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A kill file (also killfile, bozo bin or twit list) is a per-user file used by some Usenet reading programs (originally Larry Wall's rn) to discard summarily (without presenting for reading) articles matching some unwanted patterns of subject, author, or other header lines.
Thus to add a person (or subject) to one's kill file is to arrange for that person to be ignored by one's newsreader in the future. By extension, it may be used for a decision to ignore the person or subject in other media. Sometimes more than one kill file will be used. Some newsreader programs also allow the user to specify a time period to keep an author in the kill file.
Newer newsreader software like Gnus often provides a more advanced form of filter known as a score file, which can use multiple rules to determine which articles are shown. Web-based forums usually have a similar feature called ignore list, which hides any posts sent by users on the list.
Jerry Pournelle wrote in 1986 of his wish for improvements to a BIX offline reader: "What I really need, though, is a program that will ... sort through the messages, assigning some to a priority file and others to the bit bucket depending on subject matter and origin".
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- Pournelle, Jerry (March 1986). "All Sorts of Software". BYTE. p. 269. Retrieved 27 August 2015.