Nick Harring writes:

> That's funny, it looked a lot like signal to me.

Not only did I refer you to a seminal work by Claude Shannon from the
late 1940s, I gave you a summary of the salient details - yet you fail to
understand.  A new subscriber to this list who has not checked the
archives, or somebody who does not read every message (whether through
laziness or a broken mail system) will regard the first appearance of
what most of us consider to be noise as being signal.

> Obviously the announcements aren't that regular, since I've been 
> subscribed to this list for something like 8 months now, and this is the 
> first one I remember seeing.

Congratulations.  You've been here longer than I have.  The only thing
is that, even with my notoriously-poor memory, I remember seeing MANY
announcements from him.  At least more than one a month.

> I have no real desire to get into some large debate about this, however 
> I would definitely say that I vehemently disagree with applying a term 
> like entropy to questionably off-topic messages to a mailing list.

Then you have no understanding of information theory.  The use of the term
"entropy" is not some metaphor or simile: information and entropy share
the same dimensional units.  To understand why, you should google for
"Maxwell's Demon" and then do a lot of reading from there.

> If you're so thoroughly concerned with signal to noise on a list that 
> subscribe to, I'd recommend unsubscribing.

That would be your recommendation.  It has the benefit to me of losing
what I consider to be noise (and the benefit to some others of reducing
what they consider to be the noise of some of my posts).  It has the
disadvantange to me of losing the signal (and the disadvantage to some
others of reducing what they consider to be the signal of some of
my posts).  I consider trying to improve the signal-to-noise ratio to
be a better approach.

As you seem to have failed to note, I have regularly pointed out that
"search the archives" is a bad answer.  Because after a few months,
the first few hundred hits you get from Google are "this has already
been answered, search the archives."  This is my empirical experience
and nobody has yet said their experience is different.  An FAQ, antiquated
as it may seem, does the job a lot better than an archive search.  An
FAQ that pointed to the latest version of his installation script would
keep us happy and keep him happy.  This is how the world used to work
before Google, and how it still needs to work when dealing with mailing
lists.  Google is NOT a substitute for an FAQ.  Anyone who thinks otherwise
already has all the answers and has no empathy for anyone who does not have
all the answers.

> Particularly since you've demonstrated that you're quite skilled with
> vpopmail, so its doubtful you derive any real benefit from the list,

The benefit I gain is in spotting proposals that would be detrimental
to some users of vpopmail and suggesting alternatives that would allow
more people to be happy.  This is not entirely altruistic, because the
reason I spot stuff like that is because the proposals would also be 
detrimental to my usage.  I figure that I'm behaving ethically if I can 
provide an alternative that keeps the proposer happy and keeps me and
a reasonable number of others happy without significantly higher workload
on the developers.  Do you disagree?

> other than the emotional highs you get from tearing into people.

I only tear into people I believe (I may, in specific cases be wrong) to
be foolish.  I get far greater satisfaction from helping people.  Then
again, one might consider forcing people to understand when they are
being foolish as helping them overcome their innate disadvantages at
perceiving reality.  YMMV, depending what universe you inhabit...

Paul Allen
Softflare Support

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