Usenet Improvement Project

The Problem -
And The Solution

Home: What Is The Project?
Underlying Issue
Other Voices A G-Grouper Is Born
Gmail - A Warning
Filters Other Stuff

Filters - Background

We have been encouraged to publish a list of filters for various popular news clients, for scoring and/or killing posts from Google Groups. There are two ways to create filters: via some part of the software's user interface and by editing (creating, if necessary) a text file containing the rules. With some clients, you can do either; i.e., while they store their scoring rules unencoded in a plain text file they also offer a dialog or wizard to create them from the program interface.

The article header on which filtering need be applied is the Message-ID header. This is a header that is, in theory and if properly formed, unique for each article posted to Usenet. There should be no two Message-ID (subsequently abbreviated "MID") headers alike.

But some share common characteristics. For instance, the default MID for posts generated by Forte's Agent and Free Agent software default to ending with "", if the user doesn't have his own domain and configure it for the right-hand end of the MID. This is broken behavior from these clients, as the MID should reflect the point at which the message enters the Usenet universe, not a domain owned by the developer of the software. But we digress.

While the MID isn't much use for filtering on individuals posting from large feeds like comcast or virgin, it can be useful in some cases. One of those cases is the filtering of Google Groups posters. Each post from these Google Groupers contains the distinctive string in its MID. So we we filter on googlegroups.

Which brings us to a caveat. Some people filter on the From header containing a Google gmail address. This makes no sense and is not good. There are lots of posters who aren't Google Groupers whose news posts indicate a gmail account. Similarly, there are Google Groupers who show non-gmail email addresses in their posts. The two aren't the same; don't be fooled. If you want to eliminate apples, don't filter on oranges.

So, if your news client lets you filter via its user interface select a Google Grouper's post and engage that dialog to kill on "Message-ID contains googlegroups" - or however it displays that action.

If it doesn't, or you wish to manually set a rule, you can do that by editing the score file with a text editor. This is more flexible than using a program's interface anyway, because it allows you to do a lot more; but that's for another place and time. We're about filtering Google Groupers, and that's dead simple. The following pages will show you how to do that for some of the common and capable news clients.

If you happen to be using a client with brain-dead filtering that doesn't allow scoring on the MID header (Thunderbird, for example) and don't want to upgrade to a more capable one, you can't do that directly. But check out your client in the filters list in the left column and you can learn how to filter Google Groupers despite its weakness.

Important: Place this rule at the top of the score file so it's the first one by which each message is evaluated.