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"...the impact that these 419 scams must be having on legitimate Nigerian mail."

Benjamin Mako Hill makes an interesting point here. I know that I'm guilty of the kind of immediate response that he's mentions - as soon as I see the particular style of email that represents most "419" scams, I delete it without reading further. And this is on top of my machine-based spam filters, the presense of which led Benjamin to look twice at the legitimate email he received. The chances of a Nigerian email being legitimate in my case are probably much less than in Benjamin's, but what really interests me are the implications of cultural difference in electronic communication.

I think that we, in the US at least, are trained to expect a level of homogeniety in electronic communication. There's a certain sanitized style of communication that we've come to expect from the internet and perhaps voices that speak in other styles are paid less attention to. What sorts of communication and input are we missing when both the popular / mainstream media and electronic communications are filtered by this prejudice? Does this filter have as much or more impact on the information we receive as the many language barriers that stand in our way?


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