Computer Setup Notes

name and address
apr 25, 2009

Eliminating Spam With Spam Assassin's Learning Function


Many people receive hundreds spam messages for each genuine email. Spam Assassin usually gets rid of 80-90% of them, but it misses many spam messages. That means you may receive ten spams for each bona fide message. Spam Assassin's heuristic learning function can get rid of most of the remaining spam.

  1. Create a folder in mbox format named spam2 . Each time a spam message gets past Spam Assassin, put it in the spam2 folder instead of deleting it. Only messages that Spam Assassin missed should go into this folder. In pine, this is done by typing 's' and then typing 'spam2'.
  2. Make sure your .spamassassin/bayes* files are writable by you: chmod a+rw .spamassassin/bayes*
  3. After your spam2 folder has accumulated at least 200-300 messages (i.e., after about three days), change to the directory where spam2 is located and invoke the Spam Assassin pattern recognition program:
    sa-learn --spam --mbox spam2 . It will take several minutes to analyze the messages.
  4. Afterward, your spam should decrease by roughly a factor of ten. (I used to receive about 100 spam messages per day that were missed by Spam Assassin; now it's down to about 10 per day.)