| Hoaxes, Myths
and Urban Legends
Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act
The following content is from 1999. Links may or may not still work. This material
is being retained for archival purposes.
Ted Burton borrowing from others, reworked
and added to this useful and informative list of websites that debunk and demystify
a lot of urban legends on hoaxes on the Internet. The links also include website
that can help you understand a lot of terms used on the Internet, find answers to
problems on the net, and more. If anything the message is an example of how something
can pass through the net and grow as each person adds a bit or tinkers with it trying
to help others. Our thanks to Ted!
From: Scouts-L Youth Group List [mailto:Scouts-L@LISTSERV.TCU.EDU]
Behalf Of Ted Burton
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 1999 6:53 PM
Subject: Urban Legends, Virus Alerts, etc.
Folks, from time to time you get one of those messages urging you to
"tell all your friends immediately before the [insert name here]
virus erases their hard drive, sterilizes their children, and
defrosts their freezer". From time to time you get a message saying
that Little Orphan Annie is going to have a great blessing bestowed
on her if only you would e-mail ten thousand friends with a request.
Almost always, these messages are a fraud, designed to snarl up the
Internet with a huge volume of messages.
Here is a rather full list of Internet resources to help you sort
truth from hoax, which I urge you to look over every time you get one
of those messages -- BEFORE you tell everyone immediately.
"E-mail Virus alerts & other chain letters:"
Specifically for the "Win a Holiday" Hoax:
AOL has an entire section on this hoax and others similar to
it. Go to Keyword: "virus." Your own Internet service providers
may have info, as well.
If you are concerned about alerts of any kind from Microsoft,
check their website or sign up for their free newsletter, and be
the first to know: http://www.microsoft.com/
"E-mail Virus" and Other Kinds of Hoaxes:
A light-hearted treatment of hoaxes:
Some good material on evaluating sources:
* Evaluating Internet Research Sources at
* Evaluation of Information Sources at
* Bibliography on Evaluating Internet Resources at
It *is* possible to design responsible alerts for people to
circulate on the Internet. Here is a how-to that draws positive
conclusions from long experience with badly designed alerts:
* Designing Effective Action Alerts for the Internet at
Please check with reliable hoax-busters before forwarding
material such as a "virus" e-mail message, to *anyone,* please.
Now that you know, you needn't ever again fall victim or
victimize others in spreading groundless fears or "urban
legends." It's *so easy to check.* Spread the good word.
Netiquette & E-mail usage for beginners:
Netiquette Guidelines for & beyond beginners (RFC 1855; FYI 28)
This document provides a minimum
set of guidelines for Network
Etiquette (Netiquette) which organizations
may take and adapt
for their own use. As such,
it is deliberately written in a
bulleted format to make adaptation
easier and to make any
particular item easy (or easier)
to find. It also functions
as a minimum set of guidelines
for individuals, both users and
administrators. This memo
is the product of the Responsible
Use of the Network (RUN*1) Working
Group of the Internet
Engineering Task Force (IETF*2).
Ethics and the Internet (RFC 1087)
This memo is a statement of policy
by the Internet
Architectures Board (IAB*3) at
the Internet Engineering Task
Force (IETF*2) concerning the proper
use of the resources of
Guidelines for Conduct on and Use of Internet
Draft document written and maintained
by Vint Cerf,
President of Internet Society (ISOC*4).
The Net: User guidelines and Netiquette
http://www.fau.edu/netiquette/net/index.html (Note: this page appears to be gone now.)
The guidelines by Ms Arlene H.
Rinardy of Florida Atlantic
The WWW version of the book "Netiquette"
by Virginia Shea,
published by Albion Books*6.
Why 30 hyphens or a line of asterisks is a no-no in
list messages (they are part of the digest format
and having them in messages, messes things up):
Thank you for listening. Ted Burton, Inland Northwest 611, Es
Alappiechsu Wiechcheu I <<<=-=<I=-=<<< I Talks-Fast
been there, done that: CC, DC, CA, CM, SA, SM, MC, CR, NJ SA
------ SA T162 & "a
good ol' Fox too" -------
in North Central Idaho, used to be Alaska
Ne molesti te deprimant ... resist the Redmondian Borg! Semper Mac!