Dunno if you’ve noticed it, but beggars are a big problem in online communities, particularly virtual worlds. Here’s a hilarious post about begging on his blog, over at John Chow Dot Com:

Can I Have 50 Thousand Dollars? No Seriously, Can I?

I get tons of emails from people asking me for stuff but this one from 16 year old Keenen should win some kind of award. However, I’m not sure what award I should give it.

Hey, I’m trying to raise money for a car. I’m a sixteen year old kid in New York city and my parents wont buy me a car or even let me drive until I get my own insurance and my own car. With all the money you make from Adsense per week I was wondering if you would be willing to give me $50k so I can purchase an Audi TT and insurance for at least two years.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you reply. Note: If you actually visited the site this email address is hosted on I’m asking for a Mustang, but just recently have I seen the TT and I’m hooked. I haven’t gotten a chance to change the layout with all the freezing Photoshop causes on my computer.

From Mustang to Audi TT. Nice upgrade. I guess I’m lucky he didn’t see a Ferrari! How would you reply to Keene if you got the above email?

General consensus was to send him John Chow’s eBook. Me, I reckon I’d send him a good smack and send him to his bedroom. Or can’t we do that anymore? BTW he said thanks once and please not at all.

Anyway, a point that is not raised often in establishing social networks is how to deal with beggars on forums and in-world. This I guess comes under Rules and definitely under Etiquette. Some companies choose to ignore it, while others are stringent about buying/selling/begging on forums and in blogs. Oh and be careful. Sometimes when you see a post called something like “gimmeh stuffz okthnxbai” it’s a joke. You’ll get hammered by the community if you remove it with a “no begging” statement. Seriously. It’s a joke.

Talking of begging, I stole the idea from John Chow (and others I’ve seen lately) and put up a beer/cocktail fund on my blog. It’s a link to PayPal.

I reckon if everyone who gets value out of my blog put in a dollar, in about a year I could afford a cafe espresso martini at Blue Horizon Bar. Heh.