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MathGroup Archive 2004

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Re: Re: Re: MathGroup /: Descriptive headings

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg52036] Re: [mg52010] Re: [mg51971] Re: MathGroup /: Descriptive headings
  • From: DrBob <drbob at bigfoot.com>
  • Date: Mon, 8 Nov 2004 03:13:16 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <200411060707.CAA25940@smc.vnet.net> <200411070603.BAA18026@smc.vnet.net>
  • Reply-to: drbob at bigfoot.com
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

>> [SpamArrest would not work on my systems which are not Windows....

It doesn't matter what kind of systems you have; they have NOTHING installed on my machine, and I assume they wouldn't put anything on yours. Their only presence here is in the pop-3 mail setup, where I input the addresses and password they sent me.

SpamArrest intercepts e-mail at my ISP and forwards it to me only if (a) the sender responds to an e-mail challenge, or (b) I have added them to my "white" list at their website.

I can block or authorize specific addreses or whole domains, and I can authorize mailing lists (like this one), so everybody sending to the list doesn't get challenged.

I only had to sign up at their website and change my mail setup.

Bobby

On Sun, 7 Nov 2004 01:03:26 -0500 (EST), DrBob <drbob at bigfoot.com> wrote:

> 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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