Related to: Custom spam score

John Rudd jrudd at UCSC.EDU
Tue Feb 18 22:40:04 GMT 2003

> From: Tom Kovalcik <kovalcik at ORION-DESIGN.COM>
> Just wanted a clarification. When I look at the spam assassin web site, the
> page for tests and default scores is very long. I assume these tests and
> scores are hard coded into spam assassin and not in a config file. If I
> want to change the defaults for Mail Scanner use, I add the tests and new
> scores to spam.assassin.prefs.conf as opposed to a which
> the Spam Assassin web page talks about. Is this correct?

Well, yes and no.

They are in a conf file somewhere.  Usually in /usr/share/spamassassin/*
or /usr/local/share/spamassassin/*

But don't change those cf files.

If you find a score in there that you don't agree with, you can raise or
lower it's score in the spam.assassin.prefs.conf file.  Just copy the same
score line out of the default spam assassin files (being sure to use tabs
instead of spaces to seperate the 3 fields), and then give it whatever
new score you want.  If you give it a score of 0, you effectively disable
that test.

You can also change the test's themselves by doing the same thing.

But I'd recommend against changing their tests.  Just the scores that you
think need to be adjusted.  The only things that I actually change in
their cf files are: in the file they have a bunch of
default whitelist entries ... I comment out all but the first 3 (which
are related to domain registration).  Some of their entries are actually
technically wrong (giving the wrong address for yahoo mailing lists, etc.),
others are judgementally wrong ( _does_ spam people).

But asside from that, I tend to avoid touching their cf files.  For one,
if you do touch their cf files, it means that next time you upgrade
Spam Assassin, you'll have to make your changes all over again.  Better to
just put them in your local conf file, in MailScanner.

(and, you SHOULD keep up to date on Spam Assassin, because spammers are
starting to use various tools like spam assassin for writing "better spam",
so current versions of spam assassin are current to current bodies of
spam, and older versions of spam assassin have already been worked around
by spammers)

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