There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch! tanstaafl!
I first came across this idea in a book by Robert Heinlein called The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which I first remember reading in the late 60s or early 70s. Without going into the plot or story line, I’ll just say that it was one of my favorite books and I re-read it so many times that it eventually fell apart. In 1996, my daughter bought me a new copy, and annotated it “with thanks for introducing me to this book.”
TANSTAAFL! In the on-line community, there are a tremendous number of people who are trying – and succeeding – in getting their “free lunch.” However, their “free lunch” is not really free, because someone else is having to pay for it.
I’m not talking about those who come up with something bright or innovative that attract people to their blog or website. I am referring to those who are trying to make money in less than ethical ways – the spammers and the phishers, the people who fill our e-mail inboxes with too-good-too-be-true offers or create web pages that are pages of links without content that connect to more page of links without content, those who create viruses and worms, and others.
What harm to they do? They’re just trying to make a buck.
They are stealing time at the very least – and could be doing much worse.
Every time I have to personally deal with a spam e-mail, I use up a little bit of my time. Every time I have to wade though search results full of useless web pages to find what I want, I use some of my very valuable time.
The worst part of it is that there are enough people out there that will click on the ads on the useless web pages or respond to the spam that these slime balls and sleazes will be getting a free lunch at the expense of many others – at the expense of being of not being able to have an internet free of garbage web pages – at the expense of not being able to freely post your e-mail address on-line!
The free lunches of all the internet slime balls and sleazes are being served up daily by the newbies and other not-so-knowledgeable users of the internet and e-mail.
A lost Exit78 post, recovered from Internet Archive WayBackMachine; March 2011