Open Source Documentation

This is very hum­bling to me. Last week, at the Doc­Train West con­fer­ence, 25 writ­ers pro­duced a man­u­al for Fire­Fox in just two days as part of the FLOSS Man­u­als project. The man­u­al is freely avail­able online and is dis­trib­uted in a Cre­ative Com­mons CC-BY-SA license. You can pur­chase a print-on-demand copy of the man­u­al from LuLu as well, which helps to sup­port the FLOSS project. So a spe­cial thanks to all those folks who spent some time indoors (when they could have been enjoy­ing Palm Springs) to help the open source com­mu­ni­ty. I’ve already sent a link to the man­u­al to my mom, who uses Fire­Fox on her mac!

StupidFilter Needs Some Education

Gru­ber had post­ed this after­noon about a great-sound­ing, open-source project titled Stu­pid­Fil­ter meant to help fil­ter out stu­pid com­ments on the web. From the Stu­pid­Fil­ter site:

The solu­tion we’re cre­at­ing is sim­ple: an open-source fil­ter soft­ware that can detect ram­pant stu­pid­i­ty in writ­ten Eng­lish. This will be accom­plished with weight­ed Bayesian or sim­i­lar analy­sis and some rules-based pro­cess­ing, sim­i­lar to spam detec­tion engines. The pri­ma­ry chal­lenge inher­ent in our task is that stu­pid­i­ty is not a bina­ry dis­tinc­tion, but rather a mat­ter of degree. To this end, we’re col­lect­ing a ranked cor­pus of stu­pid text, gleaned from user com­ments on pub­lic web­sites and ranked on a five-point scale. 

How­ev­er, when I tried the demo out, I was very dis­ap­point­ed. I thought I’d start easy and enter:

First post!

Which is just about the dumb­est com­ment I could think of which might appear online. The response from the online demo?

Text is not likely to be stupid.

Uh-huh. We clear­ly have dis­parate def­i­n­i­tions of what con­sti­tutes stu­pid­i­ty. Good luck, guys. I am real­ly root­ing for this to work. If the trolls, flamers, and idiots know they’re being ignored, then they real­ly might go away. We’re just not there yet if I still ever have to read “First post!”

So, Yikes! I thought I’d try and lob them anoth­er slow and soft pitch to see if I had jumped the gun with my two-word gimme. This text gave the same “not like­ly to be stu­pid” result:

You’re and idiot! I can­not believe that you’d ever agree with Bush and/or Oba­ma! You should die you Nazi and/or hippie!

Could some­one please give an exam­ple of what is stu­pid text, then?