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I don’t often blow my stack, but when I do …

… I really do. Normally I don’t believe in burning bridges unnecessarily, but right now I don’t care. And I don’t care who thinks I’m an asshat. Life’s just too short to deal with some people.

I sent this to a well-known survivalist author. Not naming any names, but I’ll say he’s not the biggest, but someone you’re familiar with. He just sent an email asking a number of individuals and websites to promote his latest book.


Do you realize you just cc’d my private email address to a bunch of strangers like some Internet n00b who never heard of either privacy or bcc?

Do you also realize that, though I’ve always been glad to promote your books and website, the one time I asked you for anything — not for myself but for a guy who was trying to provide a useful survival-info service while dying of cancer — you ignored two emails from me as if they didn’t exist???

I’m going to send this now, but if I get another one of your snotty “I’m so much busier and more important than thou” autoresponders, I’m blacklisting your email addy. What the hell; I’m blacklisting it anyhow. You’re an energy vampire, interested only in self-promotion. You have no idea of either manners or what it means to be part of a true online community.

Consider yourself fortunate I didn’t hit “reply all” when composing this message.



  1. jed
    jed January 17, 2016 11:01 am

    Oooh, I hate that! I have berated people for that. One of them, I haven’t heard from since. Sad truth is, these days, people just get on the net, and have no concept of any of the history, or what used to be the norms. I’ve even had people stick my e-mail address into website forms, e.g. for event invitation services. Then there’s the LinkedIn thing where people can upload their whole address book to send out invites from. I could go one. You know.


    And this is why I pay for COTSE, instead of using any free e-mail service. Having instant e-mail aliases, which I can subsequently block? Cool. Lots of filtering options.

  2. Claire
    Claire January 17, 2016 11:10 am

    Amen, jed.

    I generally try to be gentle with people who use open cc, especially when they’re just little old ladies or whatnot, which chronic open-ccers often are. And even the best of us can slip and cc when we meant to bcc. I’ve done it myself a couple of times, to my embarrassed chagrin.

    But the combo of the cc with this person’s habitual, self-promotional arrogance really just hit me. He and his autoresponders bugged me, anyhow. (I mean, when somebody asks you to promote his book, then you get an “I’m much too busy to talk to the little people” message whenever you try to have a discussion with him, it gets very old very fast.) But I made special note when he wouldn’t even acknowledge my request to help Scott, who was offering USB sticks with survival documents — and who has since died. When I got this person’s email-full-of-stupid this morning, that was it.

    AND unfortunately he has my “real” email addy, the non-Cotse one I originally only gave out to people I trust.

  3. Claire
    Claire January 17, 2016 11:17 am

    Oh yeah, you’re right. There should be a very, very special hell for people who upload their entire address books to websites. And an even hotter one for idiots who actually sit down and enter other people’s email addresses into webforms without consent.

    I’ve had a few correspondents who apparently didn’t realize they’d given permission for some site to market to everybody in their address book. One person even apologized and quit the offending “service.” But when you actually, deliberately type somebody’s contact info into a form … gnrrrrr.

  4. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty January 17, 2016 11:21 am

    “Consider yourself fortunate I didn’t hit “reply all” when composing this message.”

    I’ve done that… (blush)… Well, only a few times.

    I would not blame you at all. And good on you for blacklisting this person. Consequences… there need to be real consequences for stupid…

  5. Claire
    Claire January 17, 2016 11:32 am

    Oh, ML, indeed. We’re all guilty occasionally and I hope there’s forgiveness for innocent mistakes.

    The real sin here was this character snubbing poor Scott then being so stupid while still expecting me (and a bunch of other people, including some fairly well-known ones) to help him promote himself.

  6. Claire
    Claire January 17, 2016 11:44 am

    Over the next few months I’ll phase out my one “real” email addy. I may create another “real” one and give it to a couple dozen friends, but anybody I deal with only casually or professionally will get their own, which I can then kill off at will.

    Cotse is wonderful that way. Only problem is that unless you create a custom “from” address as well as the “to” address you give to other people, eventually the more private information gets out. And “from” is much more cumbersome than the “to” addies that can be invented on the fly.

  7. MJR
    MJR January 17, 2016 12:23 pm

    In the past I have blasted people whom I worked with at work for doing with my private address what this fool did with yours so I know where you’re coming from. When this has happened to me, one thought goes through my mind… “Even though the transgression was serious, I choose to let you live.” After thinking that I usually feel better about the situation. :^)

  8. RustyGunner
    RustyGunner January 17, 2016 12:35 pm provides a very handy service for this, and it’s free.

  9. Karen
    Karen January 17, 2016 2:30 pm

    You go girl! I’m proud to know you! Sadly, it sounds like the recipient is too dense to get the message. Oh well.

  10. Bear
    Bear January 17, 2016 2:53 pm

    Oho. I bet I know who that was: the same one who “forgot” that he was supposed to pay me for some graphics work.

  11. Daylan Darby
    Daylan Darby January 17, 2016 3:53 pm

    Another approach to email privacy (especially if one likes to tinker) is to obtain a domain (~$12/year, Godaddy, Google, etc.) and write or install your own SMTP, POP3 servers.

  12. jed
    jed January 17, 2016 3:56 pm

    Yeah, I’ve been a bit purturbed a few times by needing to create the additional setup in my e-mail program to reply to one of the aliases I’ve created. Doesn’t happen often, as nearly all of those are entities which provide a contact form on their websites. Fortunately, Sylpheed keeps all this in a text file, so I can copy/paste to get 99% of the info, then use the GUI to finalize it. But over time, it’s become a little cumbersome. Looking now, I see I can clean up a bit there.

    But the advantages of creating on-the-fly e-mail aliases when registering for things online, coupled with then knowing, for sure, who leaked your info, if it gets out?

    The other thing I’ve done is a few times I’ve sent out e-mail using the wrong “From” address. I suppose that might confuse someone, at some point, but so far, it hasn’t caused me any problems.

    Still, I don’t think I’d want to abandon e-mail in favor of a quill and a bottle of ink, though that’d be a fun thing, here and there.

  13. jed
    jed January 17, 2016 4:01 pm

    @Daylan: I’ve thought about doing that, but there are some pitfalls, beyond needing to do the technical work. (Though Postfix is pretty easy for technical types.) The main one being that unless you have good reverse DNS, a lot of mail servers won’t talk to you. I haven’t looked into whether there’s any way to get reverse DNS on a dynamic domain name for a DHCP-assigned IP address.

  14. LibertyNews
    LibertyNews January 17, 2016 4:24 pm

    I’m a big fan of, in addition to having very inexpensive email they have a giant pile of their own domains that you can use to setup email forwarding with.

  15. Claire
    Claire January 17, 2016 4:39 pm

    Good privacy recommendations, guys. The paid service I use ( does all these things and more for privacy. Disposable addresses, multiple domains, etc. But I’ll check these out as backups and if nothing else they should be useful to non-Cotse folks.

    I’ve just let my “real” address get into the hands of too many fools and I’ll fix that.

    To be clear, the thing I was really upset about was this so-and-so refusing to help, or even respond to a ping for, a person who had a useful resource and was trying to do something good while dying of cancer. The so-and-so had already impressed me as being pretty arrogant, but then that’s not exactly an uncommon trait on the ‘Net. Now, expecting me to promote him while gouging my privacy — AFTER ignoring Scott … it was the combo that set me off, not just one thing, not just the open cc alone.

  16. Claire
    Claire January 17, 2016 4:41 pm

    Karen — Thank you. At moments like this I never know if I’m going to regret getting publicly self-righteous. But whatever I am (asshat or crusader or both), yes, I do believe this guy is either too dense or too narcissistic to get it.

  17. M
    M January 17, 2016 4:55 pm

    Condolences on the small privacy death, Claire.

