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Thursday, January 31, 2008

How do you read email when there's so much spam?

Mark Bernstein has an observation and a question:
I no longer trust my email. If you send me mail, I will probably receive it, but I’m far from certain that it won’t be lost in the vast deluge of spam.

Meanwhile, Eudora is obviously past its sell-by date; my spam bucket overflows every month, and apparently Eudora crashes when it has more than 32,768 messages in a mailbox. With a mere thousand spam messages a day, that’s suddenly a very real possibility.

Do grownups rely on mail.app? Is there another option?
I definitely rely on mail.app, and mail almost never gets “lost in the vast deluge of spam.” Here’s my setup:
  • Most spam gets caught by spamassassin on the server, which sends it on to me appropriately marked.

  • I then have a mail.app Rule that puts such messages into my SPAM mailbox without ever appearing in my Inbox.

  • Spam that gets through the spamassassin filter unscathed might then be caught by mail.app’s Junk Mail filter. In that case it gets automagically routed to my Junk mailbox by another mail.app Rule.

  • A tiny amount of spam manages to evade both filters. I manually mark it as Junk.

  • I have separate Rules that delete all mail over a week old from both the SPAM and Junk mailboxes, so that I have a chance to look them over if I wish. I have almost never had any false positives, but they do occur every once in a while.
Data from a single day (yesterday):

Spam messages caught by spamassassin on server212
Spam messages caught by mail.app’s Junk Mail filter14
Spam messages that avoided both filters2
False positives0
Legitimate messages52



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