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Here are some of the reasons I decided to disable my online contact form, as mentioned in this blog post.
I bought your game Dweep in 2002, but my hard drive crashed and I lost the game. Please send me the download link again. My grandson really wants to play.
[Dweep is a PC puzzle game I published in 1999. I stopped marketing it in 2004 and stopped selling and supporting it in 2006.]
i thnk my b/f is cheeting on me cuz he sez im fat. plz hlp asap.
Sent from my iPhone
I know your time is valuable, so I’ll be as brief as I can and get to the point. But first I need to explain my situation, so you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
<3000 words of complaining about life with his/her parents>
So how do you think I should deal with my Mom? I mean I guess I could move out and get a job or something, but I really don’t want to work at Starbucks.
I’m working on a school project, and after reading some of your blog posts, I’ve decided to do it on the subject of polyphasic sleep. I need to interview you for the project because part of the assignment is that we have to interview an expert.
I’ve taken the liberty of attaching the interview questions below. Please send me your answers by Friday since my paper is due next week.
Author X is coming out with a new book this week, and we’ve decided to give you the opportunity to be included in the launch promotion. Please give me your mailing address so I can send you a free copy of the book in exchange for a review on your website. I’ve pasted the press release below. Please post a copy of the review on Date Y, since that’s the day we’re doing a big marketing push.
[Oh boy! A free book!]
Thank you so much! Reading your blog has truly changed my life.
<1000 words about trying to get out of bed before 8am and how success was finally achieved.>
I’m 18, and I have a business idea that I’m sure is going to be a huge success. Please download and sign our NDA, and fax it back to me, so we can discuss it. I’m sure you’ll want to help us once you hear the idea. This is going to be huge!
I just launched my new personal development blog at URL. Please take a look at it and tell me what you think. I want my site to be as successful as yours by the end of the year. I’m eager to hear what advice you have to share.
I just joined the forums this week, and one of your moderators banned me for spamming. I signed up so I could use the forums to promote my new website. I can’t believe you guys banned me for spamming. Please look into this and restore my account. This is an amazing new service, and I want to make sure everyone knows about it.
You are going to HELL for cheating on your wife.
<3000 words about God and Jesus>
Sent from my iPhone
Some of these may give you a chuckle, but they’re all based on actual emails I’ve received again and again. Of course there have been some amazing messages as well, but even the good stuff can lose its spiciness when it becomes a repetitive pattern.
For me the issue isn’t really about time savings. It has more to do with focus. When I take time out of each day to read messages like the above, it shifts my attention all over the place. This makes it harder to stay focused on my own goals and pursuits.
People send me feedback not just about my present day work, but about work I did going all the way back to the 90s. Imagine receiving daily feedback about things you did over the past decade instead of just the past week or two. Suppose that every day, people sent you questions about things you said or did in 2005, 2006, 2007… even 1999. Imagine what this forced nostalgia would do to your ability to stay focused on the present.
That’s been my daily reality for years. It’s been an interesting experience, but the effect is that it pulls my thoughts back to what I’ve already done, sending my attention backwards rather than forwards. For now I’d rather focus on living in the present.
I’m grateful that my years of blogging have been so positive, but I also want to make sure I create enough space to continue working on my own growth and development without feeling unreasonably tied to the past. I’m not trying to erase my past, but I don’t need to be reminded of it every day. Even a positive past can become a leash.
I know that recurring thoughts have the ability to manifest as real. If my thoughts keep going to the past, then I’ll manifest more of the same. As good as the past five years have been, I don’t want to live a re-run for the next five.
Update: After removing my contact form for several months, I found a better solution, which involved writing a custom plugin for my contact form. I’ve since restored the form, which now does a pretty good job of filtering out unwanted spam.