C-Command Software Forum

Mail.app problems

HI -

I’ve been using SS for about a week now, hoping it will help with my spam woes. It seems to be working pretty well now that I’ve trained it a bit. It is not working entirely properly, however, from what I can tell, and need to figure out out to fix it.

What happens is that messages that get moved into the Junk mailbox don’t seem to be treated equally. Some get marked as Junk, some don’t. Some get colored as spam, some don’t. And some get marked as read, and others don’t. None of these are major issues, but they do make it difficult to tell what SS is doing.

Having the items marked as read is more important than the others, since for some reason if I delete unread messages, my IMAP server sometimes sends them back into my Inbox.

If mail is moved to Junk, and SS is the only junk-related rule active, that must mean SS is working, correct, and is learning those items to be spam? Why wouldn’t it be marking items appropriately?


Under the normal SpamSieve setup, you would have disabled Mail’s junk mail filter. Then no messages would be marked as junk, and the messages that SpamSieve thought were spam would go to the Spam mailbox. This is the configuration I recommend, because it’s simple to set up and because it makes it easy to see exactly what SpamSieve has done.

When you say that some aren’t colored, do you mean that the background is white? If so, then SpamSieve probably didn’t think the message was spam. Perhaps it was moved to the Junk mailbox by Mail’s own junk mail filter. This is very bad, because it makes it hard for you to know when SpamSieve has made a mistake. And if you don’t correct SpamSieve, it will think that it was correct, and the accuracy will decline. Thus, I recommend disabling Mail’s junk mail filter. If you must use the Junk mailbox instead of the Spam mailbox, then follow these instructions, so that Mail’s junk mail filter is enabled but inactive. Meanwhile, if you see any recent spam messages that weren’t colored as junk, use “SpamSieve - Train as Spam” on them to ensure that SpamSieve knows they are spam.

Do you have the SpamSieve rule set to mark spam messages as read? If so, then this may be another symptom of having Mail’s junk mail filter active.

Michael -

Thanks for the reply.

From what I can tell, you cannot get the orange Junk mailboxes to show up in the list unless you have Junk Mail on, and Move to Junk on “Automatic”. What I did was disable the Junk Mail Rule in rules, assuming that would keep the mailboxes visible while not running the rule. Apparently this does not work.

If you try to trick the Apple Mail filter into ignoring Junk, it works, but that doesn’t do anything to bring those Junk mailboxes up. I liked having them, since I could see all my IMAP spam mail in one place, and the colored mailboxes make them stand out. It’s not that important, since I can get more or less the same effect (minus the color) with a Smart Mailbox.

Given all this, I’d be curious to hear what anyone would consider the advantage of keeping Apple junk mail filtering turned on when also using SS.


Allow me to answer my own question: it allows auto-deletion of Junk, via Mailbox Behaviors. I have turned it back on, and used that dummy rule to prevent the Apple rule from doing anything.

That said, even when I had it turned off did at least one message get moved into the Junk Mailbox, get colored as spam, and NOT be marked as read. I double checked, and SS was set to mark spam as read.

Any thoughts?

I take it back. Not one email, but many are being moved into Junk mail by SS and colored as spam but not marked as read. Not only that, but messages that were already processed as spam are reappearing as duplicates, except the second version is unread. They are not simply a second sent copy of the spam, because both copies have the same timestamp.

I’m going to keep the Junk Mail filter off for awhile, and see if that works better. How do I get old junk to autodelete after a specified period?


Unchecking it in the rule list is not enough. If you want to show the Junk mailbox, you should follow this procedure to make sure that Mail’s junk mail filter isn’t actually applied to any messages. The rule should only have the two conditions shown.

When you say that SpamSieve was set to mark it as read, you mean in the rule, right? The Change Settings options do not apply to incoming messages.

Is the SpamSieve rule at the top of the list? Do you have any other rules? Are you sure that SpamSieve is what’s moving those messages, i.e. are there “Predicted: Spam” entries for them in its log?

What do you mean by “already processed”? Are you referring to incoming messages that SpamSieve thought were spam or ones that you trained as spam?

Aside from using the Junk mailbox, you could set the SpamSieve rule to move the spam to the trash (Deleted Items) and set Mail to delete those messages after a specified period.

Michael -

I think this was my problem: I was under the assumption that the Train as Spam and SS Rule were identical, ie that in addition to moving the emails to Junk, they would color them as junk, mark as read, etc. Whatever settings were assigned to Train as Spam would be applied to learned spam.

As for the orange junk mailboxes, if you do not have junk mail filtering Enabled and Automatic, they do not appear in the list. Dummying up the rule to keep it from doing anything does keep the autodelete function working, but doesn’t make the boxes visible.

Thanks for your help

“Train as Spam” is for teaching SpamSieve that the selected messages are spam. It will follow the settings in Change Settings to decide which mailbox to move the messages to and whether to mark them as spam.

The rule is for automatically processing the incoming messages that SpamSieve thinks are spam. It will follow the settings in the rule to decide where to move the messages and whether to mark them as read.

(I realize that you probably understand all this now, but I want to make this super-clear for other people reading the forum.)

