Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs

Michael Thomas <mike@mtcc.com> Tue, 22 December 2009 20:56 UTC

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Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:56:34 -0800
From: Michael Thomas <mike@mtcc.com>
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Subject: Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs
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Nathaniel Borenstein wrote:
>
> On Dec 22, 2009, at 12:45 PM, Michael Thomas wrote:
>>
>> And it's not like this sort of thing is anything new anyway: lots of 
>> vendors have "report as
>> spam" widgets that get bolted onto the side of your favorite MUA. A 
>> little standardization
>> would be nice though as it would decouple that UI hassle from the 
>> actual job of filtering.
>
> Absolutely -- the report-spam UI will almost certainly be better if 
> it's integrated with the MUA and agnostic regarding the spam engine 
> receiving the report.  The only major open question I'm hearing is how 
> much information that report should contain.  Clearly it should be no 
> more than the number of bits that the user himself can be relied on to 
> provide, where our differing opinions might be resolved via user studies.
>
> It might also be worth considering offering 1 button to most users, 
> but 2 buttons to users who understand the distinction well enough to 
> change a default in their MUA in order to get 2 buttons instead of 1. 
>  I conjecture that the users who would take that action would have a 
> much lower error rate than the average user.   In that scenario, most 
> users would send back a single bit "unwanted" message, but 
> sophisticated users could send back two (or even more?) types of 
> "unwanted" message.  That might be the cleanest data we could hope to 
> get. -- Nathaniel
I think the problem is that if you open it up to more than one bit, it 
begs the question of what the
actual number of bits such a button is. I'd say that it's probably got a 
lot of bits -- far more than is
likely that any user could be bothered with.

Want/don't want is nice in its simplicity, and I suspect it's about as 
much as you can expect from users.
However, there's probably a lot of data that MUA's have at their 
disposal to see how you react to mail.
Like, oh say, educing the duration that you viewed a piece of mail. Or 
whether you replied or forwarded.
Or whether you have a habit of deleting particular kinds of them 
en-mass, and other kinds of behaviour
based data.

I think that if we stopped with this absolutist campaign of  "spam/ham" 
(most of us are not on some
paladin's quest  against the evils of spam, after all) and focused more 
on the context sensitive job of
prioritizing mail, we'd all be a lot better off.

Mike