passively filtering mail won't kill spam

paul graham's latest on spam, will filters kill spam? just highlights the problem with how most people are applying filters. it would be better to reject email that you think is spam (preferably at the smtp level). this actually gets the spam out of your life, and gives a clue to the spammer that you are not willing to even see their crap.

what about false positives? i know that if i sent you mail, i would prefer that you simply reject it if you think it is spam. when you file it away in your spam folder, i have no way to know, and no way to correct the problem from my side. i just know i haven't heard back from you, and not whether it is because you hate me, or you just haven't looked in your spam folder, or you went through your spam folder and just overlooked my message. (or if services take paul's suggestion that the filtering be done automatically for the less clueful, that you even know that you have a thing called a spam folder that might have non-spam in it.)

i think you can basically draw a direct parallel between the pharmaceutical industry—focused on stifling symptoms on a case-by-case basis (for $20 a person, with new ways to squash the symptoms every year!)—and the spam-fighting industry.

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