Friday, 05 August, 2005

Disappointed by Thunderbird's junk mail filter

I installed Mozilla Thunderbird the day I got my laptop--about three months ago.  I'd been using Thunderbird on the old system for nine months or so, and had been very happy with it.  Overall, I'm still happy with the program except for one thing:  its junk mail filter seems to be brain dead.  I mentioned previously (see May 25) that I'd noticed a large increase in the number of junk emails coming to my account.  For some reason, Thunderbird's junk mail filter can't reliably eliminate many of those messages.  My spam count has fallen somewhat since May--from about 150 messages per day to about 100--but of those 100, Thunderbird's filter might catch 30 of them.  Granted, I haven't seen a false positive in quite a while, but you'd think that the filter would learn a little better than what it has.  That's why I go through the exercise of marking the email as spam.

One problem is that Thunderbird has a "white list" option that prevents it from marking as junk any email that's from an address that's in the address book.  Since both Debra's and my email addresses are in my address book, any mail that's ostensibly from one of us will not be marked as junk.  But that only identifies a handful of messages every day.  I still haven't figured out why the filter can't identify and mark as junk the many almost identical messages I get daily for viagra and other drugs, live Web cams, life insurance leads, and Russian-language text that means nothing to me.  Why doesn't it learn from my marking a message as junk?