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Re: Re: [MathGroup]: Descriptive headings

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg51987] Re: [mg51968] Re: [MathGroup]: Descriptive headings
  • From: DrBob <drbob at>
  • Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2004 02:08:07 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <>
  • Reply-to: drbob at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I think the moderator does a great job already; don't mess with it.


On Fri, 5 Nov 2004 03:21:05 -0500 (EST), Steven M. Christensen <steve at> wrote:

> I want to take the opportunity to reply to Paul's suggestion in
> as much detail as possible.
> I am sorry I was not at the event at the Wolfram Technology
> Conference when this was discussed.
> First, here are the steps I take each day to moderate this group.
> Figuring out where in these steps to put in categorization would need
> to fit into this.
> 1.  I get perhaps 2500-3000 emails a day, every day.  Of these, perhaps
>     500 are not spam.  Because the Mathgroup addresses are easily found
>     by spammers, there is no way around getting a lot of spam.
>     Further, because MathGroup users often, unfortunately,
>     send html email or other attachments, maybe 10-20 of their mails get
>     filtered by my, fairly sophisticated but not perfect, spam filters into
>     my spam folder.
> 2.  Of the 500 good emails that get past my spam filters, I then have to
>     filter out those mails that are for Mathgroup.   Then, I have to
>     go through the spam folder to find any MathGroup posts that might be
>     there.  So,there are usually about 70 emails relevant to MathGroup.
>     Some, maybe 10 do not follow the rules - flames, licensing questions,
>     discussions of other systems, really trivial items, totally non-Mathematica
>     related.  In the end, there are 30-60 emails to read in more detail.
> 3.  Once I decide that the posts are OK, I run them through a number of
>     UNIX scripts and do some more editing to take out unneeded mail headers
>     etc.
> 4.  Then the mails are run through scripts that send them to the
>     newsgroup and the mailing list.  One of the scripts adds the
>     [mg ... ] numbers to the Subject line of the mail that goes to
>     the mailing list.  Note that the [  ] are really needed.  Suppose
>     you just put Statistics in the Subject line, mail filters might
>     not always know how to do the filtering, whereas [Statistics]
>     is easier to filter.
> This process takes from 1-3 hours typically, depending on the
> number of emails, their complexity, etc.
> So, the questions are, when during this process would categorisation
> take place?  What would it look like?  Who would do it?  How would
> it effect mail and newsgroup readers?
> I think it would be a bad idea to put things like [Statistics] in
> the Subject line.  Would newsgroup and mail readers be able to
> thread such Subject lines?  It might be better to put it in something
> like an X-Category mail header, but I am not sure that all readers
> could handle this.  Personally, I think they would just make the
> Subject lines longer and harder to read.
> Who is going to do the categorisation?  I know a lot about
> Mathematica and mathematics, but certainly not enough to figure
> out what every message best fits into.  If I make a poor selection
> and a message has gone out it is virtually impossible to re-do
> the categorization in the newsgroups, mailing list, google group
> listings, archives, etc.  Search therefore becomes inaccurate
> very quickly.   What if someone disagrees with my selections?
> How much time will this add to moderation?
> If others select the categories to help me out, that will just
> delay moderation.  Maybe, we can urge the person who originally
> writes the message to select a category, but how does a new user
> know what category to pick?  What if a users forgets to include
> a categorisation?
> Is someone going to go back and categorise the 51,000 messages that
> are already in the archive?
> The simplest thing to do would be to have some group that is willing
> categorise the posts once they get into the Wolfram Research
> archive only.  Then search could be done fairly easily.
> This sort of categorisation may be done in other newsgroups, but
> I have not seen it.
> I am open to suggestions and comments, but I frankly this this
> is going to be a very difficult process to do.
> Steve Christensen
> Hi all, and especially Steve Christensen:
> At the recent Wolfram Technology Conference in Champaign, Luc Barthelet
> <lucb at>, a regular user of MathGroup suggested that it would be
> good if all postings to MathGroup included a categorisation in their
> header, e.g.
>   Newbies, Graphics, Functions, Programming, Statistics, Teaching,
>   Integration, Numerics, Symbolic Algebra, Special Functions, ...
> so a Subject line might take the form
>   [Statistics]: How to fit to an elliptical function?
> (not sure if the [ ] are required or useful). In this way, sorting by
> Subject would be easier. Of course, it's not always easy to do such a
> categorisation, and they may change with time (as a problem stated as a
> Numerics might end up being solved using Symbolic Algebra).
> Nevertheless, I think such a change would be very useful. It should also
> help when doing searches on MathGroup archives.
> Cheers,
> Paul

DrBob at

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