Some Thoughts on SpamSieve

Thursday, March 20th, 2003 @ 11:18 pm | Mac

I had a chance to listen to Michael’s interview on Your Mac Life while I was at work this morning. Michael and Shawn King started talking about SpamSieve’s spam-predicting accuracy and false positives. Michael says that SpamSieve is at least 90% accurate for most people, with many folks seeing accuracy greater than 95%. As for good mail that’s misreported as spam, Michael’s own testing shows that about 1% of errors are false positives.

All this talk about numbers made me look at my statistics, which cover the last six months.

  • Good Messages: 12133
  • Spam Message: 7092

  • False Negatives: 278
  • False Positives: 0
  • 98.6% Correct

I manually whitelist about 20 mailing lists with Mailsmith’s distributed filters, so there are a large number of emails that SpamSieve never sees. However, between SpamSieve and these filters, I haven’t accidentally deleted an unread good email in 6 months and I’ve dealt with about 1.5 emails unfiltered spams/day. Damn, I love this program!

I should probably set up a filter that adds my whitelisted emails to the corpus as good messages. This will give me some protection in case I decide to switch to an email client that doesn’t offer Mailsmith’s level of filtering. I don’t plan on doing that any time soon, but I like to keep my options open. Hell, a few years ago I thought I’d just keep using Emailer

Truthfully, I’m curious how SpamSieve will fare in the next few weeks — I’ve running a fantasy baseball league on Yahoo with some friends. I think I get emails about most league events and, knowing Yahoo, they’re probably HTML emails. You know, the kind I usually mark spam. It should be interesting to see if I can keep my perfect false positive record intact.

Update: Just clarifying that I deal with 1.5 unfiltered spams a day, not 1.5 pieces of email. Also, it doesn’t look like NetNewsWire renders either the <del> or <ins> tags, so if the updated sentence looks a bit disjointed, you know why.

One Response to “Some Thoughts on SpamSieve”

  1. Lee Bennett Says:

    Now, if there could just be a way for AppleScript to tell Entourage to mark an IMAP message as deleted besides just classifying it as junk and changing it’s color to grey, SpamSieve would officially become the single most useful utility of all time for me. It does great, lately, at catching spam properly, but since I use IMAP messages and prefer to not use an IMAP Deleted Items folder, I still have to manually highlight junk messages and hit delete.