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Spam Confirm Button

So simple and obvious that it *must* have been baked...
  (+6, -2)
(+6, -2)
  [vote for,

...and yet I can't find it.

In the three email clients I use I can tag an item as spam. This is not only used to send an email into oblivion (after a short time in a spam folder), but also (in theory) to teach the spam filter.

I can take a message that has been tagged as spam, either by my own error or as a false positive by an agressive spam filter, and untag it. This removed it from the pit of oblivion and (presumably) also teaches the spam filter.

What I can't do is tag an item in the spam folder and *confirm* that it is spam. It's something that I could easily do when I feel like it and I'm weeding out the few false positives that get through. The data could be used to further teach the spam filter.

So that's it. The Spam Confirm Button: a checkbox and button that you use to confirm to your spam filter that a message it has already filtered as spam *is* in fact spam. Not something you have to do to make the system work, but something that could help it to work better.

st3f, Aug 08 2005


       I think that I know what you mean, [st3f].
I would have thought that were you to have cleared all items from your spam/junk folder then they would automatically be tagged and deleted immediately.
I still, however, have to remove them from Gmail. Hotmail gets rid of them after a few days 'grace'.
Are you suggesting getting rid of the grace time?
gnomethang, Aug 08 2005

       I don't think so. I'm suggesting that during the grace time you can, if you wish, confirm that the item is indeed spam and, in doing so, improve the accuracy of the spam filtering algorithm.
st3f, Aug 08 2005

       this crosses my mind every time I look in the spam folder (sometimes finding something that damn well shouldn't be in there).
po, Aug 08 2005

       Am I spam enough for you baby?   


       Am I really spam?   




       I bet you say that to all the spam.   

       I just don't get why this is usefull, once spam always spam?
zeno, Aug 08 2005

       I got wads of spam fo spam tog I.
daseva, Aug 08 2005

       I'll have some spam without so much rat in it.
zeno, Aug 08 2005

       I Imagine that most spam sorting algorithms work by scoring various aspects of a piece of email. Everything over a certain score is called spam and is treated appropriately. Everything under that score is called mail and appears in your inbox.   

       If the algorithm is capable of learning (and the filter would have to be for this idea to be of use) then it will only learn when directed by human interaction. For the spam filters I have used, this interaction only occurs when you spot spam in your inbox and tell the filter about it, or when you spot incorrectly filtered mail in your spam folder.   

       I want the user to have the option (but not be required to) interact with the spam filter by confirming that those items in the spam folder are in fact spam.   

       This confirmation would not change the status of the message. It's already tagged as spam and will be deleted. The confirmation simply gives the algorithm another chance to learn and become more effective in the future.   

       Not having played with any big server-based spam filters, it is entirely possible that this is already baked. If someone has experience of these and can point me in the right direction, please do.
st3f, Aug 08 2005

       But seriously, does it not already know what you are proposing to teach it?
zeno, Aug 08 2005

       It thinks it does. It's sometimes wrong.   

       I can tell it when it's wrong -- I've got a button that does that. I want a way to tell it that it's right so that the pathways that made that decision get strengthened and that similar messages will be filtered.   

       Now, if I check every message and never make a mistake pointing out the mistakes and reinforcing the correct decisions are entirely equivalent. I don't check every message and I *do* make mistakes, so I can use positive reinforcement to improve the algorithm.   

       Oops... over-annotation.
st3f, Aug 08 2005

       Well, I guess it works that way for kids, but for computerprograms? I doubt it. Sorry, you get a fishbone.
zeno, Aug 08 2005

       A few of the commercial spam filters work in exactly this way, using collective Yes/Nos to improve filtering.
neilp, Aug 08 2005

       It sounds like you need a spam rating. Someone was hinting at that earlier, but it's gone now.   

       You start by assigning each piece of e-mail a spamminess percentage. Letters from your current sweetie are 0% spam, letters from an illiterate religious Nigerian Viagra lottery mailbot are 100% spam. Poorly written letters from your sweetie saying she has got religion and moved to Nigeria, advising you to try Viagra the next time you get lucky, or maybe a vibrator, are assigned as you please.   

       The computer learns your assignment criteria, and sorts mail accordingly. You set the levels that you want used in sorting mail into three categories: Mail, Maybe, and Damnable Spam.   

       You read the mail and auto-delete the spam. When you check the Maybe folder, you teach the computer more of your criteria.
baconbrain, Aug 09 2005

       1. Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you ... information confidential   

       2. tometa software: enterprise application called MailCatraz that we need beta testers on.   

       3. we are looking ... you serve as an in-country distributor   

       4. you ... for the company and the balance will be paid into an account we will ... you.   

       So far today. Yes, the need for better spam filtering will rise as the numbers of buzzwords in spam declines.   

       5. Due to ... affairs I can't visit ... that is why I have ... you. (probably somebody's little girl)
reensure, Aug 09 2005

       well, I would ease on the interaction by only stating that what ever was left in the spam folder would be used as a *silent* confirmation. That is, if he was taught right (and who would question my methods of teaching?) then most of the time I wouldn't care to reassure it. He has to have some confidence...
moranor, Aug 10 2005

       I like this idea, because if my sapm filter would actually learn and stop sending me the same crap all the time, then I would have no need for this. But as it is....my spam filter sucks. So I like this idea, then I could confirm that it is really spam and never have to see it again.
babyhawk, Aug 10 2005

       Gets my vote, too. However, the filter still lets way too much through, and I constantly run the risk of missing genuine emails, even when I pore through the Spam folder to find stuff that has been misclassified.
DrCurry, Aug 10 2005

       Perhaps you could underline especially spammy paragraphs, words, and phrases for it to spot. Often, when I do start getting more spam than usual, that spam follows a new pattern.
ye_river_xiv, May 30 2009

       Good for getting out aggressions too. Who needs a punching bag? [+]
imho, May 31 2009

       I think most online systems use the less interactive method of looking at *how many* people tag the same message spam [I have a nagging suspicion that this is the main driving force behind Google's almost perfect spam filter]
cowtamer, Jun 02 2009


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