Make your own free website on
Rant, rant, rant...

Unpleasant people on a.s.m.
A quick lesson on using message filters on common newsreaders

"I'm afraid to post here because you people are so mean".... "I'm going to report you to your ISP for slander".. ."You should work on your anger, it's obviously what's causing your symptoms" ..."You ought to take hormones, lady--maybe then you'd have some compassion" ..."Your mother wears Army shoes"..."neener-neener"....

We've heard all of these and more on Part of this is because a.s.m. is a meeting ground for people of wildly different backgrounds, experience with USENET, electronic communications skills, and expectations of support. Add to that the fact that a couple of us can be in terrible moods on any given day, and the fact that there are a few folks who simply don't get along with one another, and it can get a little messy on the newsgroup. And it does.

USENET (of which is a part) is an entirely open medium and anyone can post anything he or she likes. If it's overtly threatening, many internet service providers will take action to curtail that person's ability to post to USENET. But few ISPs take much action on postings that are merely annoying, since annoyance, like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder.

Just because folks can post what they please, though, doesn't guarantee them an audience. If you find that there are topics or individuals on you'd prefer to avoid, you may be able to allow them complete freedom of expression while avoiding them completely by using your newsreader's filtering capabilities.

Here are instructions for doing so with four of the most popular: Netscape, Outlook Express, AOL, and Agent. Thanks to Joanna and Silver for instructions on Outlook Express and Agent. Please let me know if any of the instructions are inaccurate or unclear.

AGENT: Open the post of someone you want to avoid. Click on 'Message' in the main menu. 3/4 of the way down you click on 'Filters'. You then have the choice of 'Kill Filter' or 'Watch'. Click on 'Kill'. The name and domain of the person you wish to 'kill' will appear in a box at the top. Click on 'paste author' and then decide if you want their posts to vanish at source or just be marked as read. If you want to avoid a particular subject you have to type it in.



OUTLOOK EXPRESS 5.0 (IE5's mail/newsreader) Doesn't apply to earlier versions and is NOT the same as Outlook -For newsreader only

To block a particular sender select a news post select from "Message" menu, option "Block Sender" follow prompts To filter posts containing specific words/subjects etc select from "Tools" menu, option "Message Rules" then "News" work thru presented checklist menu

To ignore a particular thread select from "Message" menu option "Ignore Conversation" ensure "View" is set to "Hide Read or Ignored Messages" Not as complicated as it sounds, once you get the hang of it - and the help file is extensive. HTH



AOL 4.0 and 5.0 Navigate to the desired newsgroup. Click on "preferences." The "filters" options are at the bottom of the dialog box. You may filter by poster's e-mail address (e.g.,, domain name (e.g.,, or character string (e.g., lblanch). There are similar choices for message subject. Be sure to choose the "add filter" button (you'll see your selection added to the list on the right) and be sure to save your changes before leaving the preferences window, or you may find the same old unappentizing posts in your newsgroup.



NETSCAPE V. 4.5 and higher (I don't know about earlier versions). Navigate to the desired newsgroup. From the edit pulldown menu, select "filters" -- it's toward the bottom. You have the choice of "author is," "author contains," "subject is," or "subject contains."

You can also ignore entire conversations from the "message" pulldown menu, by *marking* an entire thread read (which will zap the current crop of messages with that subject) or by selecting "ignore thread," which I think has a more permanent effect.




Laura's midlife pages - killfiles
August 1, 1999


[Back to Index]