Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 08:46:45 -0500

From: Katherine Catmull kate[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]BGA.COM

Subject: Re: Internet Term Stumper (fwd)

On Mon, 11 Sep 1995, Sylvia Swift wrote:

On Mon, 11 Sep 1995, Daniel S Goodman forwarded:

I hope I don't get spammed for this, but does anyone know how the

term 'spamming' got coined for mass e-mailing?

i read that it's from the metaphor of spam (yes, the trademarked pork

product) hitting a fan, and the resulting havoc. i don't have a copy at

home, but i think it's mentioned in _internet for dummies_.

On Usenet, where spam is a much greater problem than it is on e-mail

lists, there is a group called (I think--maybe

no "admin" in the name) to discuss and deal with the problem.

They have an excellent and informative FAQ which among other things gives

a very presice definition of spam. And I believe it was in that FAQ

I read that the term "spam" is a reference to the ancient Monty Python

skit about the restaurant where you can't order anything that doesn't

include spam--and where a chorus of men keeps leaping up to chant "SPAM


It's an apt and amusing etymology and I hope it's true.

Kate Catmull kate[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]