[Physics FAQ] - [Copyright]

Updated 1993 by SIC.
Original by Scott Chase.

The Care and Feeding of Kill Files

With most news readers, it is possible for you to selectively ignore articles with certain title words, or by a certain author.  This feature is implemented as a "kill file", that contains instructions to your news reader about how to filter out unwanted articles.  The exact details on how to specify articles you want to ignore varies from program to program, so you should check the documentation for your particular news reader.  Some examples are given below for a few common news readers.  If your news reader does not support kill files, you may want to consider upgrading to one that does.  Some of the more popular news readers that support kill files are rn, trn, nn, xrn, gnews, and gnus.

Let's say that you wish to `kill' all posts made by a certain user.  Using the `rn' or `trn' news reader, you would type a [CTRL]-K while in read mode to begin editing the kill file, and then type the following:

     /From: username@sitename.com/h:j
This will look for articles that come with "From: username@sitename.com" in the header, junk them, and then display the subject lines of titles that just got zapped.

To kill articles by Subject titles, you would type something like this:

     /: *The Big Bang Never Happened/:j
     /: *Space Potatoes Have Inertia/:j
When finished, save the kill file in the normal manner for the editor you're using.

In trn 3.0 and higher you can use the faster command

to kill all of username's postings.  In trn change the 'j' to ',' to kill all the replies as well.  Note the '\' to escape the '.'.  This is needed in any search string in a kill file (although they usually work if you forget).  Also in [t]rn you can simply hit K to automatically killfile the current subject without directly editing the file.

For the `nn' news reader, type a capital K when viewing the contents of a newsgroup.  nn will then ask you a few questions on whether it is a Subject or a Name, duration of time that the posts are to be killed, etc.  Simply answer the questions accordingly.

There's a lot more to it, of course, when you become proficient.  You can kill all articles cross-posted to specific groups, for example, or kill any article with a particular name or phrase appearing anywhere in the header.  A good primer is in the "rn KILL file FAQ" which appears periodically in news.answers.  You should also check the man pages for your particular news reader.