[linux-elitists] kill files (was Re: Request for Comments: How to Deal with Internet Trolls - the Cognitive Therapy approach)

Jason White jason at jasonjgw.net
Fri Mar 4 16:17:43 PST 2011

Don Marti  <dmarti at zgp.org> wrote:

>One key part of the "do not feed the troll" strategy
>is the killfile.  You can make a troll, or someone you
>consider a troll, disappear for you without moderating
>the whole forum, or disturbing the whole forum with
>a discussion about moderation policy.

This is a feature which most MUAs regrettably lack, unlike news readers. One
could of course write Procmail rules to achieve the same result.

My preferred behaviour would be to have messages matching certain criteria
automatically flagged as read. I'm using maildir format, which should make
this easier - any suggestions as to the right tool would be welcome.

Of course, one could argue that this is yet another reason to migrate to
Notmuch, a project that I'm monitoring with interest. The Notmch model would
make this easy, and it can now synchronize the database with maildir flags,

A kill file can be used to eliminate topics that aren't of interest, or
prospectively to render invisible follow-up discussion in threads that have
ceased to be of interest.

The authors of Usenet news readers realized, rightly, the importance of
filtering in online communication. With kill files, scoring, threading, etc.,
they put in place techniques that have turned out to be valuable contributions
to the art.

I have idly wondered, on occasion, how effective statistical filters such as
CRM114 would be in distinguishing interesting from uninteresting posts. I have
also observed that some of the newer and hence less mature online
communication services offer very poor support for filtering. If I subscribe
to someone's blog/RSS feed, or Identica/StatusNet feed (the latter being more
problematic in this regard) I get all of their posts - it's an all or nothing
choice. This doesn't scale well.

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