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3.13   Correct All Mistakes

SpamSieve examines each incoming message and moves the spam messages into a separate spam mailbox. It leaves the good messages alone, so they will stay in the inbox or be processed by your other mail rules. In order to keep SpamSieve’s accuracy high, you’ll need to correct any mistakes that it makes:

Normally, the Train SpamSieve allowlist and Train SpamSieve blocklist settings are enabled. This means that training a single message as good will make SpamSieve classify all future messages from that message’s sender as good. Likewise, training a message as spam will make SpamSieve classify all future messages from that message’s sender as spam. Normally, the Train Bayesian classifier preference is also enabled, which will let SpamSieve learn from the message’s contents so that it can recognize future messages that are similar even if the sender is different.

How to Correct Mistakes

To correct a mistake, select the message in your mail program and choose a training command from the menu. For Apple Mail and Outlook, choose Train as Good or Train as Spam from the SpamSieve menu bar icon. For other clients, see the “Setting Up” section for your mail program. Always train SpamSieve using the specified menu commands (or keyboard shortcuts); do not move the messages into or out of the junk mailbox yourself, as this will bypass SpamSieve.

apple mail menus

Correcting All the Mistakes

You must correct all of SpamSieve’s mistakes or its accuracy will deteriorate over time. The reason for this is that SpamSieve assumes that it classified a message correctly unless you tell it otherwise, and it will learn based on that assumption (unless you turn off the Auto-train as needed preference). Also, the sooner you correct SpamSieve, the better. By promptly correcting SpamSieve, you ensure that it’s always acting based on accurate information.

If you lose track of some messages in your mail client, you can also correct mistakes from SpamSieve’s Log and Corpus windows.

Which Messages to Train

After the initial training, it is not necessary (or recommended) to train SpamSieve with messages that are not mistakes.

Undoing a Training

If you make a mistake and tell SpamSieve that a message is spam when it is actually good (or vice-versa), simply correct yourself as you would correct SpamSieve. That is, if the message is good, train it as good; if it is spam, train it as spam. SpamSieve will “undo” the previous, incorrect, training.

Disable Other Spam Filters and Rules

When using SpamSieve, turn off any other spam filters that you’ve installed on your Mac. Disable any manual rules that you’ve created that move messages to the Junk mailbox, Spam mailbox, or trash. This will make it clear which messages SpamSieve did and didn’t catch, which is necessary for you to be able to properly correct it. If you really need those manual rules, you can recreate them using SpamSieve’s blocklist or put the rules above SpamSieve’s rule(s) so that the messages are moved or deleted before SpamSieve sees them.

Using SpamSieve With Multiple Macs

Please see the SpamSieve and Multiple Macs section for information about how to ensure that you are properly correcting mistakes when multiple copies of SpamSieve are filtering the same mail account.

Resetting SpamSieve

Not correcting all the mistakes will cause SpamSieve to learn incorrect information, which will reduce the filtering accuracy. The only way to fix this is to reset all of SpamSieve’s training:

  1. Quit SpamSieve and your mail program.

  2. Open the Library folder and drag the SpamSieve folder to the trash:

    /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/SpamSieve/
  3. Follow the instructions in the Do an Initial Training section.

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