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4.6.5   Spam Message Colors in Apple Mail

Using Background Colors to Show Spam Levels

SpamSieve sets the colors of spam messages to reflect how spammy it thinks they are. The most spammy messages are colored Blue. Less spammy messages are colored Gray, Purple, Red, Orange, or Yellow (in that order). Good messages are left uncolored. Thus, if you are skimming the Spam mailbox for false positives, pay the most attention to the yellow and orange messages. The SpamSieve - Change Settings command lets you enable or disable spam message coloring.

Using a [Score] Rule to Filter Spam Messages By Color

The Setting Up Apple Mail section of the manual shows how to create a single rule in Mail that puts all the spam messages in a single Spam mailbox. You can also use multiple rules in Mail to file messages into different mailboxes (or otherwise process them differently) based on how spammy they are. The normal SpamSieve rule looks like this:

apple mail rule

To separate spam messages by color (spamminess), you should instead create two or more rules. The first rule should be named SpamSieve [Score]. As above, you probably want the conditions to be Every Message. When this rule is applied, SpamSieve will calculate the spam score of the message and set its color accordingly. The actions of the [Score] rule will be ignored.

Below the [Score] rule, you can create one or more rules that process messages based on their color:

Example 1: Blocklisted Messages in Trash

To move blocklisted messages to the trash and other spam messages to the Spam mailbox, you would need three rules:

  1. SpamSieve [Score] (calculates the spam score/color) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam
  2. SpamSieve [Blue] (move very spammy messages to the trash) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Trash
  3. SpamSieve [Spam] (move the remaining spam messages) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam

Example 2: Per-Color Spam Mailboxes

To put each color of spam in a separate mailbox, you would need seven rules:

  1. SpamSieve [Score] (calculates the spam score/color) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam
  2. SpamSieve [Blue] (messages with scores from 99 to 100) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam99
  3. SpamSieve [Gray] (messages with scores from 95 to 98) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam95
  4. SpamSieve [Purple] (messages with scores from 88 to 94) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam88
  5. SpamSieve [Red] (messages with scores from 81 to 87) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam81
  6. SpamSieve [Orange] (messages with scores from 75 to 80) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam75
  7. SpamSieve [Yellow] (messages with scores from 50 to 74) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam50

The unnumbered Spam mailbox will hold the messages that you manually train as spam. If desired, you can drag the other mailboxes inside the Spam mailbox.

Example 3: Sorting Messages By Spamminess

You can sort the messages by spamminess. On Mac OS X 10.6, just choose View ‣ Sort By ‣ Color. Mac OS X 10.7 and later cannot sort messages by color, but they can sort them by flags. Thus, you can set up rules like this:

  1. SpamSieve [Score] (calculates the spam score/color) / Every Message / Move Message to mailbox Spam
  2. SpamSieve [Blue] (messages with scores from 99 to 100) / Every Message / Mark as Flagged Gray / Move Message to mailbox Spam
  3. SpamSieve [Gray] (messages with scores from 95 to 98) / Every Message / Mark as Flagged Purple / Move Message to mailbox Spam
  4. SpamSieve [Purple] (messages with scores from 88 to 94) / Every Message / Mark as Flagged Blue / Move Message to mailbox Spam
  5. SpamSieve [Red] (messages with scores from 81 to 87) / Every Message / Mark as Flagged Green / Move Message to mailbox Spam
  6. SpamSieve [Orange] (messages with scores from 75 to 80) / Every Message / Mark as Flagged Yellow / Move Message to mailbox Spam
  7. SpamSieve [Yellow] (messages with scores from 50 to 74) / Every Message / Mark as Flagged Orange / Move Message to mailbox Spam

and then choose View ‣ Sort By ‣ Flags. (The flag colors are chosen so that the messages will sort in order of spamminess; this is why they do not match the message colors.)

In order to support using the flag colors for spam levels, SpamSieve normally clears the flags when you train a message as good. If you don’t want it to do this, see the AppleMailTrainGoodClearFlags option in the Esoteric Preferences.

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