Filters Gone Wild

a while there it was looking as though email was becoming obsolete and
impossible to use. Our emailboxes (all half dozen
of them) were filling up constantly with ridiculous come-ons, fantastic
products and transparent scams, and picking out the real messages from
the Spam was like finding the truth on a major candidate’s web site –
it may be there somewhere, but you’ve gotta wade through a whole lotta
shit to find it. We were resigned to going back to snail mail.

Then some unnamed genius named Bayes came up with Bayesian
filtering, and suddenly the three real messages were floating to the
top of the three hundred junkers. It seemed like a miracle! The penis
and urgent letters from the ex-Nigerian Finance Ministers were exiled
to a cold and dark corner of our virtual world, to stew and plot
in obscurity. E-mail was back!

Now, alas, the process has come full circle. It came to
our attention, after numerous missed meetings, forgotten birthdays and
unclaimed cash rewards, that a number of extremely NON-JUNK
mails were ending up in the old trash bin! Our filters were out of control!

It took us quite a while to catch on.  At first, when
entire classes of students swore up and down that they had emailed their
essays to me over the weekend, we sneered and called them slackers.  But
when we almost lost an offer of paying work (an editing job from a Dowbrigade
reader in China – the first remuneration produced by our short, sweet life as
a blogger) we
realized something was seriously amiss.

Of course, we were horrified to discover, in our Junk mailbox,
nestled among the Vic*din and the instant PhD’s, our missing messages.
So now we are reduced to not only reviewing our half-dozen inboxes, but
also wading through the bulging Junk mailbox as well! When we find a
misfiled message, it take us three clicks and a drag-and-drop to rescue
the message and supposedly "re-train" our Mail program to avoid these
gaffes in the future.

But it’s not working! We are now spending TWICE as much
time wading through our mail as when the Junk and Not Junk were just
jumbled together into one big box! We are right back to where we started
– only worse.

So let us apologize to all of the slighted relatives,
unanswered students, unresponded-to offers and missed opportunities.  If
we don’t get this figured out soon, we all might have to start buying
stamps again.

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