C-Command Software Forum

Sort on Color missing

Or am I missing something? I have installed Lion and can no longer chose sort on color when viewing my spam folder. Any way to work around this?

Apple removed that feature in Lion. I don’t know of a workaround, aside from putting the different colors in different mailboxes.

Thanks, that actually makes finding false positives easier!

Please! Better info on sorting by color into multiple spam mailboxes!
Michael, I’ve read the information on how to sort spam into different mailboxes based on color, but I honestly don’t get it, at all. Given that Mail has unfortunately removed the ability to sort by color, and given that reviewing spam based on color groups is a nearly-essential feature of SpamSieve, could you please clarify how this should be done? To me, it almost seems to be an essential set up that, in its current instruction, is incomplete at best. Thank you!

Do you understand the example at the bottom of the Spam Message Colors in Apple Mail page? If not, which part do you find confusing?

Do you understand the example at the bottom of the Spam Message Colors in Apple Mail page?

Honestly, no, I do not understand it, and I’m a fairly savvy Mac user going on 20+ years—I’ve worked the last 10 years for Apple as a trainer. More to the point, I’ve been a registered user of SpamSieve for several years. Still, I am an end user type, not a programmer.

How SpamSieve is working under the hood is not transparent to the end user, nor does it need to be; but, at the same time, what that means is all we can do is follow your instructions by rote and, if the specific desired goal is not explicitly laid out, we can easily get lost.

(For example, when your instructions say things like, “…create a new mailbox called Spam with location On My Mac. Note: The capitalization is important; do not call the mailbox SPAM or spam.”, all we can do is mimic the steps, not understanding why capitalization is important, when logic says it should not matter at all.)

That said, I have studied your 3-step Example in section 5.5.2. I’ve tried deciphering what’s needed, and I’ve even tried writing several rules. However, my set up does not seem to be working. Here, in detail, is what I did:

With a fresh set up of SpamSieve on OS X 10.7.1, I recreated my mailboxes and rules to match what I had done previously on a different Mac running 10.5.8. I then reset the corpus and went through extensive message-by-message training. Finally, I activated the SpamSieve rule, highlighted thousands of messages in my Inbox (yeah, I know, should have tested a small sample first) and Applied Rules. It was only at this point did I find (to my dismay, and—AHEM!—contrary to your current user manual) that “sort by color” is no longer a feature of Apple Mail. Yikes!

So, with a single Spam mailbox stuffed with messages in a rainbow of unsortable colors, and with your Example in 5.2.2 as a guide, I proceeded to do the following:

  1. I created six additional spam mailboxes, named “Spam [Blue]”, “Spam [Gray]”, etc., one for each color. These were in addition to the already-existing (and now quite full) “Spam” mailbox.

  2. I edited the one existing SpamSieve rule to be like your Example’s step 1, i.e., “SpamSieve [Score]”, etc.

  3. I wrote six additional rules, one for each color, as per your step 2, i.e., “SpamSieve [Blue]”, each rule corresponding to the color mailboxes.

  4. Since your step 3 did not seem to apply, I did nothing further.

I then went to the original Spam mailbox, highlighted several messages in different colors there, and chose “Apply Rules”. What happened was that all of the selected messages, regardless of SpamSieve color, were turned blue and moved only to the blue mailbox.

And that’s where I am. Help!

So, before moving on to 6 colors, what don’t you understand about the 2-color example? Is it not clear what the rules should look like? Or what they do?

In this case, the reason has to do with the particular way that Apple implemented Mail’s AppleScript support. If the capitalization isn’t right, it will act as though the mailbox isn’t there.

It is important to turn off auto-training before bulk-applying the SpamSieve rule.

I’ll address that in the next revision of the manual. Apple removed that feature in Lion.

This sounds good so far. Which order did you have the rules in?

Right, the [Spam] rule is a catch-all that’s only necessary if you haven’t individually specified all of the colors.

I would need to see the log file and screenshots of the rules and rule list to be sure, but my guess is that this would have worked if you had turned off auto-training. The issue is that if auto-training is on, applying SpamSieve twice to the same messages will not necessarily produce the same result. This is because each message that it processes is potentially changing the corpus and rules.

It may help to emphasize that the color rules move the messages based on how spammy SpamSieve thinks the messages are when the rules are applied. The (previous) color that you see in Mail irrelevant, and in fact Mail does not provide rule conditions that match by color.

I hate to say it, but it is not clear what the rules should look like for the specific need of setting up six distinct (or is it seven? don’t know, don’t understand) mailboxes to sort by color. And it is far from clear what each filter is actually doing behind the scenes, e.g., where each individual message is being routed or “held” and how it is being tagged as it passes through each distinct filtration step.

