C-Command Software Forum

Stop SpamSieve from scanning old emails

I’m running a trial of SpamSieve on Apple Mail 6.6 (pre-Maverick). So far so good, it’s catching almost every new spam each morning.

In the past, I spent time each day junking and deleting ALL spam on all my email addresses. AFAIK, there is NO spam in my existing InBoxes. They are very clean. I also file many messages into subfolders On My Mac when archiving.

The only problem I’m finding is that when SpamSieve learns a little more, it seems to scour my old Sent Inbox - which has emails from 2011-2013. It then moves dozens of them to its own “spam” folder and changes them to Unread. (There’s nothing spammy about my replies!)

To try to twart this behaviour, I moved all my previous Sent messages to a new folder On My Mac. I assume that SpamSieve will NOT search thru messages On My Mac? (I hope this is tru, because these are carefully sorted into many different subfolders.)

Feature request: Would like a preference to “Only Scan New /Unread Messages”, so that it doesn’t waste time scanning existing Inboxes & Sent inbox for spam as it will only find good messages to move to its spam folder.


To be clear, you only need to correct the mistakes, not train messages as spam that are already in the Spam mailbox.

SpamSieve does not do any scouring. It only sees new messages in the inbox, messages that you train, and messages that you manually apply the Mail rules to. Also, it never marks spam messages as unread. So it sounds to me like what you’re seeing is being caused by another rule or plug-in.

Thanks for the reminder, but to be clear, I am talking about existing mail in Inboxes being clean. I empty my Deleted Messages every day or two, so there was no spam in my system except for one day’s worth when I first installed SpamSieve.

I don’t have any other plug-ins, and only half a dozen long-standing and well-behaved rules based on “email from” headers in order to sort Lists into folders. None of which would reach into my Sent Folder and move a bunch of my replies to the special “spam” folder.

The only rule that could possibly move message to “spam” is the first rule which is for spamsieve. This rule is set to scan “Every Message”. To be specific:

Yesterday, after I got an ad from a website marketing company, I marked it as Train as Spam. Unfortunately, they used a lot of words that I use in my website design business, because in a blink of an eye 50 messages from my Sent folder jumped into my empty Spam folder. The folder blinked “50” Unread spam messages, all from me, dated from 2012 and 2013. During those few seconds between marking the spam and seeing “50” appear, NO new mail was received. The only explanation is that SpamSieve learned a few new words and then applied them to my previously Sent emails.

I do a lot of beta testing so am very careful about watching for cause and effects.

Yes, but Mail only auto-applies rules to new messages in the inbox. The only other time the rules would be applied are:

  1. If you select some messages and choose Message > Apply Rules.
  2. If you edit (any) rule, Mail will ask if you want to apply (all) the rules to the messages in the current mailbox. I recommend clicking “Don’t Apply.”

There is no mechanism in SpamSieve for it to see old e-mails. It only sees what you specifically send to it. However, it could have seen these rules if you did something that manually applied the rules (as described above). You can check SpamSieve’s log to see whether it predicted these messages to be spam.

Thanks for the reply. I didn’t know that editing ANY rule applies ALL the rules to all existing messages, I thought it only applied the rule you were editing. That is a huge gotcha and might explain it, as I did delete a lot of spam rules when installing spamsieve and may have edited one.