Anatomy of a Hate Mail

By -

This is my ninth year of running and writing for Slope, and in that lengthy timespan, I have received many thousands of emails from readers. The vast, vast majority of these have been nice, friendly, laudatory, and inspirational. A tiny handful, however, have been nasty.

Nasty ones typically hide behind a veil of anonymity, but I got one this weekend from a fellow who had signed up for Slope+, cancelled it, and then was briefly using SocialTrade. Apparently he didn’t like getting the daily updates from SocialTrade, so he wrote me this:

Subject: Re: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)
please stop sending this, I’m not interested, I don’t remember my password
and I don’t care for you site.  Your always searching for a pat on the
back, such childish acts for a rich prick, oh I joined slope+ and you showed me ad’s, well I quit after just one
month, I’ll not pay you a monthly fee just so you can make watch ad’s.
That’s bullshit,  Timme………   HMF
Clark [last name removed]

Let’s review the various errors (within respective classes), shall we?
  1. Lack of capitalization at the beginning of sentences;
  2. Run-on sentences (note particularly the first three phrases);
  3. Commencing a sentence with a conjunction;
  4. Confusing a personal pronoun (your) with the intended contraction (you’re);
  5. Misuse of an apostrophe in order to make a noun plural (ad’s);
  6. Misspelling (it’s Timmay)
  7. Wrong word (you site should be your site)


  1. Unnecessary repetition of destination address: when you type an email, you obviously don’t need to write “” within the body of the email;
  2. Failure to remember password: this is easily solved on the site with the “Forgot Password” link, which every site on the planet has;
  3. Unnecessary request for cessation of SocialTrade notifications: it shows right there in the email where to stop the notifications. One need only be able to read English to do this. No one needs to write me about this.
  4. Ads showing up for Slope+: this is simply not the case. If you’re signed in, there are no ads. Period. Of course, one has to have the good sense to actualy bother signing in.
  5. “Rich prick”: I am neither rich (merely solidly upper-middle-class) nor a prick (I’m just a big sweetie, as any sentient being can tell you).
  6. Ambiguity: I have no idea what “HMF” is, so it should be stated plainly.

Here, then, would be a proper version of the aforementioned hate mail:

Dear Timmay,

Please stop sending SocialTrade updates. I am not interested, and I don’t even remember my password. I don’t even like your site.

You always seem to be seeking a pat on the back. That kind of behavior is a childish act, you upper-middle-class gentleman.

I joined Slope+ partly to suppress ads, and I was seeing them anyway! Based on that, I quit after just one month. I’m not going to pay a monthly fee to see advertisements. That’s bullshit!



Let’s get it right, people. I deserve better than this.