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FWD: FWD: FWD: Filter

  [vote for,

This is an email filter that catches multiply-forwarded messages and checks to see if you have received them already. If you have, and if the email contains no additional content aside from the new headers, it deletes the message.

I frequently receive many copies the same email message forwarded via different lineages of co-workers. Deleting them by hand is too old fashioned.

swimswim, May 17 2010


       Idea: quantum linked emails that can be rated by all recipients. If an email has received less than a 2 star rating from previous recipients it will be blocked. Constantly updates itself (via quantum linkage) to account for the ratings of people who received the email after you did.
DIYMatt, May 17 2010

       Sometimes the value added to the information is precisely from whom it is forwarded. Coming from the administrative assistant to the CEO is a dfferent story than coming from your cubemate.
RayfordSteele, May 17 2010

       Sorry, this idea got filtered out ...
8th of 7, May 17 2010

       What's wanted, here, is software that   

       1) recognizes overlap (shared common text) between emails, and groups them.
That part's not hard: easy to generate a correlation matrix for everything in your inbox, then apply a statistical clustering algorithm (there are lots; determine empirically which works best). Then, in the listing of emails received, replace all the emails in a cluster with a single entry.

       2) Display that entry as a graph (in the mathematical sense: a bunch of nodes, joined by edges): there's lots of software, these days, for displaying that sort of data.
Each node would be labeled with the sender. Each edge would correspond to a congtiguous block of text common to two nodes
What to do when the same block of text was common to more than two nodes? Represent that text with its own node (different graphical representation from emailNodes -- maybe a smaller differently colored dot) and have edges going from that textNode all the emailNodes that have it in common.

       3) After that, the sky's the limit. As a practical matter, you probably want to be able to step quickly through each email in the cluster. But think of all the other cool stuff you could do. For example, hover the cursor over a bit of text in the email, and have the graph-display rearrange itself so all the nodes that share that bit of text are grouped together on the screen. Arrange the nodes chronologically, with the earlier ones closer to the top of the screen, so you could see how information flowed through the organizational hierarchy.   

       In fact, I'd bet Microsoft, Google, and quite a few others are developing, or have developed tools like this, for offline analysis of email corpora by corporate managers, IT folks, sociologists, and law enforcement agencies. But I'd like to see them used in real time, on a small scale, by ordinary email recipients.   

       ... sorry, got carried away, there.
mouseposture, May 18 2010

       Then again many mail programs cannot even manage not to put "FWD: FWD: FWD:" in the subject line of a thrice forwarded message.   

       I wouldn't hold your breath for an industry standard or even de-facto standard anytime soon, but if you choose an opensource mail reader, you might be able to talk developers into adding the feature. Or add it yourself.
skids, May 18 2010


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