Did you know that you can raise or lower the amount of spam (unsolicited email) sent to your email inbox?
IT Services' Spam Deletion and Filtering Tool lets you control the level of automatic filtering and deletion by Stanford's spam filters. When you increase the threshold, the messages that meet or exceed that level are automatically deleted from the mail system (you never see them) or filtered directly into the spam folder in your account on the server.
How Stanford's Mail Servers Filter Spam
When email reaches Stanford's mail servers, it is analyzed by Stanford's email and security software system. If an email appears to be spam, the subject line is tagged [SPAM: #...]. The number of # signs indicates the system's confidence that the email is spam, from one to five, with five indicating the highest level of confidence.
By default, all email marked with five # symbols is discarded by the system before it even reaches your mailbox. Email marked with four # symbols is filed into your server spam folder. If you've changed the default and are getting too much spam, e.g., your Spam Filtering Threshold is set to "### or more", you can raise it to "## or more". Or, if you find that Stanford's spam filters are overzealous at the "### or more" setting, you can decrease the level by choosing the "#### or more" setting.
See or Set Your Current Spam Settings
You can see your current settings (or set them up) using the Spam Deletion and Filtering Tool. The tool has two components:
- Spam Deletion Threshold: Choose the amount of spam that gets deleted automatically.
- Spam Filtering Threshold: Choose the amount of spam that gets filtered into your spam folder.
Before you reset your spam control though, read the caveats on the spam Web page. Legitimate email can sometimes be mislabeled as spam, and once deleted, it can't be restored. To make sure you don't lose any valuable email, you can opt to have spam filtered rather than deleted. Then, periodically, you can check your spam folder and manually delete any email you don't want. (Messages in the spam folder are automatically deleted after 30 days.) To check your spam folder, login to Webmail. On the toolbar, in the Open Folder dropdown list, click Spam.
For More Information
For a complete overview of Stanford's spam filtering tools and processes, see the Anti-Spam Web page.