Spam, a lot

CN&R takes drastic measure to evade spammers, and then there’s Ashley Madison

“Life is short. Have an affair.”

That's the subject line of an email—more specifically, junk mail—I've received hundreds, probably thousands, of times from now-infamous cheating matchmaker service Ashley Madison.

I loathe spam. During my eight-plus years at CN&R, stupid businesses like Ashley Madison have managed to suck a ridiculous amount of productive time out of my days. Even with filters, the accounts I manage receive an average of 1,000 emails every day. That's made it nearly impossible to keep up with the perhaps 100 legitimate daily messages.

In fact, manually deleting these emails, each one costing five seconds of my work day, means I've been spending over an hour each day just getting through my inbox. That's at least five hours a week or, more startlingly, 260 hours a year.

I've tried upping the aggressiveness of the filter that captures junk mail—to cull everything from messages on doomsday prepping to penis enlargement—but that sent some nonspam emails to that electronic black hole as well.

To get a handle on the situation for our most-spammed accounts, the inboxes for letters to the editor and calendar listings, we have created new addresses entirely. Letters may now be submitted online at or emailed to <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,99,110,114,108,101,116,116,101,114,115,64,110,101,119,115,114,101,118,105,101,119,46,99,111,109,34,62,99,110,114,108,101,116,116,101,114,115,64,110,101,119,115,114,101,118,105,101,119,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script>. At the latter, an autoresponder will give readers a breakdown of our policy, including the word count: 200 or fewer words per letter.

Calendar listings may be submitted at or to <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,99,110,114,99,97,108,101,110,100,97,114,64,110,101,119,115,114,101,118,105,101,119,46,99,111,109,34,62,99,110,114,99,97,108,101,110,100,97,114,64,110,101,119,115,114,101,118,105,101,119,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script> . Those with questions about that section of the paper should contact calendar assistant Ernesto Rivera (<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,101,114,110,101,115,116,111,114,64,110,101,119,115,114,101,118,105,101,119,46,99,111,109,34,62,101,114,110,101,115,116,111,114,64,110,101,119,115,114,101,118,105,101,119,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script>), CN&R's recent editorial intern, whom we liked so much we hired for that gig.

Speaking of interns, Brittany Waterstradt, who took some amazing photos over the last year, is taking a break to concentrate on finishing up her bachelor's degree at Chico State. And recent Chico State graduate Whitney Garcia, who brought her spunky personality to our Facebook page and Twitter feed, is moving on from those duties but you'll probably see her byline in these pages.

This also means we're on the hunt for new interns—college students, preferably journalism majors. For more on that, see page 38.

But back to Ashley Madison. I can't mention that site without commenting about hackers grabbing its data and sharing the names of cheaters—or would-be cheaters—with the world. What a way to find out about your partner's infidelity. From a journalistic perspective, there isn't much value to the info.

But what can I say? Curiosity got the better of me. I searched the site for local government employees who used their public emails to try to hook up. I didn't go crazy. I looked up the city of Chico, the county and the superior court, as well as Chico State. The first three came up clean. Chico State, well that's another story. The addresses that popped up, though—84 altogether—look like student accounts.

Of course, that doesn't mean the folks in these institutions are all squeaky clean in the fidelity department. But at least they're not screwing around on our dime.