    I was just having a conversation yesterday, with a coworker and friend, in which we were lamenting the “old days” when they canned people who did what you’re talking about, or replied all to reply-all storms…

  18. M
    M January 17, 2016 4:55 pm

    Err, rather, the LOSS of the “old days.”

  19. Claire
    Claire January 17, 2016 4:59 pm

    “Oho. I bet I know who that was: the same one who ‘forgot’ that he was supposed to pay me for some graphics work.”

    Yep. Same person, Bear. I didn’t know until very recently that he made such a specialty out of kicking people who are decent to him. People are coming out of the woodwork today, guessing his identity and telling me their own sad stories.

  20. Claire
    Claire January 17, 2016 5:08 pm

    M — Reminds me of Argus Flich at Hogwarts. “A pity they let the old punishments die. Was a time detention would find you hanging by your thumbs in the dungeons. God, I miss the screaming.”

    Caning? That’s too easy on the miscreants!

    I have a funny (in retrospect) story about a reply-all storm from the very early ‘Net days, involving more than a hundred people who got open cc’d by a nut who was defending the “honor” of an infamous sex offender. Too long to go into detail, but the exchange largely consisted of furious people hitting “reply all” as they ranted and yelled at the OP to leave them alone, and dozens of other people hitting “reply all” to say, “For god’s sake, stop yelling at me!” Then the original screamers would shout back, “I wasn’t yelling at you. I was yelling at …” The OP was so dense he just kept on singing the praises of his favorite kiddie schtupper in multiple offensive messages.

    I can’t recall how long this went on. Weeks, I think. But it was a nightmare, with all these ‘Net n00bs so ignorant they didn’t realize they were replying to a hundred or more innocent and equally offended people. Probably that was the default in their mail programs. But still … people …

    Encountered the same guy years later online — and many here will know who I’m talking about. He was even worse then. Seriously threatening loony.

  21. E Garrett Perry
    E Garrett Perry January 17, 2016 7:36 pm

    I have two guesses who this is, and in either case the shoe fits. They can damn well wear it, they’re both jackbags (and mediocre authors into the bargain, one well past mediocre) who clearly desire nothing more than that Jesus give them permission to incinerate alive millions of women and children. May birds eat their eyes.

  22. jed
    jed January 17, 2016 7:51 pm

    I’ve had a couple reply-all fiascos, but nothing to match what you’ve described Claire.

    Back when I was active in Usenet, we’d get the occasional person who’d post a “please remove me from this mailing list” message. Made me wish that Netscape (among others) had never bundled News into their e-mail clients. End users had no idea how to unsubscribe themselves, had no idea what Usenet was.

  23. Jim Bovard
    Jim Bovard January 17, 2016 8:07 pm

    Sounds like your wrath is fully justified. And just in case I was ever tempted to cc you – it won’t happen now!

  24. A.G.
    A.G. January 17, 2016 9:53 pm

    “A pity they let the old punishments die. Was a time detention would find you hanging by your thumbs in the dungeons. God, I miss the screaming.”

    Almost makes me want to read those books just to steal lines from that character. Quoting such things at family get togethers with the libtard cousins from the city always goes over well.

  25. David
    David January 18, 2016 5:55 am

    Claire dearest, you would have had to take your email to ‘full on rant’ to even approach true ‘asshat’-ishness. That was mild, and I thought to the point. Hell, you didn’t even drop his name.

    So don’t worry about it. I am often (and intentionally so) a big asshat when I get pissed off, and you know what? If you ‘go there’ without losing your self control, it’s good for the soul. It’s also good for the big ego folks to be dressed down a bit, just so they know they don’t have immunity from humanity.

    The rest of the time I’m just a big crusty sweetie! 😉

  26. VoyagerNOK
    VoyagerNOK January 18, 2016 8:36 am

    I’m with David; you didn’t go one bit out of order on your reply but remained mild and to the point. Personally, I think you should have hit “Reply All” so everyone who had been done the same as you were could have vicariously felt some satisfaction. (and have been motivated to also blacklist him)

    Unfortunately, as you identify his system as set to auto-reply instead of him reading his email, he may have never even see your email.

