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Stop the Australian (Anti)Vaccination Network

I hate spam

You do too, right? Ok, well here's what I do to get rid of it.

First, adequate mail filtering. I'll be damned if I'm going to obscure my email address out of fear of spammers. I keep a whitelist of known good senders, people I communicate with. I also keep a blacklist of spamming scum. Messages received from whitelisted addresses get delivered straight to my inbox. Messages received from known spamming scum get filed away unread in the scum's own folder.

Any incoming message which is from an unknown address is put through two tests. Firstly, my system checks Vipul's Razor online spam database. You can figure out the URL, STFW. If it fails Razor, then it is filed in a spam bucket.

Next, my system runs Spamassassin, which uses a neural network type algorithm to do a heuristic evaluation of the message content, and it rates each message. Messages which rate too high are listed as spam, and are automatically reported to Razor as a service to the rest of the world. Spamassassin is pretty smart: it picks up about 95% of the spam, and there's a very small chance only that it will incorrectly flag a legitimate message as spam.

Any message which has survived both spam listing and analysis is filed in an "unknown" folder where I can see it. I have keyboard shortcuts to add an address to my whitelist, or blacklist, or report the message to Razor. I can figure out most spam from the subject line without even opening the message. That gets reported to Razor and then blacklisted. Sometimes I open the message, just for fun, but it's invariably HTML which doesn't display in my text-based email reader. Very little legitimate email is HTML, so I'm considering just bucketing the whole lot as spam. But that's for later.

Love the spammer, hate the spam

When I see a spam, it's usually from a fake email address. So I just ignore those (as described above). Sometimes it looks like a real email address though, which indicates that the sender is clueless ... as a spammer, they're not yet sufficiently cunning to fake it up, so there's a chance they can be turned away from the Dark Side. So sometimes I am kind, and I send them a gentle message such as this one, sent on 2002-05-23:

Hello Spammer,

On Thu, May 23, 2002 at 01:11:43PM +1000, in2motivation wrote:
> If Sales are vital to your business, and you crave new ideas, there's
> a lot of serious sales talk going on..... at www.in2motivation.com.au
> the sales & marketing portal for business professionals.

Guess what. I have now reported your message to an online spam database.
That means, when you send your spam to other people they will delete
it unread. You'll be ignored, which is only right and proper since you
are a spamboy. You're pinker than Liberace's underwear. Not to put
too fine a point on it, you are the curse of the Internet.

I have also added you to my personal blacklist, which means I will never
see email from you again. But the good news doesn't stop there! If you
should continue to send me email, which is typical for spammers, my mail
filtering software will automatically report each message from you to the
online spam database, and so thousands of other users around Australia
will automatically delete your email before a person reads it.

Now how about you consider the possibility that spamming might be bad for
your business. There is a way out, if you have the balls to go through
the use of terrorism, err, spam ... , as a legitimate marketing tool.
I'll then remove you from my blacklist and stop reporting your
messages to the database. It's your choice.

Will it get through to them? I doubt it, but I try to help anyway. Feel free to copy and use this message yourself when you point a spamming scum toward the Light.