About 3-6 years ago I read a short story (online, I think) formatted as a series of emails sent by a spambot that had become self aware and was trying to make contact but, due to its origins, was writing in such a spam-like style (references to viagra etc) that every attempt was filtered by email servers. I thought it was one of Nature's Futures short stories but I went through the archive and couldn't see it. Does this ring any bells for anyone?

Oh, it's not the story “Staff meeting, as seen by the spam filter.”

  • 4
    It doesn't match the details you provide, but you could read Andy Weir's recent short story Twarrior galactanet.com/oneoff/twarrior.html , in which a bot becomes intelligent despite that it shouldn't have, it writes in a very spam-like style, but doesn't get stopped by automated spam filters, it only has trouble getting through the human's spam filter on the end.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 8:02
  • 6
    Thank you very much for pointing at "Staff meeting, as seen by the spam filter". It's a sci-fi short story I enjoyed reading, and its author Alex Shvartsman has a lot more stories online.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 15:11
  • 6
    This is a long shot, but could it be Cat Pictures Please? Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 14:59
  • 5
    I found the opposite: A story formatted as a series of emails where an AI(?) is so successful getting through filters that it gets access to people's brains...
    – Laurel
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 17:10
  • 3
    Could this be Epoch by Cory Doctorow; archive.org/stream/WithALittleHelp/…? A rogue AI goes spambot in an attempt to rally support to preserve its existence.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


This sounds very similar to the story of SCP-000

Quote from SCP Fandom

Trapped In the Foundation's Research Department, Technical Researcher David Rosen received multiple repair tickets from the database entry for SCP-000. Rosen eventually placed suppression on all tickets relating to SCP-000. Unknown to him, however, was that he contained 000 and permanently prevented escape from their prison.

SCP Foundation Entry

  • Do you know the title of any stories that the SCP-000 character appeared in? Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 7:49
  • 3
    The SCP Foundation Entry is the story. If you follow the Foundation link you highlight the page and the whole story is there. I mentioned this SCP as it followed the same behavior pattern as a spam bot (in our dimension), but all the tickets/emails (which was meant to make contact) was suppressed by Technical Researcher Rosen. youtube.com/watch?v=W1ycx7K1PgI
    – IceQ
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 8:08
  • Hi and welcome! Long time lurker, first time answerer? You probably know the routine, but please take a look at the tour (if only for the shiny badge) and take a look at the help center. Great first answer though! I remember reading this, and it sounds right.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 9:58
  • Thanks! Unfortunately it's not this one; I hadn't come across this particular SCP before, and the story I read was actually formatted as a series of emails.
    – tardigrade
    Commented Jan 29, 2022 at 21:42

Is this the (very) short story Email Alive?

[email protected] is the 15th email account that Jonathan Edgar Vinson III has ever had... it is the 3rd email account of his that has become self-aware.. the previous two have died lonely deaths of isolation. First, no legal entities possessed electronic mail accounts to correspond with and the second one was mistaken for spam and subsequently ignored.

The story is framed as short excerpts from an AI (an e-mail account, it seems) that has achieved sentience, but cannot find anyone to correspond with. It aims to have its autonomy and protections granted by the government.

Unfortunately, I cannot seem to attribute the author. But, this short story can be read here.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.