Spam Filtering for RAMS

All email sent through RAMS is processed by a spam tagging program called SpamAssassin. SpamAssassin applies a series of tests to each email that comes in. Each test has a score value that is assigned to the email. SpamAssassin combines the test results into a global score. The higher the given score, the more spam-like the message is. A score of 10.0 or more is very likely to be spam, while a message of 4.0 or less is far less likely to be spam.

List owners can turn spam filtering on or off as well as set a score threshold for each of their lists. How RAMS responds to this threshold depends on the type of list (see How RAMS handles Spam, below).

Please note that it is possible for a legitimate email to end up with a high spam score, sometimes resulting in a "false positive". These "false positives", as well as all other spam, are placed into a Moderator Queue that can be viewed by logging into the RAMS List Manager. Please see the RAMS: List Moderation documentation for more information on Approving and Deleting messages held for moderation.

Activating and Setting Spam Filtering

To activate spam filtering and set your spam threshold value, first log into the RAMS List manager using your NetID (for more information on NetIDs, please visit: Once logged in, select a list to work on.

Select Manage List Configuration from the list of tasks at the top of the page. Under List Options, set Spam Filter to ON. Enter a number in the Enter Spam Threshold box. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) recommends starting with a spam threshold of 5, which is also the default if no number is entered.. You may adjust this number at any time, if you decide you need your list to be more or less restrictive.

Note: Spam filtering defaults to on for RAMS lists.

How RAMS handles Spam

For RAMS lists with spam filtering turned on, messages that meet or exceed the spam threshold number will be placed in the moderation queue for that list. This mail is not sent to the list or to owners or moderators and can only be accessed via the web interface. Please see the RAMS: List Moderation documentation for information on how to view, approve, or delete these messages.

Managing Spam in the Moderation Queue

All messages in the Moderation Queue will be deleted 30 days after it arrives. This means no action is needed by owners, moderators, or editors unless you wish to review the spam to check for "false positives."

Please see the RAMS: List Moderation documentation for instructions on how to review the messages in the Moderation Queue.

Managing Spam in the List

If spam manages to get through to the list, you can choose to lower the threshold number, making the spam filter more strict. OIT recommends lowering it one level at a time to avoid "false positives" -- for example, don't jump from 5 to 2, but instead lower it first to 4 and if necessary lower it again later.

If you continue to struggle with spam reaching your list, you might wish to consider switching the list's posting privilidges to more restrictive settings: going from closed to moderated or closed and moderated. If spam is overwhelming the moderators, you may wish to consider increasing security by changing your list to a closed moderated or admin only list (see the List Manager Manual for more information).

Need Help?

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