I humbly suggest that the multicolor, multiple spam mailbox set up needs to be offered as an explicitly detailed set up. Indeed, given the new Mail’s inability to sort by color, I would go so far as to say it should be presented as the default and preferred set up. The ability to review hundreds of spam messages based on SpamSieve’s color sorting is, for many, if not most, mission critical.

It is important to turn off auto-training before bulk-applying the SpamSieve rule.

I didn’t even know I had any kind of auto-training turned on. I thought the only training that was being done was my own explicit, message-by-message tagging.

I’ll address that in the next revision of the manual. Apple removed that feature in Lion.

I strongly suggest that this operational change is such a radical departure from the expected SpamSieve workflow as to merit immediate attention in that section, even if only to add a footnote as to Lion Mail’s missing color sorting feature and that “this section will be revised soon”.

This sounds good so far. Which order did you have the rules in?

SpamSieve [Score]
SpamSieve [Blue]
SpamSieve [Gray]
SpamSieve [Purple]
SpamSieve [Red]
SpamSieve [Orange]
SpamSieve [Yellow]

I would need to see the URL=“http://c-command.com/spamsieve/manual-ah/open-log” ]log file /URL ] …

I don’t know what you mean there.

… and screenshots of the rules and rule list to be sure, but my guess is that this would have worked if you had turned off auto-training.

I’ll put those together for you soon. But I’m pretty sure they will look like what you would expect to see.

Of course, even if I did manage to put together the correct and properly sequenced rules and my set up will work going forward, I am still stuck with an already-processed Spam mailbox of over 1000 messages that are now not filed or sorted correctly. :frowning:

Here are the screenshots, including:
Spam Mailboxes created in Mail
SpamSieve Rules and their sequence
Individual SpamSieve rules
(I include only the [Blue] and [Gray] shots; the remaining four colors are identically configured.)

Note that I do have several rules in place ahead of SpamSieve to capture messages from known sources and file them accordingly prior to being handed off to SpamSieve. These are the same rules and set up I’ve been using successfully for years on the previous SpamSieve-managed system.

Follow up
Oops, now I understand what you meant by “Log File” and I’ve attached it. But it may have become a moot point as the multiple color spam mailbox set up may be working correctly after all. (EDIT: I just removed the Log File as I had not realized it contained a lot of personal identity info that should not be posted. If you still want it, I can send it to you privately.)

During all the previous conversation, I had not received a single new spam message to properly test the reconfigured, multiple color spam mailbox set up. However, as of this morning, I awoke to find 28 new spam messages (yay?) properly sorted into the various color-specific spam mailboxes (yay!). Unless you hear otherwise from me, let’s assume it’s a working set up.

Which leaves the following questions:

  1. Is there a recommended way to handle the existing contents of the original Spam mailbox, i.e., the spam that had already been placed there prior to the new multiple color spam mailbox set up? Right now there are over one thousand messages in there that need to be reviewed for accuracy, but cannot be sorted into digestible color groups. Should I just bite the bullet and review each one in sequence, regardless of color? And, as I visually review that each message is (or is not) spam, should I simply move actual spam to the trash? Or is it better to confirm the message is spam with the “Train as Spam” command?

  2. Once I have cleared out that original Spam mailbox, and given that I now have six dedicated color spam mailboxes, is the original Spam mailbox still needed? Can I delete it? Or, even better, can I take those six color-specific spam mailboxes and move them all into the original Spam mailbox? If “yes”, this would mean I can keep the entire group collapsed in Mail’s sidebar and thus essentially recreate how SpamSieve both appeared and functioned in previous versions of Mail (something I think you would agree is highly desirable). In the latter case, I would, of course, make sure the corresponding rules knew of the six mailboxes altered paths.

It looks like you had set it up correctly. There will be seven Spam mailboxes: one for each color and one that’s not associated with any color (to hold the messages that you manually train as spam).

The messages arrive, Mail figures out where to put them, and it puts them there; they don’t move between intermediate areas. The filter is the [Score] rule. It sets the color. Then Mail applies the actions for any color rules that match the message’s color.

I’ve added an example of this to the Spam Message Colors in Apple Mail page. My example names the mailboxes by number rather than by color, so that they sort in order of spamminess.

Thanks for the suggestion. My experience is that the vast majority of people want a single Spam mailbox or one per account. Personally, I find the colors very useful but separate mailboxes per color not useful at all. It’s very easy for me to see the colors when scanning through the messages that are sorted by subject. Having color mailboxes would just create extra clicking for me.

There’s no harm in selecting those messages and re-applying the rules. I would expect that to apply some color differentiation unless you have lots of blocklist rules in place. Regardless, you need to review all of the messages. That is the only way that you can correct all the mistakes.


That is specifically not recommended.

I would put them inside the original Spam mailbox.

Mail should auto-update the rules when you move the mailboxes.