Theorem 1 – It is impossible for a message to be both extremely clean and extremely dirty at the same time

According to the Spam Curve, the bulk concentration of messages are the ones that contain a lot of spammy content (extremely dirty) or they contain plenty of legitimate content (extremely clean).  We all know what dirty messages look like, they contain obfus.cated words, $#%& curses all over the place, and OTHER OBVIOUSLY spammy content.  Lots of messages are like this and are easier to filter.

Legitimate messages are those which are easily recognized as legitimate.  They often contain content like name and address information, phrases that rarely, if ever, occur in spam messages or links that spammers never use.  We can instantly recognize these types of messages as not at all spammy and a decent spam filter ought to easily be able to tell the difference.

Because of this property, a spam message can never be both extremely clean and extremely dirty at the same time.  Simply by looking at the chart we can see that this is a mathematical impossibility.  Now, a naysayer may come along and try to contradict this by saying that there are exceptions to this rule.  A very legitimate message can contain some extremely dirty content inserted somewhere in the message, either deliberately or accidentally (one example is forwarded spam, another is a non-related reply to a dirty joke).  This, the naysayer might claim, contradicts the very first theorem because the message is now both very clean (it has the non-related and possibly business-related) content but also the very dirty part, perhaps the spam attachment or a dirty joke.  See?  Very dirty and very clean at the same time. 

However, this contradicts the inherent nature of a very clean message - that it contains no dirty content.  Recall from above that clean messages are easily recognized as legitimate.  A legitimate message that contains dirty content somewhere in the message is no longer a clean message, it is a message that contains both and now falls along the overlap portion of the Spam Curve.  If you have a solution with a pH of 1 and another solution with a pH of 13 and mix them together, you don't have a solution with a pH of 1 and 13 at the same time, you have a diluted solution with a pH of around 7.  The same is true of email, a pure message that is diluted with dirty content is no longer pure.  It is now diluted.  This demonstrates theorem 1 - It is impossible for a message to be both extremely clean and extremely dirty at the same time.

By the way, I am aware that the concentration of the solutions in my example would need to be equal, etc, etc, but you all understand my point.

Comments (4)

  1. JohnCJ says:

    I’m going to disagree with you to a certain extent. It’s not clear to me whether you are saying that this rule holds true no matter who the sender or receiver are. Here’s the issue I see. My wife is a physician. She will legitimately get email from Pfizer about Viagra. The contents of this email are virtually indistinguishable from the content of some of the spam I get. Depending on the context, the exact same message may be very dirty or very clean. Does this contradict your theory?

  2. tzink says:

    When I originally wrote this theorem, I actually had that exact situation in mind (mail regarding Viagra, as I see pharmaceutical newsletters all the time).

    I would submit that the content of legitimate mail and the content of the spam you receive is actually quite different.  For example, in spam, we often see images advertising blue pills and crude phrases with a link within the image.  How often do you see that in legitimate mail?  I’d be willing to bet never.  You also rarely see attempts to obfuscate the drugs, like VjIAAGRA in legitimate mail, either.

    By contrast, legitimate mail for Viagra often contains medical studies, news reports about the drug, prescription notifications, and so forth.  The content of the mail is significantly different from a spam (unsolicited commercial email).

    The third scenario would be if somebody were to forward spam to you with the question "Is this legitimate" or "what do you think about this?"  Since somebody is forwarding the mail to you we might be tempted to call it legitimate and contains both very dirty and very clean content, and therefore it is both at the same time.  I would disagree; if you have a can of white paint and a can of black paint, and mix some of the black paint in with the white paint, the paint is no longer white.  It is now grey; it is not black and white at the same time.  

    It is the same with email – very spammy content distorts the purity of an otherwise clean message.  So, to answer your question, I would have to say that regardless of the context, a message cannot be both dirty and clean at the same time.

    Of course, this is all my own opinion and is the way I see things.  Thanks for the question.

  3. Memmorium says:

         Good idea!

    P.S. A U realy girl?

Skip to main content