whack-a-mole

Whack-a-mole is the pursuit of a particular person known to have sent spam.

Whack-a-mole is the pursuit of a particular person known to have sent spam. The name refers to an arcade game where the player gains points by using a mallet to whack mechanical moles as they pop out of their holes. It is the job of the individual engaged in whack-a-mole to stop the spammer by notifying the Internet service provider (ISP) that provides the spammer's e-mail service. Like the moles in the arcade game, it is expected that an enthusiastic spammer who has been whacked (kicked off one ISP for spamming) will most likely pop up again by getting another account from which to spam. Pursuit of an individual spammer can be tedious, but believers in whack-a-mole feel their effort is worth it. Stopping a spammer, even temporarily, not only will inconvenience the spammer, but will cost the person sending spam time and money. Whack-a-mole players feel that if enough people pursue e-mail abusers who send spam, it is likely the spammers will either run out of time or suitable alternatives for e-mail access.

This was first published in September 2005

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