MIT Spam Screening tags your email so that you can filter and delete messages that might be spam. Importantly, it's "you can": you don't have to if you don't want, and if you take no action, you will continue to receive all your email as you always have.
We mention this caveat up front because of how MIT Spam Screening works. Typically, the software works by looking features often present in spam messages, for example, the phrase "Click here to unsubscribe," whether it is written in a foreign language like Korean, or uses well-known "open mail relays" (frequently in foreign countries). If enough spam-like features are found, the message is tagged.
Unfortunately, deploying Spam Screening for a diverse place such as MIT is very difficult. For example, many students receive lots of legitimate email in foreign languages from foreign countries. The moral of the story is: if you do take advantage of the filtering capabilities described below, please be sure to do a cursory check your suspected spam before deleting it.
On the other hand, if you are using a POP mail client, such as Eudora or SIPB Pine, you can set up filters to move your mail to a separate folder. Using your mail program's filters, move all messages with the header "X-Spam-Flag: YES" into a folder you specifically designate for spam.
For more detailed instructions on setting this up, please see http://web.mit.edu/is/help/nospam/. Note that the directions at the webpage do not cover SIPB (POP) pine (although they do cover Athena (IMAP) pine, which is the more commonly used version). (At the time of the writing of this column, SIPB pine is version 4.30L and Athena pine (for Athena 9.1) is version 4.33L as reported in the upper left hand corner of pine's screens.) If you do use SIPB pine, type "SRF" at the main menu to Setup a Rule for a Filter. You will want to filter for the AllText pattern "X-Spam-Flag: YES" as mentioned above.
Once there, you can choose your scoring threshold for incoming mail. The default level of 7.5 will catch most spam, though you can adjust the level as necessary, especially if you determine that many wanted e-mails get marked as spam, or much spam still lands in your INBOX.
You can also tell the MIT Spam Screening program to allow all e-mail from certain users, or deny all e-mail from users. In these cases, regardless of the spam score of the messages they send, they will be marked appropriately.
Finally, on this same page, you can enable or disable automatic purging of the Spamscreen folder. If you are using an IMAP mail client (and the associated spam screening solution), you can have messages in the Spamscreen folder deleted automatically after two weeks. If you enable this option, be especially sure to check the Spamscreen folder to ensure that no messages have mistakenly been filtered there. Once they get deleted, you will NOT be able to retrieve them.
The next time you login, you will be able to use inc, and the messages marked as spam will be automatically be filtered for you into a spam folder.
alias inc 'athrun sipb spam-inc'
spam-incis a shell script in the sipb locker. You can make a personal copy of the script, if you want to customize its behavior.