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Defeat spam with SpamBayes

May 8th, 2006

Spam email is the plague of the 21st century; SpamBayes is its cure. This client-side application analyzes all incoming email messages and automatically sorts out those that are unwanted. SpamBayes digests the contents of email messages and counts how often certain words — e.g. Viagra — occur in spam (bad) or ham (good) messages.

Based on these word patterns, it calculates an overall score that rates a message as spam, ham, or unknown. You can manually classify unknown mail as spam or ham and SpamBayes will learn accordingly.

The SpamBayes classification sorts out virtually all spam messages and almost never produces a false positive — that is, a good message wrongly identified as spam. Only once have I had to fetch an email from the junk mail folder. This happened when a Spanish friend wrote me, presumably because Spanish messages are rare in my inbox. I corrected the wrong classification, and all her subsequent messages were recognized as good. The program improves precision with each manual correction.Read Full Story

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