Monday, May 29, 2006

Spam is hot or not?

A few weeks back, prolific anti-spam researcher John Graham-Cumming announced a new site,, where you can donate your time to spam research. That's right, visitors to the site can spend a few minutes (or hours, or weeks, as you deem fit) looking at messages one at a time, and judging whether they think each is a spam or a ham (legitimate, non-spam) message, thereby helping The Cause. This is important because (a) it helps improve the quality of the collection, and (b) coincidentally, it helps build a benchmark for how good or bad actual humans really are at making this judgment. The preliminary results are already interesting. John looks at it that it's like Hot or Not for email. Interesting is the fact that machines are sometimes better at classifying email than humans. And the result of this project certainly will shead more light on that topic.