Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (4610 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Can spam be defeated?
  • From: (Ted Harding) <efh@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 11:56:16 -0000 (GMT)
  • Message-id: <XFMail.061221113646.Ted.Harding@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On 21-Dec-06 Daniel Bauer wrote:
> [...]
> I am not at all an expert, but I dislike the option of
> rejecting emails due to a blacklist. I prefer to have
> spam in my spam-folder (after it has been marked by
> Spam-Assassin), where I can quickly overview the subject
> lines.
> [...]
> Using blacklists for warning/marking purposes seems ok
> to me, but letting a blacklist make decisions can be
> dangerous. Just my opinion.
> Daniel

I've been reading this discussion--technicalities and conflicts
of automated spam-filtering--and welcome Daniel's common-sense

I was going to write, anyway, that the very best filter for
unwanted mail is yourself. The real issue is how you implement
that filter.

In my case, I have mail delivered to a different machine (call
it "mailhost") to the one I actually handle mail on (call it

Logged in to mailhost, I open my inbox with good old fast and
compact 'elm'. This displays a text window with 1 line per mail,
showing sender and subject for each mail.

Then, with one finger on "D" (delete) and one on "J" (skip
down one line), I can work through the bunch of delivered mail
very quickly indeed--the decision to "D" (get rid of it) and "J"
(keep it) is made in a fraction of a second, and I can work
through 100 mails in perhaps a minute. Then quit 'elm', confirming
deletions and keep-in-inbox in the process. Any slips of the fingers
can be rectified with "Shift-K" (move up 1 regardless of status)
and "U" (undelete), though I don't often need that.

Having done that, I then use POP3 retrieval to bring the
remainder over to mailagent, where can deal with it normally
using a mail client (XFMail).

The advantage of this approach is that not only spam (which one
can almost always easily recognise from Sender and Subject) but
also mails from mailing-lists on topics one doesn't want to read
about, etc., are handled all in one go. if there's any doubt,
then pressing the spacebar in 'elm' shows you the body, so you
can then definitively decide. Being eing 'elm', it's very fast.
And, being you, it's as fast as you can be and also flexible,
discriminating and accurate.

Doing this in the MUA (XFMail) would be more tedious, because
it's GUI-based, so you waste ages moving and clocking the mouse!

I get on average about 500 mails a day, of which about 2/3 is
spam, and most of the rest is not interesting, so I only retrieve
some 5-15% for further consideration.

False negatives (retrieving mail I don't really want) are unusual,
and false positives (deleting mail I do want) are very rare.

I reckon that, with the 500 or so per day, dealing with spam and
unwanted mail in this way probably takes 5-10 minutes in total.

By the way, you don't need to use two machines for the above
(depending on your MUA). XFMail stores mail in MH folders,
one of which is "inbox", so doesn't directly deal with the
user's system mailbox /var/spool/mail/user except when pulling
mail. So with an MUA which works that way, you could use 'elm'
on the inbox as above. But if your MUA's inbox is the user's
system mailbox, you may find that the MUA puts a lock on it.

Best wishes, and Season's Greetings to all!

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 21-Dec-06 Time: 11:36:42
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