In order to help control the level of spam you receive, the Spam Filter employs a points system. Each message sent to you is analyzed. Every time the filter recognizes something in the message as “spam-like,” it assigns a point to the message. The total number of points represents the message’s level of “spamminess.”
These spam recognition tests can include features as innocent as the message having lots of lines in capital letters (which adds 0.579 to the score) to something that is almost always spam-like (“make $5,000 per week”) (which adds 4.667 to the score.) The idea behind this form of analysis is that while any message may contain one or two of these spam features, most actual spam will have enough to push the total score high enough to demonstrate that the message is indeed spam.
The Spam Filter allows you to set two different point thresholds. The first determines the number of points necessary to mark a message as spam. The second determines the number of points necessary to automatically delete a message. These settings give you a fairly high degree of control over what happens with your email.
If an email message is given a score that is greater than or equal to the “delete” threshold, then that message is deleted and you will never see it. If an email message is given a score that is greater than or equal to the “mark” threshold but less than the “delete” threshold, it will be marked as spam but not deleted. Marked messages are either delivered to your Inbox or moved to a special Spam folder.
After you choose the ”mark“ and “delete” levels, you will be allowed to choose what happens to the marked messages. There are two choices.
In general, you will want to set your “mark” threshold lower than your “delete” threshold. This creates a buffer zone for messages that have a lot of spammy features, but are not really spam. The score may be high enough such that the message is marked as spam but not deleted, thus giving you the chance to read the message if you wish.
So where should you set the levels? The answer depends on how willing you are to have legitimate messages falsely blocked as spam. The following is a rough guideline:
We recommend that to start out, you set the “delete” level somewhat high—in the 10-15 range. Then set the “mark” level somewhat low—around 5-7. This will allow a large number of spam messages to get marked but relatively few to get deleted. Once you get a feel for how much spam you are getting and how many legitimate messages are getting marked, you can adjust the levels to be more or less aggressive.
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