Yahoo and their mail filters..

Barry Shein bzs at
Wed Feb 25 17:58:39 UTC 2009

On February 25, 2009 at 04:26 stefan at (Stefan Molnar) wrote:
 > For our userbase with yahoo/hotmail/aol accouts they hit the spam button more often than delete.  Then complain they do not get emails anymore from us, then want discounts on a bill of sale they missed. It is a never ending story.

I realize this is easier in theory than practice but I wonder how much
better the whole AOL (et al) spam button would get if they ignored the
spam button unless two (to pick a number) different customers clicked
the same sender (I know, forged sender etc but something like that) as
spam in a reasonably short amount of time like an hour or a day at

I know of the 99.99% false positives I get I am pretty sure if the
threshold were two related complaints it'd get rid of, well, probably
99.99% of them (percentages not scientifically accurate!)

Ok, that's not an algorithm but I hope you see my point.

My point is that what makes spam "spam" is not that some one clicks a
spam button, it's that more than one person, and just two might be a
sufficient threshold in practice, believes it's spam. At least from
the POV of a network operator trying to id spam sources from spam
button clicks.

If they ever get it down to fretting about spams really sent to only
one AOL (et al) customer then one could revisit this idea.

P.S. I thought about this a little and decided it's more in the realm
of network operations than spam per se, the same idea could be applied
to any number of customer-reported problems which ripple outwards.

It reminds me of years ago when I worked with the Boston Fire Dept and
as you ran for the trucks the sure sign there really was a fire was
fire alarm shouting over the house loudspeaker "CALLS COMING IN!"
which meant hq was getting more than one unrelated report (fire box,
phone) in the same general location. Then your heartbeat increased.
That is, one call, who knows, two or more unrelated? Must be

        -Barry Shein

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