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MathGroup Archive 2004

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Re: Re: MathGroup /: Descriptive headings

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg52010] Re: [mg51971] Re: MathGroup /: Descriptive headings
  • From: DrBob <drbob at bigfoot.com>
  • Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2004 01:03:26 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <200411060707.CAA25940@smc.vnet.net>
  • Reply-to: drbob at bigfoot.com
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

I can volunteer (on a limited basis, if it helps and doesn't get too onerous) to post notebooks on my website for people who can't do it themselves. In many cases -- maybe most cases -- I'd just use the Copy as InputForm palette and return the code to them.

As for spam, David Park and I both use SpamArrest http://www.spamarrest.com/ to eliminate spam. It really works. The only downside to it for me -- and I don't think this should apply to you, the moderator -- is that I have to check the stopped mail I _want_ from senders who aren't human.


 
[SpamArrest would not work on my systems which are not Windows.  I only use 
UNIX systems.  I consider Windows systems to be a security risk I do not 
want anywhere near my work.   I use spamassassin and my own hand built
procmail filters.  - Moderator] 


You shouldn't want mail like that at all, at the mathgroup address.

Bobby

On Sat, 6 Nov 2004 02:07:32 -0500 (EST), Steven M. Christensen <steve at smc.vnet.net> wrote:

>
> See my comments within the message below.
>
> Steve Christensen
>
>
>>
>> In article <cmfd5u$7ta$1 at smc.vnet.net>,
>>  "Steven M. Christensen" <steve at smc.vnet.net> 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.
>>
>> Do you mean that the spammers are forging email addresses of MathGroup
>> participants and using these to post messages to MathGroup
>> (mathgroup at wolfram.com)? I can see how that would make things more difficult
>> to filter.
>
>
> Yes, this happens all the time.   Spam comes to mathgroup via mailing
> list messages, newsgroup posts, spammers who have just found addresses
> in the newsgroups and archives.
>
>
>>
>> If I understand you correctly, requiring individuals to "register" with
>> you, possibly listing multiple email addresses, and bouncing email that
>> is not from registered participants, with a message telling them how to
>> register, would not work.
>
>
> No this would not work.  I even get spam from wolfram.com addresses
> even though I know it did not come from there.  I sometimes get
> spam from myself!
>
>
>>
>> Because I usually post from a news reader, my messages have the
>> following field:
>>
>>  Newsgroups: comp.soft-sys.math.mathematica
>>
>> Could this be used as a filter (or do spammers forge this as well)?
>
>
> Spammers forge every element of posts.
>
>
>>
>> [As an aside, a solution to SPAM needs to be found. To me, it should
>> cost money, only of the order of a couple of cents, to send any email
>> message. You would need to purchase a valid one-off "e-stamp", using
>> some form of encryption technology, from some site (I'm suprised that
>> the automatic billing sites have not already done this). Then only valid
>> e-stamps would be routed though the network. There are, of course, many
>> issues with this proposal ...]
>>
>> >     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.
>>
>> To me, one of the major limitations of MathGroup is that we cannot
>> attach Notebooks (without including them in the body of the message).
>
>
>
> Attaching notebooks causes numerous problems.
>
> 1.  Notebooks as attachments are very often rejected by spam filters
>     either at ISP's, moderation level, or end users.
>
> 2.  Can a windows user really trust that a notebook attachment is not
>     a virus or worm?   If I were using a Windows machine and saw an
>     attachment, I would not open it.
>
> 3.  Many notebooks are very long and some mail systems will not be able
>     to handle them.  Rules about attached notebooks would have
>     to be devised.  Not a simple matter given that I get so many
>     posts that can't follow even simpler rules.
>
> It is far simpler to have someone put their notebook on a server somewhere
> where it can be downloaded and then include a link within the post.
>
>
>>
>> > 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.
>>
>> Actually, if the Subject line included question categories as is being
>> proposed, couldn't you use this as the primary filter (or again, do
>> spammers forge this as well)?
>
>
> Again, spammers will grab email addresses, Subject lines, even
> content sometimes.  Most of that comes to me where I filter it.
> But I have had some reports that people get email from mathgroup
> and I did not send.
>
>
>>
>> > 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
>> >      numbers to the Subject line of the mail that goes to
>> >     the mailing list.  Note that the [  ] are really needed.
>>
>> As I read MathGroup in a newsreader or sometimes via Google at
>>
>>  http://groups.google.com/groups?q=comp.soft-sys.math.mathematica
>>
>> I do not see the numbers or the []. Google seems to handle threading
>> better than my newsreader.
>>
>
>
>
> The [mg ... ] numbers only go out to the mailing list to help with
> filtering.  They will not be seen in the newsgroup or on google.
>
>
>> The numbers do not appear at
>>
>>  http://forums.wolfram.com/mathgroup/archive/2004/Nov/
>>
>> until you click on a particular message so I'm not sure exactly how they
>> are useful (but then again, I avoid mailing lists and prefer to use
