Subject: Re: A Game (Email - Kelly)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2006 02:11:44 +0900

>>>>> "Jamie" == Jamie Lokier <jamie@shareable.org> writes:

    Jamie> There's an MUA that runs in Emacs (on unix _and_ Windows)
    Jamie> called VM.  Is it that one, I wonder?

'Tis.

    Jamie> Gmail seems to have excited people.

Which helps make my point about features.  The geeks I know by and
large hate it, because it makes handling large quantities of list
traffic hard, and they end up top-posting and asking people to refrain
from changing subjects if at all possible and contradicting themselves
regularly because the compose window isn't vi or emacs, the "threader"
doesn't grok References, and there's no way to get your sent mail
presented in the same place as the received mail.

Anderson, Kelly wrote:

    >> I didn't explain myself well enough. Imagine a combo box (why a
    >> combo box? Because it's easy to imagine) containing "Father",
    >> "Programmer", "Student", "Homeowners Association", etc. When
    >> you pick "Homeowners Association" the emails you see are sorted
    >> in such a way that emails from the other board members of your
    >> homeowners association are at the top of the list. When you
    >> pick "Programmer", emails to the XP list are featured more
    >> prominently, etc.

VM has had "virtual folders" that do very similar things for about ten
years (really).  The reason I focus on the configuration interface is
that to make VM's virtual folders fairly flexible you need to program
Emacs, mostly in Lisp (although many task can be accomplished by
keyboard macros).

So these features are going to be attractive only if "Father",
"Homeowner's Association" etc are either self-defining (preferably) or
easily configured.  Otherwise Linus would be too late: Emacs would
have achieved World Domination a decade or more ago.

And if not, they're just code bloat.

    Jamie> Also, when I mark a spam as "spam"(*), I'd like the
    Jamie> remaining 2000 new mails(**) that are in my INBOX to be
    Jamie> re-evaluated, so that any which have become spams with high
    Jamie> confidence will be deleted immediately.

Gnus (the other pillar of Emacs MUAs) has had automatic rescoring for
about 6-7 years.  Only in the last couple has it been applied to spam
(because Emacs Lisp is *slow* and even in that context Gnus drags---
it's the only program I use regularly that makes me wish for more
CPU).

This is easy though; you just throw CPU at it.  Once you've got a good
(ie, invisibly unintrusive) configuration interface, that is.

    Jamie> Your idea of different roles affecting scoring needn't be
    Jamie> AI, and that would be useful by itself.  A genuine
    Jamie> productivity enhancement, I should think.

Auto-conflabulating folders/priorities is AI, though.  Would you
really pay for these toys to be added to mutt?  Or would you wait for
a free version, and contribute patches?  The people who do pay for all
their software can't do the latter, and it would be serious effort to
do their own configuration.

Consider Google.  Why is Google #1?  Because it autoconfigures.  Ditto
Amazon; browse for 30 minutes on Amazon, and you start getting
seriously good recommendations.  Requires no brains on my part, just
feed them cookies....

-- 
Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba
http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp/        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory