Good Words

In addition to a list of "bad" words, you also have a list of "good" words. These are on-topic words specific to the subject matter of your mailing list.

Suppose your mailing list was about baseball.

Your list of good words might contain:

 BASEBALL, 3
 INNING, 3
 STRIKE, 2
 BAT, 2
 WIN, 1
 LOSE, 1
 

Here you have a list of words that might come up in a discussion of baseball. Some words, like BASEBALL and INNING, are highly-specific to baseball and are unlikely to come up in other conversations. These words are given a score of 3. Other words, like STRIKE and BAT, are common in discussions of baseball, but could come up in other subjects. These words get a score of 2. Finally, words like WIN and LOSE are common to all sports and many other areas of life as well, so they are scored as just 1 point.

The moderation program will count up the occurrences of good words in each message. Each occurrence adds its score to the total. The score for a good word remains fixed, no matter how many times that word occurs in a message.

The program will compute the density of good word points, i.e. the total number of points divided by the total number of bytes in the message. An on-topic message should have a reasonable number of points for it's size. A long message with a very low point-count will be assessed a large penalty for being off-topic. This penalty might not be enough to block the message, but undesirable off-topic messages often incur other penalties. For example, they may be SPAM messages containing typical SPAM phrases. Note that almost all messages are assigned some small penalty for being off-topic, usually from 1 to 10 penalty points, which is unlikely to cause the message to be blocked, assuming a threshold of 30.

To get accurate off-topic penalties, it's recommended that you have 100 or more on-topic words. The system automatically increases the weight of the off-topic penalty as you add more good words. With a small number of words, the program can't confidently say that a message is truely off-topic, so the penalty will be small.

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