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Participating in Internet Newsgroups : Filtering Newsgroup Messages, Rating Posts

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6/30/2013 5:24:34 PM

Filtering Newsgroup Messages

Many newsgroups are riddled with spam(unsolicited commercial email) and off-topic rants and raves. Such groups are said to have a bad signal-to-noise ratio. To help improve this ratio, Windows Mail has a newsgroup filter feature that enables you to set up criteria for messages you don’t want to see. Here are the steps to follow to set up a newsgroup filter:

1.
Select the Tools, Message Rules, News command. One of two things will happen:

  • If this is the first time you are creating a rule, Windows Mail displays the New News Rule dialog box.

  • If you already have at least one rule, the Message Rules dialog box appears with the News Rules tab displayed. In this case, click New to open the New News Rule dialog box.

2.
In the Select the Conditions for Your Rule list, activate the check box beside the rule condition you want to use to pick out a message from the herd. Windows Mail adds the condition to the Rule Description text box. Note that you’re free to select multiple conditions.

3.
The condition shown in the Rule Description text box will probably have some underlined text. You need to replace that underlined text with the specific criterion you want to use (such as a word or an address). To do that, click the underlined text, type the criterion in the dialog box that appears, and click Add. Most conditions support multiple criteria (such as multiple addresses or multiple words in a subject line), so repeat this step as necessary. When you’re done, click OK.

4.
If you selected multiple conditions, Windows Mail assumes that all the conditions must be true before invoking the rule (Boolean AND). To change this, click and in the Rule Description text box, activate the Messages Match Any One of the Criteria option, and click OK.

5.
In the Select the Actions for Your Rule list, activate the check box beside the action you want Windows Mail to take with messages that meet your criteria. You might have to click underlined text in the Rule Description text box to complete the action. In addition, you can select multiple actions.

6.
Use the Name of the Rule text box to type a descriptive name for the rule.

7.
Click OK. Windows Mail drops you off at the News Rules tab of the Message Rules dialog box.

Rating Posts

Most newsgroups are busy places frequented by a wide range of people. Some posts are extremely informative, interesting, and some people routinely make meaningful contributions to the group. Other posts are not so useful, whether they are off-topic or part of the flame wars that erupt in most newsgroups.

Unfortunately, separating the good posts from the bad is a difficult task. After you spend time in a group, you learn who the competent users are and which users are not worth reading. For every other post, however, there is no way to know in advance whether the content is worth your time to read it.

Windows Mail aims to reduce that uncertainty by enabling you to rate any post in a Windows Communities group using a simple scale: Useful or Not Useful. By rating posts, you help others decide which posts to read and which to ignore.

Note that to rate a post, you must have an account on the Microsoft Passport Network—for example, an MSN Hotmail or Windows Live Mail account. If you have such an account, your first step is to sign in to Windows Communities by following these steps:

1.
Select any newsgroup in the Windows Communities server.

2.
Select Tools, Microsoft Communities: Sign In. (Alternatively, click any message in the group and then click the Sign In button that appears in the message header.)

3.
Type your Passport Network E-mail Address and Password.

4.
Click Sign In.

After you sign in, you see a Rate this Post section in the header of each message, as shown in Figure 1. Drop down the list and then click either Useful or Not Useful. Note that Windows Mail doesn’t give you any way to change the rating, so make sure that you click the correct choice.

Figure 1. After you sign in to Microsoft Communities, you can rate posts on the server’s newsgroups.

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