On my Mac, if I set it to Automatic and set the rule conditions so that they never match, it shows the orange/brown Junk mailbox between the trash and the first regular mailbox. I’ve never heard anyone else report anything different.

Michael -

So you set the Mail.app Junk filter to ON and AUTOMATIC, then hit ADVANCED and set the rule to to IS/IS NOT addressed to my full name, so it doesn’t catch anything, correct?

My mistake was assuming that the Rule specified in ADVANCED is the same as the on in Rules called “Built-in Junk Filter”. I’ve turned that off, and fixed the other rule. We shall see.

One last question. With this setup, will/should messages be marked as Junk (with the brown bag)? I just want to make sure the app is not doing anything to undermine SS’s efforts, and I want to be able to tell when SS is working properly.



I’m not sure how you got a rule called “Built-in Junk Filter.” On my Mac, starting from a clean setup, if I set Mail’s Junk Filter to Automatic, the rule that I see when I click Advanced is called Junk, and there is no Junk rule in the rules list, only the “News From Apple” rule.

If you have that column shown, SpamSieve will mark all the messages it thinks are spam with the brown bag, as well as all the messages that you train as spam. Since Mail’s junk filter is disabled, all messages not marked with the brown bag are ones that either (a) SpamSieve thought were good, or (b) that it didn’t analyze.

Just to make sure I understand, “brown bag” message flagging will work with SpamSieve if it’s properly configured to use Mail’s special Junk mailbox? I’ve been thinking I might prefer that to using a different Spam mailbox. Glad this topic came up before reconfiguring the trial version I’m still testing because now it makes more sense.

What do you mean by that, exactly?

I was asking if what you’d said:

If you have that column shown, SpamSieve will mark all the messages it thinks are spam with the brown bag, as well as all the messages that you train as spam.

… was specifically applicable to messages in Mail’s special Junk mailbox.

I don’t understand what you mean by “specifically.” When SpamSieve thinks a message is spam, it always tells Mail that the message is junk. One side effect of setting Mail’s junk filter to Automatic is that Mail will start showing the brown bag indicator in the Flags column. Another side effect is that Mail will make the Junk mailbox visible, which means that you can choose it in the SpamSieve rule. Mail will show the brown bag indicator in all mailboxes, not just the Junk one. Does that answer your question?

Yep, combined with re-reading relevant parts of this thread. Thanks. I was mistakenly associating the brown bag flags “specifically” with the Junk mailbox(es), forgetting I’d infrequently seen those flags on messages in other mailboxes.

Disclaimer: The following is based on using JunkMatcher with Mail on my primary system, while eval’ing SpamSieve on another system (with a simple setup). I want to understand a few more things before deciding whether or not to make a JM to SS migration …

One thing that’s unclear after comparing my primary (non-SpamSieve) Mail setup with instructions in Automatically Deleting Old Spam Messages that say:

Enable Mail’s junk mail filtering in Automatic mode, then click Advanced… and edit the rule such that the conditions don’t match any messages.

The first part of that is already fulfilled with “Move to the Junk mailbox (Automatic)” enabled under the “When junk mail arrives:” section of Mail’s Junk Mail preference. And creating a no-op rule under Advanced… makes sense. Even after reading Mail help I’m slightly confused by how “Perform custom actions (Click Advanced to configure)” differs from “… (Automatic)” in the preferences. I’m wondering if the “Automatic” setting uses the same rules you see under “Advanced…” by default, which would be the same used by the “Custom” setting unless you’ve changed them.

I have doubts about that “Automatic” vs. “Custom” assumption because of a separate rule added under the Rules preferences similar to the default Advanced… rule. It would seem like the “Automatic” setting and that separate rule are redundant. I did it this way because of the JunkMatcher recommendation but it’s been awhile so I want to double-check the docs for better understanding of the rule processing flow with different Junk Mail settings.

I won’t go into my reasons for considering replacing JunkMatcher with SpamSieve. Maybe I’m being overcautious but I want to minimize disruptions if I’m going to make this transition.

I don’t claim to understand why, but on my Mac (and Macs with a fresh OS X installation) the former does not cause Mail to show the Junk mailbox.

Perhaps it works both ways, but the standard SpamSieve setup is to just have the invisible rule that’s configured using the Advanced button, with no Junk rules in the Rules list.

In some cases I’m pretty sure you have to designate a junk mailbox with “Mailbox > Use This Mailbox For > Junk” in order for the special Junk mailbox to appear.

Perhaps it works both ways, but the standard SpamSieve setup is to just have the invisible rule that’s configured using the Advanced button, with no Junk rules in the Rules list.

To confirm, you’re saying SpamSieve honors that Advanced… button rule with “Move to the Junk mailbox (Automatic)” enabled instead of "Perform custom actions (Click Advanced to configure)? I’m still puzzled how exactly Mail differentiates those two settings. I’ll try figuring it later, time permitting.

No, SpamSieve ignores both entirely. It only looks at the rule(s) starting with “SpamSieve”.

Got it, whew!

The time you’ve taken answering my pre-sales questions is tempting me to buy SpamSieve even if I don’t use it.