No Surprise: MozillaZine Readers Don't Like Spam

Monday December 16th, 2002

For our last poll, we asked you to name your favourite recent enhancement to Mail & Newsgroups. A whopping 49% of the 1,109 of you that responded chose Bayesian spam filtering. 10% of you prefer the ability to run filters after the fact while 4% selected filters that perform multiple actions. The ability to filter by 'Sender is in my address book' also received 4% of the vote and message views finished with 3%. Both newsgroup filters and support for the OR operator in Quick Search got 2% each, with newsgroup filters just coming out ahead. Finally, 22% of you prefer to read your mail with telnet to port 110.

Christmas is coming and many of you will be spending time with your families. For some of you, this will involve talking to slightly eccentric relatives over dinner when we know that you'd much rather be discussing the intricacies of scheduling page reflows or parsing mbox files. Therefore, we'd like to know, hypothetically, which Mozilla developer you would like to have round for Christmas dinner. Without asking their permission, we've randomly selected ten developers to take part in our poll. You can choose from Chris Blizzard, Stuart Parmenter, Asa Dotzler, Ben Goodger, Ian Hickson, David Hyatt, Ian Oeschger, Blake Ross, Mike Shaver and Seth Spitzer.

Select carefully and keep an eye on the latest results. And remember, it's not a popularity contest, it's just lunch.

Disclaimer: MozillaZine cannot be held responsible if any of the named developers actually turn up on Christmas Day.

#1 Not very usable yet ...

by johann_p

Tuesday December 17th, 2002 2:22 AM

There are several issues that render the junk mail filter rather useless: there seems to be no way to get the filter actions based on "junk status" to work for arriving emails, and the quality of the filter is not very good. I have trained with about 5000 emails and find a high rate of false negatives and a much lower, but still unacceptable rate of false positives.

In order to be really usable, filter actions should relyably work, and there should be a way to filter on the SCORE assigned by the filter, not the status. This way one could handle emails differently and based on individual preferences of misclassification risk, according to whether the classifier is "sure" about a classification (score close to 100 or 0), or whether it is a boundary case.

And there should be a filter action to automatically remove old messages from folders - this would help to keep Junk, Sent, Trash and other folders from becoming too big.

#4 Obviously

by jedbro

Tuesday December 17th, 2002 4:08 PM

Obviously this will happen. Again, this is ALPHA!! (people tend to forget this), and you have the advantage to "see, and play" with this code as it´s being put in. before it´s even finished.

If it doesn´t work for you, either wait, or grab a stable release and install spamassasin, or other such spam detection software.


#5 maybe not so obvious

by johann_p

Tuesday December 17th, 2002 6:52 PM

pointing out weaknesses in alpha releases is often called testing - some developers apreciate that kind of feedback. Maybe these weaknesses are obvious to everybody, but then, maybe not.

#2 Where are the features?

by mglenn

Tuesday December 17th, 2002 11:11 AM

Which version introduced these new features? I've been rooting around 1.2.1 and can't seem to find references to "Junk Mail" filtering or "Sort by Sender in Address Book" features anywhere.

#3 1.3a / trunk

by jonik

Tuesday December 17th, 2002 11:18 AM

At least the junk mail filter was checked in the trunk after 1.2 had branched. So 1.3a has it, as well as the trunk nightly builds (or course).

#6 Filtering Spam: It falls on the user

by DeepFreeze3

Tuesday December 17th, 2002 10:39 PM

Yes, it's true. If somebody doesn't take the time to create rules to instruct their e-mail program what to do when messages arrive in their Inbox (i.e. Delete, Go to a certain folder), then whatever's out there, no matter how "good" it's supposed to be, won't mean jack you-know-what. An example? Updating the virus definitions in your anti-virus program on a regular basis. The vast majority of people that get infected, and infect others, get screwed over simply because they don't do it. Hell, some don't even have their anti-virus program on at all (I wonder who they are?) Technology making all of this easier to do is one thing. But, again, the individual has to want to use it.