Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs

Michael Thomas <> Tue, 22 December 2009 20:56 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 868CC3A6A71 for <>; Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:56:56 -0800 (PST)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: 1.365
X-Spam-Level: *
X-Spam-Status: No, score=1.365 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[AWL=-1.950, BAYES_20=-0.74, FB_CIALIS_LEO3=3.899, SUBJECT_FUZZY_TION=0.156]
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id 9BhFjx4juFnL for <>; Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:56:55 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 9435A3A6A6B for <>; Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:56:55 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( []) (authenticated bits=0) by (8.14.3/8.14.3) with ESMTP id nBMKua2E000606 (version=TLSv1/SSLv3 cipher=DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA bits=256 verify=NO) for <>; Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:56:38 -0800
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:56:34 -0800
From: Michael Thomas <>
User-Agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080501)
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: Anti-Spam Research Group - IRTF <>
References: <alpine.BSF.2.00.0912082138050.20682@simone.lan> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; q=dns/txt; l=2410; t=1261515398; x=1262379398; c=relaxed/simple; s=thundersaddle.kirkwood; h=Content-Type:From:Subject:Content-Transfer-Encoding:MIME-Version;;; z=From:=20Michael=20Thomas=20<> |Subject:=20Re=3A=20[Asrg]=20Adding=20a=20spam=20button=20t o=20MUAs |Sender:=20 |To:=20Anti-Spam=20Research=20Group=20-=20IRTF=20<asrg@irtf .org> |Content-Type:=20text/plain=3B=20charset=3DISO-8859-1=3B=20 format=3Dflowed |Content-Transfer-Encoding:=207bit |MIME-Version:=201.0; bh=7Fd1KbGMu671dqtPe159JAvU8iH5ybSLS8DF0e29Vwc=; b=KFHYLrt5R7mLIn86ywlutt2gAmYZAarzufLb/WBnvSCR7X7FWu/k28JfS6 B4CttrzNsEeO9A4ePyvTRohdJCwDqeKqHxIZzw3+UIDUT4GOzSThWydS12yL L9MH98YayJJqoVEMJ+jCVuSnjhXgZkoRTlMg2RFvXzgQf5VJqz8EE=;
Authentication-Results: ; v=0.1; dkim=pass ( sig from verified; ); dkim-asp=pass
Subject: Re: [Asrg] Adding a spam button to MUAs
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.9
Precedence: list
Reply-To: Anti-Spam Research Group - IRTF <>
List-Id: Anti-Spam Research Group - IRTF <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 20:56:57 -0000

Nathaniel Borenstein wrote:
> On Dec 22, 2009, at 12:45 PM, Michael Thomas wrote:
>> And it's not like this sort of thing is anything new anyway: lots of 
>> vendors have "report as
>> spam" widgets that get bolted onto the side of your favorite MUA. A 
>> little standardization
>> would be nice though as it would decouple that UI hassle from the 
>> actual job of filtering.
> Absolutely -- the report-spam UI will almost certainly be better if 
> it's integrated with the MUA and agnostic regarding the spam engine 
> receiving the report.  The only major open question I'm hearing is how 
> much information that report should contain.  Clearly it should be no 
> more than the number of bits that the user himself can be relied on to 
> provide, where our differing opinions might be resolved via user studies.
> It might also be worth considering offering 1 button to most users, 
> but 2 buttons to users who understand the distinction well enough to 
> change a default in their MUA in order to get 2 buttons instead of 1. 
>  I conjecture that the users who would take that action would have a 
> much lower error rate than the average user.   In that scenario, most 
> users would send back a single bit "unwanted" message, but 
> sophisticated users could send back two (or even more?) types of 
> "unwanted" message.  That might be the cleanest data we could hope to 
> get. -- Nathaniel
I think the problem is that if you open it up to more than one bit, it 
begs the question of what the
actual number of bits such a button is. I'd say that it's probably got a 
lot of bits -- far more than is
likely that any user could be bothered with.

Want/don't want is nice in its simplicity, and I suspect it's about as 
much as you can expect from users.
However, there's probably a lot of data that MUA's have at their 
disposal to see how you react to mail.
Like, oh say, educing the duration that you viewed a piece of mail. Or 
whether you replied or forwarded.
Or whether you have a habit of deleting particular kinds of them 
en-mass, and other kinds of behaviour
based data.

I think that if we stopped with this absolutist campaign of  "spam/ham" 
(most of us are not on some
paladin's quest  against the evils of spam, after all) and focused more 
on the context sensitive job of
prioritizing mail, we'd all be a lot better off.