Graham's spam filter

Christopher Browne cbbrowne at
Mon Aug 26 17:05:33 CEST 2002

Quoth "Edward K. Ream" <edream at>:
> I am an enthusiastic user of ChoiceMail,
> It has _completely_ eliminated all
> spam to me, using a very clever trick.  Anyone wanting to contact me who is
> not already on a "whitelist" gets sent a return email asking them to fill
> out a short form at the ChoiceMail site.  Most spammers never even receive
> this email because they use invalid return addresses.  If someone fills out
> the form I get to approve it or reject it.  If no reply is received within a
> specified time period, the sender is added to a blacklist. Anyone who gets
> an email from me is automatically on the whitelist.  It's easy to add all
> names in an address book to the whitelist, and it's easy to add an entire
> domain to the white or black lists.  There are many other options, and that
> is the gist of it.  It works great.
> There is no way for spammers to circumvent ChoiceMail because ChoiceMail
> never examines the contents of messages. The only drawback is that
> first-time correspondents must fill out a very simple form.
> We can all probably think of several reasons why this wouldn't work for
> newsgroups.  I'd be more interested in hearing about ways some similar
> scheme might work.

Unfortunately, this scheme will lead to automated systems that _could_
have legitimate reason to need to contact you getting blocked.

For instance, I used to have a "Discover" credit card.  They had a
fairly useful feature where they would send me an email a few days
before the bill was due as a reminder, with a URL in the email to make
it easy to head over to their web site.

This wasn't world-shakingly useful, but it was indeed a handy feature.
A handy feature that ChoiceMail would, unfortunately, block.

I'm sure there are workarounds.  My _preference_ is for the spam to
get thrown into a Spam folder, so that I can periodically take a look
and see if there were any jewels thrown in with the swine.
(concatenate 'string "aa454" "")
Rules  of the Evil  Overlord #53.  "If the  beautiful princess  that I
capture says "I'll never marry  you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!",
I will say "Oh well" and kill her." <>

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