Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Apologies for my bad language

I must apologise to everyone who did not receive our last newsletter – this was entirely as a result of my own incompetence in including an item entitled ‘Don’t be a Tosser’, which referred to Northamptonshire County Councils anti-litter campaign of the same name.

Obviously the purpose of the campaign name is to gain attention through the use of a double entendre, although the dictionary (the proper one that is rather than the ‘urban dictionary) defines a tosser as ‘one who tosses something’, for example, a pancake-tosser.  It therefore appears that if I wrote an item detailing the antics of a typical Shrove Tuesday at our local primary school that the over-zealous puritans who produce spam filters and the such would block that too.

In a similar instance a few years ago I was struggling to get an email through to one of the Directors in a large UK company.  Eventually we determined that it was due to the use of the phrase ‘cross-pollination of ideas’.  Once the phrase was removed the email went through without any difficulty.  It appears that the smutty-minded authors of spam filters can even see sexual innuendo in a horticultural reference!

Wishing to clean up my act I thought I would investigate what words spam filters would deem inappropriate.  According to Mailup the list is huge and includes outrages words and phrases such as ‘stop snoring’, ‘free installation’ and ‘mortgage rates’.  According to Karen Ruben, author of The Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words, the list even includes terms like ‘laser printer’, ‘terms and conditions’ and, most bizarrely of all, ‘stainless steel’.

Why would anyone want to filter out anything contain the words ‘stainless steel’?

However, the phrases that concerned me the most were; ‘win’, ‘winner’, ‘winning’, ‘won’ and ‘you’re a winner’.  This could explain why I am yet to receive my email from the National Lottery telling me I have won!  Better give them a call just in case.

PS – If you are not of an overly-sensitive nature and feel robust enough to have a look at our offending newsletter, click here.

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