Flag offensive flame-mail with MoodWatch

MoodWatchTM is a new language tool that acts as an emotion monitor for your email that flags aggressive language and calls it to your attention. MoodWatch can detect aggressive, demeaning or rude language in the email you send and receive by looking at both individual words and complete phrases.
--from the Eudora web site

MoodWatchTM is one of the latest "features" to come down the pipe in email programs, namely Eudora. The claims given above are based upon some sort of document classification system (read: it looks for certain words and phrases, since most of the ideas in the white paper that would require parsing for context are not implemented). Email messages are rated on a 0-3 chili pepper scale; 0 isn't actually listed, but it's what most email will fall into. One pepper is "Better hope you know the person", which I have never seen so far. Two would be "Watch out, you're playing with fire chilies here". Three is "Whoa, this is the kind of thing that might get your keyboard washed out with soap".

When my copy of Eudora Lite 3.1 abruptly corrupted itself in some obscure way Monday morning, I wanted my email fast. So I pulled out the installer I'd had sitting around for a few months. Since I left it in sponsored mode, all features were turned on.

I was vaguely aware of the feature until I received an email from a non-noder friend I had been discussing a node with. It marked it with two chili peppers on the 0-3 scale used by the system. Two peppers, FWIW, is the default level it will warn you at when you send mail. I couldn't figure out why until I looked at the white paper on the theory behind it. In section 5.3.2, one of the categories of words that did make it into the dictionary (because it did not require parsing) would be sexual fetishes. I related this to the friend, along with casting aspersions on the sexual experience of the guy behind the white paper. Interestingly, it didn't flag this email at all, perhaps because I was a bit more subtle and creative than the average flamer. She responded with amusement and a signature that included the f-word. This was also worth two chili peppers. We laughed about it. I find the feature amusing, because I learned to control my temper online the hard way.

This morning, though, I noticed I received an email with three chili peppers. Who could have sent it to me? It was my Everything Daily Report. I think it was the editor cooled node You noders still fucking suck, but your needing my wisdoms bad. But there is no way I'm washing EDB's keyboard out with soap.


The Eudora page on the MoodWatchTM "feature" is available at http://www.eudora.com/email/features/moodwatch.html
Flaming: A White Paper is available at http://www.eudora.com/presskit/pdf/Flaming_White_Paper.PDF

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