[Spambayes] full o' spaces

Tim Stone - Four Stones Expressions tim at fourstonesExpressions.com
Fri Mar 7 15:46:40 EST 2003

3/7/2003 2:40:02 PM, Neil Schemenauer <nas at python.ca> wrote:

>Tim Stone - Four Stones Expressions wrote:
>> Rather, when we find a significant hole through which effective spam
>> can squirt, we should plug it, rather than wait to see if any spammers
>> find that same hole.
>I agree (with emphases on the word "effective").  If spammers don't care
>about effectiveness than it will be extremely difficult to block their
>> If it defeats the filters then the response rate, however dismal, will be 
>> better than for spam that doesn't defeat the filters.
>Nope.  If it costs them more money to send than what they make back it
>will not be better.  Sending spam, however cheap, costs money.
>Therefore, at some non-zero response rate it becomes unprofitable to
>send it.

The above statement has nothing to do with the statement above it.

>> Again, I was suggesting that we find the holes before they do.

I suppose you're satisfied with Microsoft's approach to security.  Let's just 
wait until some flood of spam makes it through our user's filters.  We'll them 
make a patch and post it.  Very few will install it.  In the meantime, users 
will conclude that our stuff doesn't work very well, and we've lost.

>> Not to get spam into mailboxes, but to destroy the anti-spam community.
>Yikes, don't hurt me.  I think you meant the the anti-anti-spam
>community. :-)

Ya... heh  Reminds me of a political cartoon during the days the ABM treaty 
was being negotiated.  There were Ballistic Missiles, Anti-Ballistic Missiles, 
AABMs AAABMs, etc.etc... <wink>

>  Personally, I'm content with letting the anti-anti-spam
>community do what they will.  If they come up with something the spam
>community adopts then I think we can deal with it.
>For example, the "HTML comments inside words" trick must be effective
>since I'm seeing it fairly often now.  It's really a no brainer, since
>if the MTA understands HTML there is no visable difference in the
>message.  Luckily SB already deals with this trick in a more general

My point exactly.  Thank you for your tacit, though obviously accidental, 

>> Make people give up hope that this problem really is/can be solved.
>> That's the way to make you and me go away.  Simply make it so people
>> don't believe in us.
>I'm having a little trouble parsing that.  I think you are saying that
>if the filter doesn't achieve the objective of keeping spam out of
>people's mailboxes then people will not adopt it.  That's true, but I
>think the average person is fairly tolerant of FNs, as long as the FP
>rate is very low.  I think FNs annoy spam filter hackers more than
>regular people.

You parsed it correctly.  Tolerant of FN is one thing, tolerant of a LOT of FN 
is quite another.  Essentially, what we have with no filtering is all FN.  I'm 
surprised at how annoyed I get when it misses only one.  Especially if that 
one is particularly offensive and I think it *should* have caught it.  But I'm 
working on this stuff, and so my tolerance is much higher than most.  It takes 
very little to convince the teeming masses that something is not worth the 
trouble it takes to install it and keep it going, and that trouble is 
considerable for spambayes.  Thus, at some (surprisingly low) threshold of FN, 
users will conclude that this stuff isn't worth the bother.  Maybe filtering 
technology really can't evolve as quickly as spam can.  I hope that's not the 

c'est moi - TimS

More information about the Spambayes mailing list