This page applies to alumni from 2008 and earlier. Alumni from 2009 and later have GApps accounts where spam management is largely automated.
Using Spam filters on the server
You can make adjustments to server-side spam filtering in Webmail. Log in then navigate to Options → Spam Filters. A good starting point is to set Spam score to
5 and Action Threshold to
Use Spam Score. The first value is the level at which an email will be considered spam, the second is the score that needs to be reached before SpamAssassin does something with such emails.
What the numbers mean
SpamAssassin does not know for sure whether something is spam. It uses probabilities to score an email based on spam-related factors. Every piece of mail is therefore given a spam score (i.e. some probability of being spam). If you set the score to
5 SpamAssassin will label anything with a spam score of 5 or higher as spam. If the Action Threshold is set to
Use Spam Score it means that the program will so something to every labeled spam with a score of 5 or higher. The “something” can be either (1) do nothing, (2) move to spam folder, or (3) delete immediately.
Trial and error
If you want to delete the majority of your incoming mail that is likely to be spam, but you wanted to give borderline spam the benefit of the doubt, you could set your score to
5, your action threshold to
spam score plus 2 and the action to
delete immediately. This would mean that you would see labeled spams with a score of 5 or 6 in your Inbox, but any spam labeled as 7 or higher would be deleted. Alternatively you could set your spam scoring more aggressively, say to
7, keep the action threshold at
same as spam score but then direct all spam into your Junk mail folder and give it the occasional look over before deleting it manually.
Controlling spam from your email client
Many popular desktop e-mail clients have built-in spam protection capabilities that can be of use not just to your Wesleyan account, but to all of your e-mail. Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Mac Mail, and iOS Mail all provide spam filtering. Gmail does too, but this is all controlled server-side. Depending on what software you use, spam protection may not be switched on by default.
By setting up your Wesleyan email account in one of these programs, and configuring it to take an aggressive stance towards spam, you should see a significant reduction in unwanted messages. Please contact the software provider to access the instructions for the email client you’d like to configure.