Rules Project: Encouraging Contributions

(part of RulesProjectPlan)

Problem description: 'The SpamAssassin committers are not spending much time writing rules. Attempts to recruit people to become committers to write rules have been somewhat unsuccessful. We could always use more committers and contributors; what can we do to encourage more contribution?'

Here's some ideas.


See RulesProjectSandboxes.


LorenWilton noted 'A big part (perhaps the biggest part) of rules development is the mass check. Most anyone can develop a rule on their home system and see how they *think* it works. Some few (but not many) people can do a mass-check on their home system and see how it *really* works - *for them*. As proposed, this rules project doesn't address the most important part of a rules project -
some way to check the rules against a fairly large corpus.'

Nightly Mass-Checks

We currently have the NightlyMassCheck systems which do this, but turnaround time is too slow for most rule developers.

It does however offer the following good aspects:

  • info on how a new rule compares to the full *existing* ruleset
  • overlaps between rules, using "hit-frequencies -o"
  • collated results across all users' corpora, which can be broken down to view each user separately or all together
  • checked rules and their results are kept in a version-control history, so benefits of VC are available
  • ongoing visibility of hit-rates of the existing ruleset, against fresh corpora

The ruleqa CGI is now in the SpamAssassin zone, so this is still visible, even though the automc stuff is disabled. Here it is:

'LOAFER': Suggestion: It would be good to know the % runtime figure for a sandbox rule as a missing boundary can take a rule from 1.5% to 0.0n% performance hit easily:

 perl -d:DProf mass-check -j=1 spam:dir:some_reasonable_sample_set_including_hits_and_misses
 dprofpp -O 2000 > perf.log

JustinMason: Agreed, this would be useful.

Someway of scheduling a small run during the development day would be useful, rather than waiting for the nightly. An email of users completed results would be nice to see too.

JustinMason: the "preflight" system provides the "small run" option – see below!

Preflight Mass-Checks

See RulesProjBuildBot.