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7.4   Why do good messages keep going to the Junk or Spam mailbox?

Normally, as soon as you train one message as good, SpamSieve will add the message’s sender to its whitelist. This means that SpamSieve will never classify future messages from that sender as spam. Also, by default, SpamSieve will never classify messages from senders in your contacts as spam. Nevertheless, there a several reasons why such messages might keep ending up in the Junk or Spam mailbox:

  1. A junk filter on the server might be classifying the messages as spam. This is especially likely to be the case if the messages are going to a different mailbox than the one that SpamSieve uses. If SpamSieve and the server filter are both configured to use the Junk mailbox, the messages caught by the server will show up in Apple Mail’s message list with a white background and/or brown text, as compared with the messages caught by SpamSieve, which have black text and a colored background. (This is further explained in the Separating Spam Caught by SpamSieve and Server Filters section.) In many cases, there is no visible switch to turn a server filter on/off, so it will be on unless you create a specific rule to turn if off. Please see the How should I configure the junk filter on my mail server? section about how to disable a server junk filter. Also, the Rescuing Good Messages Caught By a Server Filter section describes how to work around a server filter that can’t be disabled.

  2. Regardless of whether SpamSieve thinks a message is spam, the message can still end up in the Junk mailbox if you have created other rules in your mail client that move messages to the Junk mailbox. It is recommended that you disable or delete such rules. Also make sure that your mail client’s built in junk filter is off. To help isolate what SpamSieve itself is doing, you can create a separate spam mailbox called SpamSieveSpam and edit your mail program’s SpamSieve rule to use that mailbox.

  3. Another computer that accesses your mail account may have rules or a spam filter that are moving the messages. You can narrow down which one is responsible by temporarily setting each server filter or copy of SpamSieve to use a different Junk mailbox. For example, set the copy of SpamSieve on your MacBook to use a mailbox called SpamSieveMacBook.

  4. If the messages in Apple Mail have an icon of a red circle with a slash, they were caught by Mail’s blocked mail filter. We recommend going to Mail’s Junk Mail preferences and unchecking Enable blocked mail filtering.

  5. Your mail client may be moving all incoming messages to the spam mailbox because of a setup problem. Please see the Why is every message going to the Spam mailbox? section.

  6. SpamSieve might have classified the message as spam. You can see whether it has done this by using the Open Log command and looking for a Predicted: Spam entry for the message.

    How could this happen when you had trained similar messages as good? If you train a message as good and then subsequently train a message from that same sender as spam, SpamSieve will disable the whitelist rule and add a rule to the blocklist. Then SpamSieve will classify messages from that sender as spam until you train another one as good. At that point, there will be rules on both the whitelist and the blocklist, both disabled, so SpamSieve will determine whether messages are spam by looking at their complete contents. If you don’t want it to do this, but to instead treat all the messages from that sender as good, you can add the sender to your address book or find the sender’s rule in the Whitelist window and click the checkbox to re-enable it.

You can contact technical support at Before sending your message, please read the What information should I include when I report a problem? section. Make sure that you’ve included all of the general information, as well as the items requested in the If you have good messages in your Spam mailbox section.

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