-- Filter smarter, not harder --


SpamGUI is a new way to filter email and battle spam. The problem with existing abusive email solutions is that no classifier is perfect. False negatives may be annoying, but false positives have a much larger impact. This tension is difficult to resolve with purely technical means.

SpamGUI uses human factors engineering to add novel ways to view your inbox. Our insight is that classifiers need not be binary -- they can return a degree of confidence or probability measure. Our goal is to give filtering power back to the user: graphically demarcating spam from ham in an intuitive manner while avoiding false positives. In this way, SpamGUI is an embodiment of our design philosophy that email classification and filtering should be addressed separately.

SpamGUI is a research project of MIT Advanced Network Architecture developed by Robert Beverly.


A Human Factors Approach to Spam Filtering
Robert Beverly.
Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Email and Anti-Spam (CEAS 2009),
Mountain View, CA, July 2009.


  1. Won't this pollute my inbox?
    Potentially. However, we have not defined the operational mode of SpamGUI. SpamGUI might be used to triage a user's spam folder, making it trivial for the user to find false positives, effectively solving the problem of digging through a huge spam folder manually.


spamgui screenshot


How to Install in Thunderbird

  1. Right-click the link below and choose "Save Link As..." to download and save the file to your hard disk.
  2. In Mozilla Thunderbird, open Add-ons from the Tools menu.
  3. Click the Install button, and locate/select the file you downloaded and click "OK".