Fighting Spam
Questions:

What is The WELL's policy on spam?
How does The WELL control spam?
Why does The WELL put the mail in a Junk folder instead of deleting it?
Where is the Utilities Page where I can greylist messages?
How can I "blacklist" specific addresses and always tag them as spam?
How can I "whitelist" specific addresses to prevent them from being tagged?
How can I prevent my mail — including spam — from being marked as Junk?
I forward my WELL mail elsewhere. Will spam be removed first?
How can I get into a conversation with WELL members who are savvy about fighting spam?
How did spammers get my name?
Can I get a new WELL email address?


Answers:

What is The WELL's policy on spam?

The WELL does not permit the sending of unsolicited bulk commercial email or spam from a WELL account, nor will we sell or rent email addresses for any offsite purpose.

How does The WELL control spam?

The WELL's Zimbra mail system uses SpamAssassin to identify spam. Zimbra uses SpamAssassin in a sophisticated individualized way. SpamAssassin uses a series of rules to analyze each piece of incoming email and then to assign a score to that mail based on its characteristics. The higher the score assigned, the more likely that mail is spam. Once a certain threshold is reached for a given piece of mail, The mail is placed in your Junk folder. If you get Spam that is not in your Junk folder, go into iris.well.com and move that mail to the Junk folder, and SpamAssassin will learn more about what you do not want to see next time.

Why does The WELL put the mail in a Junk folder instead of deleting it?

SpamAssassin is a powerful tool, but it tries to identify suspected spam by the list of words in its contents. It will probably correctly identify and mark from 80 to 95% of the spam you receive. However, some legitimate mail is likely to be tagged as probable spam, and some spam is likely to slide through untagged because it is written to look more like regular email. We recommend a cursory inspection of the Junk folder before you delete it.

Where is the Utilities Page where I can greylist messages?

Use the Utilities Configuration Page to set up greylisting to cut your spam even further.

How can I "blacklist" specific addresses and always tag them as spam?

If you frequently get unwanted mail from a particular address you can put that address in the "black list". Log into Iris with your Web browser. Choose the "Preferences" tab; then look left to the pane where mail folders are usually displayed. Choose Mail by clicking the closed envelope icon there. Now scroll through the main pane. Just below "Receiving Messages," you'll find "Junk Mail Options," where you can enter the email addresses of people from whom you either never want to receive mail. You can even black list entire domains with the format: @domain.com

How can I "whitelist" specific addresses to prevent them from being tagged?

If there are emails you never want tagged as spam, you can put the address they come from in the "white list" Log into Iris with your Web browser. Choose the "Preferences" tab; then look left to the pane where mail folders are usually displayed. Choose Mail by clicking the closed envelope icon there. Now scroll through the main pane. Just below "Receiving Messages," you'll find "Junk Mail Options," where you can enter the email addresses of people from whom you either never want to receive mail (see blacklists, above) or always want to receive mail.

How can I prevent my mail — including spam — from being marked as Junk?

If unwanted mail is not a problem for you, contact Helpdesk and we can deliver all your spam. Note that the volume may be very high at times.

I forward my WELL mail elsewhere. Will spam be removed first?

No, forwarded mail will be untouched.

If you do want to forward email to another address yet still get the benefit of Zimbra and SpamAssassin processing at the WELL, you may be able to find a way to use an advanced feature in the Filter options, where certain emails are forwarded and others are not. See the Zimbra help for filters when you log in to iris.well.com

How can I get into a conversation with WELL members who are savvy about fighting spam, phishing and viruses?

The Spam Conference is the place to swap ideas and ask for specific help from others who use WELL mail programs just the way you do.

How did spammers get my name?

Spammers have many ways of finding email addresses. Here are a few:

  • Spammers use "spiders" that travel around on the Web in an automated fashion to collect email addresses from Web sites, USENET posts and mailto forms. Some spiders may be fooled by spelled-out email addresses like: helpdesk (at) well [dot] com on web pages.
  • Sometimes spammers just guess usernames. Spamming everyone on well.com with a fake username that is a common first name or a first name and last initial, for example, may hit a number of real mailboxes.
  • Spammers make use of "bots" and "zombies" -- virus-like programs they install on your machine that then email all your contacts with other members of your contact list in the From line. Be very careful about downloading programs or documents from unknown web sites since that is how the bots are installed.
  • Some sites that require email for registration may sell email address lists. When you register for a site, don't tell them your WELL mail address unless the site owners assure you in their privacy statement that they won't rent, sell, or make their list available to spammers. (Even then, you can't know if the next owner of the site will stick to any assurances.) Never use your WELL address as your contact or login name elsewhere if you are also using the same password for that site and The WELL. That makes it too easy for scammers to get into our system and your private files.

Since SpamAssassin is not 100% effective, be aware of activities that may increase your spam volume.

Can I get a new WELL email address?

If you'd like to change your WELL email address, you can either:

  • Sign up for an ExtraMail account as an add-on to your current account. You can add new ExtraMail logins to your account. ExtraMail is useful if you wish to keep your old WELL login for posting, but to ease off of using the old email address.

  • Sign up for a new WELL account, and transfer over, leaving your old login behind. Contact The WELL's Helpdesk as soon as you create the new account. (See the contact information at foot of this page.) We can help you make the transfer and close the old one.

For Further Information...

For information about The WELL or for WELL Customer Support, use the Helpdesk contact on the footer of this page.

* Utilities Configuration Page

* Spam Conference

* Greylisting

 
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