    And the “Reply All” storm including a hundred or so recipients a few years back… I was privvy to that same stinkstorm and recall just sitting and laughing at the naivette of so many who just kept replying ALL to tell everyone to quit including them.

  27. Claire
    Claire January 18, 2016 10:18 am

    David and VoyagerNOK — Thanks for judging me not to be a total jerk. Being self-righteous can be a blessing — when it powers action for good — and a drawback — when it leads to excessive dumping on the hapless. But I do try to stay rational even when I’m furious.

    Voyager — I wondered whether anybody here would have been in on that nightmare “stinkstorm” (good term)! The man who began it seemed to be targeting freedomistas, so I knew it could be. I’m glad somebody found it hilarious. I found it horrible at the time. So frustrating.

    As to the current so-and-so’s autoresponders … maybe, but in the past I always got the autoresponder, followed rather quickly by a response. Then I’d reply and get the autoresponder and … rinse and repeat. That is, until I asked him to post about Scott’s project. Then … autoresponder + crickets. You could be right that he’s not reading messages these days. Oh well.

  28. Laird
    Laird January 18, 2016 10:58 am

    “Consider yourself fortunate I didn’t hit “reply all” when composing this message.”

    Well, effectively, I think you’ve done just that!

  29. Joel
    Joel January 18, 2016 11:11 am

    Naw, Laird. If she’d done that, we’d all know exactly who she’s talking about. Not flying on those circles myself, I don’t have a clue.

  30. Jeff
    Jeff January 18, 2016 12:22 pm

    Does the individual in question have a persistent problem with spellchecking his posts?

  31. Adam Selene
    Adam Selene January 18, 2016 12:26 pm

    If you don’t name names, he wins. You weren’t going to shill for his book anyway, so what does he lose by ignoring your complaint? If you give his name and tell the story of how ignored your plea to support a fellow survivalist/prepper in need, he risks alienating the community. IF your intent is to win, you always up the ante and force the other guy to pay a higher price. Chicago Rules.

  32. Claire
    Claire January 18, 2016 1:07 pm

    My intent isn’t to win, especially if that means playing by Chicago Rules. My intent was just to cut off a person who wants others to help him but can’t be depended upon to help, or even respect, others. That, I have done.

    So nope, no naming of names or dropping of further hints, sorry.

    From what a few correspondents have privately said, the so-and-so in question has already alienated quite a few people in the community — enough that they were able to guess who I was talking about, just from their own prior experiences with him.

  33. capn
    capn January 18, 2016 6:13 pm

    I’m like Joel on this one. I am “Not flying on those circles myself, I don’t have a clue.” I also don’t have enough loose frns to afford survivalist books at any rate so I wouldn’t be getting those “adverts”. (Or the room to store the books at present.)

    I have had to let MY cotse addy lapse due to lack of frns. No answer is to be expected there.

    Why not take Robbie for a walkie and have a cup of hot Chamomile?
    OR you could go burn a couple boxes of your favorite cordite based projectile projector.
    I have also heard that 30 minutes of punching bag can be anger reducing as well as benefit the exercise regime.

    On the “reply all” question.
    Boy Howdy, I sure would have been tempted to reply all with my response and I’m not anywhere as typewriter glib as you are so I would have jumped into asshattery from the git-go. It’s that sailor training and legacy I have I guess.


  34. jc2k
    jc2k January 25, 2016 12:17 pm

    I stopped reading his blog years ago after all the stupid idiotic articles written by people who clearly didn’t know what they were talking about. The last straw was the suggestion to stock up on ketchup by stealing packets from fast food restaurants. I think calling him a mediocre writer is a compliment.

  35. winston
    winston January 26, 2016 12:20 pm

    If it’s who I might be thinking of then yeah, no need to feel bad or embarrassed. There’s way too many sub-par hucksters in the survivalist biz and frankly most of them should follow their own advice and go off the grid and not come back.

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