and special add-on programs as such, maybe what ever this issue is or is being caused by can be resolved. And you can make no mistake about it, I do not exactly what your service is, But I will not ever knowingly use your service again. And, secondly, I have also advised all the people I know online (which is many); due to fact I attend 2 universities online. Not, to use your service if they are using an version of SideBar or the like program. It is as I mentioned before, where it is a default issue with SideBar or some issue with yourselves; I am not sure and frankly, at this point I do not care. However, You might want to consider having an amendment made with or to the Sidebar group to correct the problem or If I may suggest possibly sending them an email explaining who and what your policies of usage are upon receiving any new requests online. Thank you and Good luck in the future."
On Wed, 1 Jun 2005, ***** A wrote: "All I did was drag the icon for your feed to my firefox menu bar. It has been removed. I didn't abuse anything. Go fuck yourselves, I'll bet it's the only action you minimum-wage, still-living-in-the-parents-basement, criticizing-the-industry-you-cant-make-a-living-in, whiny-assed geeks can get. Put down your officially licensed Obi-Wan Kenobi replica light saber from Star Wars episode IV (the original theatrical release!), forget about what Microsoft is doing for 30 minutes and go talk to a girl (a real one, not one you downloaded or inflated or built out of spare vacuum cleaner parts in your basement). If you can't drive fast enough, stay off the fucking freeway!"
On Wed, 15 Feb 2006, ***** wrote: "Fuck you and your karma you stupid buddhist fags. Fucking elitist prick bastards. I will just open another account. I will just troll more now because you guys pissed me off with your homo statements. Slashdot is fucking gay, the stories you post are fucking gay, the commentary is gay, all of you are gay. You are all a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals that like to post the most idiodic stories, and then the mods get mad and mod people down when they complain about the quality of stories. I've even had someone go as far as to say "Slashdot isn't for the news. It's for the commentary and discussions." What an assclown, if the stories suck then guess what? The comments are going to suck too. Besides, you guys get most of your stories from Digg and Google News anyways. You are all fucking worthless, I hope you all die and go to hell where you can make stupid rebuttals to Satan's posts and mod his comments "flamebait." Stupid cunts. By the way, ban my IP for all I care. There's plenty of computers at the library I can use to open new accounts to troll with. Your karma system is just something for your /. fanbois to jack off too (Ooh look, I got +5 Insightful, I must be a fucking genius!); it's completely worthless at stopping trolls from posting. I can't believe you make people pay for your site. So they can have a * next to their name and see the stories early. Wow! That really makes up for the lack of quality control on the front page (dup stories ALL the time, misleading headlines, misleading article summaries, mods letting stories through THEY think are interesting instead of the majority deciding... and so on) So I hope you are happy, you have gained another troll that will make sure your site gets lots of "Insightful" comments."
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 11:48:22 "When I try to log on, I get this message:
'Danger, Will Robinson! You didn't log in! You apparently put in the wrong password, or the wrong nickname. Either try again, or have your password mailed to you if you forgot your password. Logging in will allow you to post comments as yourself. If you don't log in, you will only be able to post as Anonymous Coward.'
I'm not Will Robinson! Can't you fuckers even keep track of users? Delete all my information now before you give it away to someone else! The bank fucked me like this I won't let you. Delete my info immediately or I will report you! On second thought you will fuck that up to just give me your adress so I know where to go to beat your ass!
I sent our address but he never showed up. For some people swearing and threatening me isn't enough. We had a banned user that I exchanged mail with at least a dozen times. It soon became clear that he wasn't interested in an explanation or what I had to tell him. The last message I sent was this.
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 14:40:13 From: Robert Rozeboom To: ****************** Subject: Re: FW: FW: Problem with excessive bad posting "I'm sorry but there isn't anything to correct. This is how the system was meant to work. I am sorry that you disagree and feel slighted."
The next day he mailed me a few more times. I ignored him assuming that he'd get tired of yelling and wait for the timeout to expire. The following Monday Hemos tells me HR got a complaint and a fwd. mail in which I was abusive to a reader.
From: Robert Rozeboom [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Robert Rozeboom Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 2:40 PM To:*********** Subject: Re: FW: FW: Problem with excessive bad posting "There isn't anything to correct dumb-ass. This is how the system was meant to work. It's pukes like you that we would prefer didn't have computers to begin with. Your whiney assed email isn't going to get you anywhere. Shut the fuck up or I will block you for good."
Can you spot the differences? Luckily I had saved all our correspondence but to this day it is the one time that a user really got to me. Pukes? Who the hell besides the drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket, says pukes? I'm used to the swearing and the threats but doctoring mail and trying to get me fired was a new one. So please, enjoy the site, enjoy the discussions, learn something, debate your thoughts and ideas. All I ask is that your next mail to me doesn't have WTF? as the subject.