Friday, June 22, 2007

False positives

GMailGMail has typically been good at keeping spam out of my inbox, and even the false positive rate has been amazingly good. So good, in fact, that I've mostly stopped scanning my spam folder for false positives.

Recently though I started wondering why I would see responses to messages I've never seen and if there's something wrong with commit and other notifications occasionally getting lost. Digging deeper I realized that GMail has started to flag a considerable portion of my legitimate email as spam. The false positive rate seems to be something like 8%. And it's not just random commit notifications that get lost, for example these messages got marked as spam!

I've now explicitly marked all false positives as "Not spam", and I really hope that the GMail spam algorithm learns something from this.