You know the spell-checker. Now meet the FLAME-checker! : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

This one needs no introduction, folks. You've just got to read it to believe it.

Worried Your E-Mail May Offend the Boss? Just Check it for Chilies

from The Wall Street Journal, p. B1 (Sept 25, 2000)

Consider this E-Mail message: "You really expect me to give this to the boss? I'm not about to tell her we can't meet the deadline." Routine office banter? Or a provocative verbal riposte likely to escalate an argument?

David Kaufer wants to help your computer decide. Head of the English department at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, he is working to codify what constitutes a "flame," the kind of scorching missive unique to e-mail: His work has just been built into a popular e-mail program as a feature called MoodWatch. It's essentially an emotional spell-checker that scans for vitriol instead of typos...figuring out when people are being obnoxious...

It's a cute feature. When you're writing an e-mail message, a tiny icon of an ice cube remains in the window as long as you're on good behavior. If you verge into potential flame territory, you get a chili pepper. The spiciest messages rate three chilies, and an author who tries to send one is warned, "Your the sort of thing that might get your keyboard washed out with soap."

Behind the scenes, MoodWatch works overtime trying to figure out when to assign those chili peppers. Right off the bat, it looks for hot-button words, many of which can't be printed in this newspaper. Then it scans for phrasing patterns that can represent more subtle forms of flaming. For instance, a high concentration of sentences structured around the second-person "you" can suggest an attack on the recipient...

Pit-bull phrases include opinionated declarations like "That's a stupid idea," heated denials ("I'm not about to...") and paranoid remarks ("Why is everyone...")...

-- eve (, October 02, 2000


Do you think my last post on the oxy thread would be flagged?

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 02, 2000.

FS -- it might have been flagged. My only problem with it was your use of the term "white trash" which is a racial assumption about the poster and offensive to those of us who actually are white trash. Please don't lump that person in with us.

-- helen (b@r.t), October 02, 2000.


are u white trash to? I lov my traylur

-- (, October 02, 2000.

FS, first thought is that it would probably crash the program. All you do, though, is disable the program before you do an intentional flame. Or better yet, program the software to recognize jerks like that who deserve responses like you gave. Then you could have a little "go for it" icon (maybe a little fist on a chin with "pow" shown -- you know -- a comic-strip-type-thing) show up as soon as the program recognizes the message you got. Hey, maybe it could even HELP you with composing flames in special circumstances like this, as it has all sorts of stored pre- programmed "colorful" words and phrases, anyway.

-- eve (, October 02, 2000.

helen -- LOL! Do you do comedy writing? Sometimes I have writer's block; many other times I can't tell if the audience is really just a "cyber" oil painting. I don't know...maybe it's just my delivery; could be the material, though.

I could use someone like you. We won't tell anyone. You'll get the checks, and all the other forum posters will just assume it's me being funny. E-mail me.

-- eve (, October 02, 2000.

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