Saturday, December 16, 2006


Inbox Serendipity

I spend much time deleting unsollicited mail from my inboxes (and I know I am not alone). Mostly various filters simplify my task but sorting what comes toward my inbox, either by recognizing mail I expect or by casting aside mail it suspects to be spam. Because programmed logic has its limits, the messages cast aside are not immediately deleted, but kept for me to browse before ultimately deleting; if the filter mistakes a legitimate message for spam I can recover it and "teach" the filter. Parts of this process could be more efficient, but I like having the last word, and scrolling through the suspects to see if there were any innocent victims. And I am amused when I find a few gems and curiosities such as:

The spam filters are not 100% effective, but some are getting pretty good. For instance, one of my mail accounts I just checked had put about 250 messages into a "spam folder" and only let about three get by into my inbox. Soon after they began this filtering, I came across an advertisement that they themselves had sent me and then set aside as suspicious; I had to smile, and (slightly viciously) did not press the "is not spam" button. I found another of their ads suspected of being spam since then, but mostly they make it to the inbox.

The down side of the work flow as they have organized it is that I must twice delete all the spam it has correctly identified, with lots of clicking and waiting, as I have complained before. It would be more sensible to be able to scroll through the accused messages, salvage any wrongly accused, then purge all in one or two clicks.

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