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  Freitag, 16. August 2002

Paul Graham: A Plan for Spam [ Ø MLAKE • ]

David Ness 7298 days AGO
I'm really glad you brought up the `spam issue' in the context of both of these notes. I must admit that sort of `don't get it' with respect to Spam, and I find that Odd, because I sure have put in a lot of hours on the net across a lot of years.

What bothers me about Paul Graham's piece---to put it in my usual kind and calm way---is that it looks to me like a first rate mind that is being wasted on a third rate problem. I have usually found Graham's stuff to be really smart and I have been waiting, if not with baited breath, at least with real curiosity, for his announcements about ARC. AFAICS the last word on ARC was a report on `Arc at 3 weeks' about 9 months ago. Nothing (that I have seen anyway) since. And here is is putzing about with Spam---which occupies about 5 mins out of my > 12 hour net days.

My `solution' to spam is to filter incoming mail into (a) probably not spam; and (b) probably spam. I admit that I do scan the `Subject' lines of the whole mess, and move obvious mis-categoirzed elements by hand. Then I open the `probably not spam' pile. About once a month something ends up in this pile that really was spam, but that isn't often enough to bother me.

The `probably spam' pile gets short shrift. If anything there looks suspicious (i.e. _not_ spam) then I open that. Again, maybe once a week I thus mistakenly open a piece of spam and about once a month I find a `real' letter that someone had, without thinking, managed to make look like spam.

Why someone as smart as Paul Graham wants to take time away from useful things that he might be doing. to save me one or two of my 5 minutes, I can't imagine.

Anyone know anything about the state of ARC? or was it more of the usual `smoke and mirrors'...

PS: `nosy' lists in the Swartz piece strike me as a `terrible idea', at least for me. A great proportion of the time, it is only half-a-dozen pieces into a thread that it takes a twist that makes it interesting. To have blown it off early in the thread would almost always be a mistake.

gavin 7298 days AGO
David, do you manually filter your incoming mail into the A and B folders? I didn't understand that part of your process.

I've had the same email address for the last 8 years or so and consequently it's ended up on a lot of spam lists sadly.

Where active behind-the-scenes spam wrangling makes a lot of sense for me is when I read email from a wireless device like a Blackberry. I don't have the time or inclination to filter my mail in that case. Nor should I have to pay for the spam bits that'll end up deleted.

Computers are good at math, so let them do it! That's my new motto.

David Ness 7298 days AGO
I should have been clear. I have some positive filters that are easy (J, K and REBOL mailing lists, for example) are easy to recognize and separately box. Most of the `spam' detectors are on the words you'd expect, and in the early days I'd add a term every now and then. The rest goes in to the `look at subject' box. Most of this gets opened.

And I gave up on using any of my handhelds to read any of my mail. So that isn't a problem for me. But I do understand that other people can't adopt the simple `read at my desk' solution.

We are about to put our own `mailserver' on line, and it will handle the initial receipt, forwarding only things we `know' (or are willing to chance) forwarding, and letting us deal with the rest whenever (and wherever) we get a direct net link to our mailserver.

BTW I have never, in all my years on the net, been adequately able to account for the relatively small amount of spam that I ever see. I have had a cable modem for years, and process lots of mail, but never see much spam. Perhaps it is the sign of an all-too-boring life.

earl 7297 days AGO
David, I agree on your "nosy lists" assessment. I'd completely dislike this selective thread filter idea in the context of maillists (not to mention that proper threads on maillists are an utopia anyway) - I'd have missed quite a lot of gems until today with this "feature."

However in the context of "roundup" they may make sense - as the discussion through roundup seems to be (or ought to be) very specific.


The spam I receive has gradually increased during the last few months, but I'm completely aware of the problem source, so I'm in the process of improving my anti-spam arsenal.

In the near term future I'll use a lazy white-list filter in addition with an disposable email system generating one-time addresses to be used in registrations with untrusted websites.

chris 7297 days AGO
Thanks for your nosy lists assessments.

As for the subject of spam, I get loads of it (that's probably a sign of being on too many mailing lists whose admins can't properly enable the "hide full addresses in archive" feature of their list software or being too airy with my one and true address when registering at semi-obscure sites [like]) and I'd welcome any easy way to get rid of (most of) it.

Besides, spam detection touches quite a few very interesting topics (statistics, text & trend analysis), so even if the objective per se wasn't overly interesting, the experience/insights gained while developing such systems may well be worth the effort.

I think Graham & Co. are still busy working on Arc. For how long have we been waiting for K4? ;-)

Not getting too much spam probably is the sign of actually having a life.

David Ness 7297 days AGO
My problem with Arc is, I guess, the `pre-announcement' aspect of it. A different Graham (Alan) promised that Zero (a great new language) was to be announced within days, and IIRC that was now 5 yrs ago and if there's been news since I missed it. So what I am reacting to is that a `3 week' report followed by 9 months of silence didn't augur well. If I remember history correctly I was never `pre-promised' K, and I don't think Arthur or Stevan has `promised' anything about K4 (other than its existence). Of course, I hope all is on track with Arc, and that it's just around the corner...

earl 7297 days AGO

I don't think you missed any news since that announcement.

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