Managing Spammy Friends

Spam is usually a simple problem for me. Somebody sends me a spammy e-mail and they get the honor of a special rule in that looks something like this.

Basically, anything from that person goes straight to trash. Problem solved. SpamSieve also helps.

However, I have unique problem with a few friends and relatives that think I actually give a damn about their newly found web collections of humorous kitten photos (“Oh, Shit”) or their hokey political rants. Unfortunately, these people sometimes also send me information that I actually need. In other words, I can’t simply give them my usual spammer=delete rule. So how do I get rid of their spam but still get their non-spam mail?

The solution lies in the fact that spammers - even friendly ones - are not capable of sending spammy type e-mail to just one person. These objectionable e-mails are always copied to my spam friends’ other contacts, usually several of which are complete strangers to me. This is the key to this hack.

I created a rule that looks for e-mail from my spammy friends with copies to a stranger that shows up in prior spam-type e-mails. The rule sends those to the trash. If my spammy friend then sends me an e-mail with actual substantive content (which wouldn’t be copied to the complete stranger), the rule doesn’t catch it. The rule looks like this.

I explained this rule and talked ad nauseum about e-mail in a recent MPU Episode.