Wired News reports on a new game delighting geeks everywhere:

When freelance Web developer Joe Stump first installed the e-mail filtering program SpamAssassin, he and a friend started a competition. Each day, the two would look through their junk e-mail and try to find the missive that SpamAssassin had assigned the highest score.

“It was always a little contest between the two of us,” says Stump. “We were always trying to tweak and modify the settings to get it just right. I finally won the contest when I got a spam with a score of 43.”

The popularity of SpamAssassin for filtering out unwanted mail has given birth to a new pastime for many of its users — poring over their deleted mail to find the most egregious spam, at least as ranked by the software.

“It seems to be almost universal,” says Mark Pilgrim, a Web developer and professional trainer in Apex, North Carolina, and the author of a popular weblog about programming. “Everyone seems to be, ‘Ooh, look! Points!'”

Amazing. I thought the point of spam killing software was to save time?

“Geeks tend to have twisted status symbols,” he says. “Having a high score of 130 is like that. Geeks love numbers. If you give us numbers, we’re going to like it.”

What a bunch of losers. You’ll never catch a blogger wasting time worrying about meaningless numbers.

(Hat tip: Dodd Harris)

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kevin says:

    Oh your going to love my next post then… A New Rating – Outbound Links. Almost finished with it…

    BTW – Deleting geeks is a good thing. Delighting them isn’t as much fun…

  2. Janis Gore says:


  3. Kathy K says:

    “What a bunch of losers. You’ll never catch a blogger wasting time worrying about meaningless numbers.”

    I read this post after reading your post linking Kevin’s outbound link tracking.

    Oh well, the monitor needed cleaning anyway.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Heh. The sarcasm was intentional. Obviously, there’s a ton of navel gazing, link trolling, and stats gathering in the blogosphere.

  5. Ian S. says:

    NZ Bear has the pure meta-play on blogger navel-gazing – nobody had heard of him when he set up the Ecosystem, and now he gets tons of hits from obsessed bloggers trying to check if they’re a Mortal Human yet 😉