>> newsgroups or the web). (And I wonder why the Mathgroup archive is not
>> threaded?)
>
>
> The archive gets its message from the mailing list and I also think
> it just uses a mail to html script and not a threaded system.  I do
> not do the archive.
>
>
>>
>> >     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.
>>
>> I did not realise exactly how big a task you face.
>
>
> Clearly if it weren't for the spam, it would be easier.
>
>
>>
>> > So, the questions are, when during this process would categorisation
>> > take place? Who would do it?
>>
>> It would be best if contributors did such a categorisation for you, i.e.
>> at the time of posting.
>>
>> > What would it look like?
>>
>> Instead of [], another suggestion would be (mock Mathematica syntax
>> using /:), e.g.,
>>
>>    Statistics /: Chi-square test
>>
>> This would also be harder to forge and should still be easy to filter.
>
>
> It might be possible if we can define say only 10 categories and
> then put the category either in a special header or within the
> test of a message.   This could be done in a voluntary way by
> the person sending the post.
>
> If people want to send me a list of 10 categories,  I can collect
> them and see if there really are 10 or maybe 100, which would
> be silly I think.
>
> Another idea would be for someone clever to write a script that
> could categorize a post.   For example, all words in a post
> could be extracted to a list and then compared to a list of
> categories and those categories that that fit could be chosen
> and put on say the top line of the post to help with filtering.
> Some posts might not be easy to treat in this way, but it might
> help.
>
> Paul, this is your suggestion and you are known to be very clever, want to
> write such a program?
>
> In truth, I don't think I want to do anything unless there is
> a significant vote from end users to do it and a nice way
> to handle it consistently
>
>
>>
>> > How would it effect mail and newsgroup readers?
>>
>> I imagine that it would have little effect, except the desired one of
>> allowing better filtering.
>>
>> > 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?
>>
>> Surely that is exactly what they are designed to do.
>>
>> And I could filter the messages into subfolders of my MathGroup folder
>> automatically.
>>
>> > 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.
>>
>> This idea has merit and, again, it might be harder to forge, but I don't
>> know enough about these headers.
>>
>> > Personally, I think they would just make the Subject lines longer
>> > and harder to read.
>>
>> Nested Re: Re: Re: ... already does this, though Google handles this
>> very well, in its threading, dropping all Re at the top level, listing
>> only the subject, and then listing the contributor for each item in the
>> thread.
>
>
> Yes, the Re Re Re is a problem and I will try to fix that.
>
>
>>
>> > Who is going to do the categorisation?
>>
>> The contributor.
>>
>> > 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.
>>
>> Sometimes categorizations have to change. You could have
>>
>>   Numerics -> Graphics /: Accurate plotting
>>
>> when there is such a change.
>>
>> > Search therefore becomes inaccurate very quickly.
>>
>> I don't think that this is true.
>>
>> > What if someone disagrees with my selections?
>>
>> Not a big issue, I think. I think the group will come to consensus on a
>> categorization, or move on to a different categorization as required.
>>
>> > How much time will this add to moderation?
>>
>> I would hope that it would greatly _reduce_ your moderation time.
>
>
> I can assure you that adding more complexity to the posts will
> increase moderation time.
>
>
>>
>> > If others select the categories to help me out, that will just
>> > delay moderation.
>>
>> I do not see why.
>>
>> > 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?
>>
>> There should be a list in the rules section at
>>
>>   http://smc.vnet.net/mathgroup.html
>>
>> > What if a users forgets to include a categorisation?
>>
>> You can add one.
>>
>> > Is someone going to go back and categorise the 51,000 messages that
>> > are already in the archive?
>>
>> Unlikely, I think. However, I expect that the archive has grown
>> exponentially and will continue to do so.
>>
>> > 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 expect that it is used on other newsgroups, but I have not seen it, or
>> there are subgroups.
>>
>>  sci.math
>>  sci.math.symbolic
>
>
> If you look at these groups you will find no real categorisation
> of any kind.   I could not find any group that had any.
>
>
>>
>> > I am open to suggestions and comments, but I frankly this this
>> > is going to be a very difficult process to do.
>>
>> It was intended as a suggestion to reduce your workload, to speed up the
>> rate of posting to MathGroup, and to improve the automatic filtering
>> (and threading) of messages.
>>
>> Cheers,
>> Paul
>>
>>
>> >
>> >
>> > Hi all, and especially Steve Christensen:
>> >
>> > At the recent Wolfram Technology Conference in Champaign, Luc Barthelet
>> > <lucb at ea.com>, 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
>>
>> --
>> Paul Abbott                                   Phone: +61 8 6488 2734
>> School of Physics, M013                         Fax: +61 8 6488 1014
>> The University of Western Australia      (CRICOS Provider No 00126G)
>> 35 Stirling Highway
>> Crawley WA 6009                      mailto:paul at physics.uwa.edu.au
>> AUSTRALIA                            http://physics.uwa.edu.au/~paul
>>
>
>
>
>



-- 
DrBob at bigfoot.com
www.eclecticdreams.net


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