I just had an entertaining daydream about a way to strike back at spammers. Of course, there are a lot of details between a daydream and effective execution. Behold the mythical Smeagol spam filter.

The idea was born when I recieved a spam message titled "Personals: do you want to meet boys?" To which my silent response was, "I want you to go away," and then, with an accent inspired by Gollum's alter ego from the Lord of the Rings, "and never come back!" It worked for him (for a while). Maybe there's a way to make it work for me too.

So here's the idea. When the Smeagol spam filter sees a spam email, it responds with a message containing the relevant video clip from the movie. With enough people using Smeagol, spammers' in-boxes are immediately filled with these large emails. But there are volumnous technical and ethical problems involved here.

1) Spammers don't address their email from their own email addresses, so they won't get Smeagol's message.

2) Spammers use other people's email addresses, so innocent people will have their in-boxes filled with Smeagol's message.

3) Even those spammers who do use their own email addresses probably have filters (or would create filters) to block such messages. Of course, a lot of their bandwidth could get used up before they filter the messages out.

4) You'd waste huge amounts of your own bandwidth sending out Smeagol's message, making the spam problem worse than it already was.

I could go on.

It was a nice dream.