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029: What is spam?


“Spam” is a term generally applied to unsolicited email, unsolicited commercial email (UCE), or junk email. These email messages are usually mass mailed and considered invasive by those who receive them. The term spam is believed to come from a song in a Monty Python skit, featuring Vikings that sing “spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam” (as in the canned breakfast meat called SPAM). It now denotes a continuing and repetition of worthless text that eventually drowns out all other communication.

Schoolwide measures are in place to block most spam directed at Mines computer users. (See other spam-related FAQs for details.) Individual email clients such as Mozilla Thunderbird, Apple Mail, or Outlook also allow users to filter out spam at the local-computer level.