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StevenUnderwood

FAQ about the personal webmail filters

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Here is a start. Please comment with any modificatons.

Q: None of my personal filters are working.

A: The email filtering blacklists, the personal whitelist and the personal blacklist available in the Options/ Spamcop Tools configuration page (http://webmail.spamcop.net/horde/imp/prefs.php?nocache=lu8go3c6p7k&group=spamcop) are all applied as the message is received by spamcop's servers and do work even without using the webmail application. Please see other portions of this FAQ for help in getting these filters working.

The individually configured filters available from the Filters icon within webmail and Options, Filters (http://webmail.spamcop.net/horde/imp/filterprefs.php) are only applied when logged into the webmail client. If you are having spamcop forward all your messages to another provider, these personal filters will not work.

The Filter Settings (http://webmail.spamcop.net/horde/imp/filterprefs.php) page has some options for controlling how/when the filters work. Be sure they are configured as you want them to be.

  • Apply filter rules upon logging on?
  • Apply filter rules whenever INBOX is displayed?
  • Allow filter rules to be applied in any mailbox?
  • Show the filter icon on the menubar?

There are additional options within the Edit your filter rules (http://webmail.spamcop.net/horde/ingo/filters.php).

  • Display detailed notification when each filter is applied?
  • Filter Options: Filter All Messages | Filter Only Unseen Messages | Filter Only Seen Messages

Q: Some of my personal filters are not be used.

A: The filters are applied in the order shown on the Rules page (http://webmail.spamcop.net/horde/ingo/filters.php). In ordinary cases, be sure the "Stop checking if this rule matches?" checkbox is unchecked in all rules (except maybe the last one in the chain). This switch stops all further rule processing (not just for that rule) if the rule matches.

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I don't know how to integrate them as they really are different filters. They should be under the Webmail main heading, but I think should be separate entries.

Also, in the post directly above the second link you state:

If mail is picked up through webmail, the user defined filter rules are applied first, then the blocking list rules are applied.

That is not quite accurate either. The dnsbl's selected, the spamassassin settings, the personal blacklist and personal whitelists are applied as a message is received by the spamcop system (probably as it is placed into the appropriate account). They will only move messages between the Inbox and the Held Mail folder (or opposite in the case of the whitelist).

The personal filter rules (that this FAQ apply to) are applied only within the webmail application either when you are logging into webmail or after manually applying them from within webmail.

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Q:  Some of my personal filters are not be used.

A:  The filters are applied in the order shown on the Rules page (http://webmail.spamcop.net/horde/ingo/filters.php). In ordinary cases, be sure the "Stop checking if this rule matches?" checkbox is unchecked in all rules (except maybe the last one in the chain).  This switch stops all further rule processing (not just for that rule) if the rule matches.

14859[/snapback]

Is this a defective behavior on the part of the web mail server? I should think that when a rule that has its "Stop checking if this rule matches?" checkbox checked matches a message, the effect should be to not apply the remaining rules to that message. But for each message, the filter processor should apply rules starting at the top of the rule list, regardless of what happened in handling earlier messages. In other words, I would expect, that if the "Stop checking" checkbox makes any sense, that the algorithm would be to go message by message in the folder about to be displayed, and for each message, go through the rule list in order, applying every rule until either running out of rules, or encountering a rule that matches the message and has "Stop checking . . ." selected, in which case apply that rule but skip the rest of the list.

Exactly what is the filtering algorithm for the personal filters?

I have a case where I marked every rule to "stop checking" (I have about eight rules), and the first rule that should have matched the message I have in mind said X-spam-Level contains ***********, but the action of that rule (move to Trash) did not get executed. This seems like a defect to me.

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Is this a defective behavior on the part of the web mail server?

This is the way the product is programmed. The webmail product (IMP) is simply a package that JT has installed and modified slightly to include the spamcop configuration and reporting parts. If you have complaints about it, go to the support site of that package (http://www.horde.org/imp/). I was just informing people of how it actually works to answer the many questions like yours where it is not intuitive.

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Does one have to download and untar the source code of IMP to see a document explaining what algorithm the rule engine applies when interpreting the personal filtering rules against the messages?

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In contrast to going into the support Forum there and asking someone (maybe even the developers) that might already have the answers you seek? I've solved a couple of things by doing the research and then providing JT the data needed. But I'll be honest, those were things that were driving me nuts and/or something screwing with a lot of people. If you've got the time and inclination to download and go through source code, it would seem like you've time to hit their support Forum.

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Is this a defective behavior on the part of the web mail server?

20736[/snapback]

It is behavior faithfully following a defective design in IMP. :(

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(I induce from experience that) When more than one filter matches a message, the message ends up in the folder specified by the first of the matching filters (reading downward).

This can be a useful property. For example, I have messages whose headers indicate that their origins are found in the Spamcop blacklist and also that spam Assassin rates them higher (more likely to be spam) than a certain (rather high) threshold score, sent directly to my Trash. A later filter does something else with the remaining messages that are marked as running afowl of the blacklist but that don't have such a high Assassin score, and I have a third filter that does something with the remaining messages whose Assassin score is at least 3 (mark them Important but keep them in Inbox). If I did not understand the above rule, I would not know how to set this up.

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(I induce from experience that) When more than one filter matches a message, the message ends up in the folder specified by the first of the matching filters (reading downward).

That would be correct because as soon as it has moved the message, it is no longer in the current folder (or inbox) that is being worked on so there is no message to match to the latter rule. The rules only work on your current folder and only if the appropriate setting is set.

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