[Spambayes] full o' spaces

Skip Montanaro skip at pobox.com
Fri Mar 7 14:25:06 EST 2003

    Neil> Tim Stone - Four Stones Expressions wrote:
    >> The fallacy here is that you're assuming that spammers will simply
    >> give up.  They won't.  And a set of eyeballs looking at a mail, even
    >> if they stop reading after the first line, is better than no
    >> eyeballs.

    Neil> I have to respectfully disagree.  Spammers _need_ people to
    Neil> respond to their spam.  If a filter avoidance trick kills the
    Neil> response rate they will stop using it.  There is no point in
    Neil> bloating spambayes with every failed trick they try.  That's why I
    Neil> suggested testing with a real corpus.  If a trick is common enough

Yes, my corpus is currently 11,000+ hams and 7,000+ spams.  My first try
failed, but I think I know why.  In addition several people have suggested
some other things to try.

    >> We must be proactive, and kill ideas before they become widespread in
    >> the spammer community.

    Neil> We don't need to worry about spammers' ideas that will be killed
    Neil> by other forces.

Precisely.  This particular message landed right in the middle of the
unsure.  Training on it didn't affect its later classification much.  That
suggests that to swing that message into the spam region, one or more new
techniques need to be developed which highlight an attribute of that

    Neil> My objective is to destroy the spam business.  One way to do that
    Neil> is to have a widely deployable filter that blocks spam that would
    Neil> make spammers money.  Honestly, for me to hit delete for a few
    Neil> spam messages in my inbox is not a big deal.  It is the fact that
    Neil> these people are wasting millions of people's time.

Correct, but as we all know, the spammers learn and we have no way of
directly measuring our effectiveness at destroying their business.  All we
can measure directly is how effective we are at segregating their messages
into spam folders.  It appears that this simple technique is sufficient to
move most spams into the unsure category (and thus viewed).


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