Poco Junk Mail FAQ - Newsgroup posting on spam

I posted the following response to the question outlined below. It was posted to the comp.mail.misc newsgroup.
Q: I get lots of mail. Some I need some are trash. Takes time sorting anyone got any ideas?
 
A:
This depends on the email client you are using (the program you use to read your mail). If it has a junk mail filtering capability then enable it (after reading the documentation on it). If not does your client allow you to setup some filters to discard obvious spam?

Don't expect 100% filtering of spam. There are two aspects to spam filtering, false positives and false negatives. A false positive is where a legitimate piece of mail is deemed spam, a false negative is where a piece of spam is not detected as such. False positives are, IMHO, far worse than false negatives.

The email client I use (Poco) has a junk mail filtering capability. I've tuned it to a great exent. Before Christmas (2001) I had a false negative rate of about 25% and a false positive rate of near 0 (I only recall ever having one false positive). The false negative rate has gone up since Christmas, some spammers must have gotten new toys and I haven't fully updated my filters yet. Today I had a false negative rate of about 45% but I did update my filters and hopefully that will decrease in the days ahead.

Since this time my ISP has started running Spam Assassin. In addition I've been fairly rigorous in keeping my junk body text file up to date and have taken advantage of Poco 3's ability to seed the junk mail score. My recent spam detection rates have risen to above 98%.