This article was originally published as part of the Pobox blog. Pobox was acquired by Fastmail in 2015.

One of the biggest complaints we get about spam is that there's too much of it to review.  Today, we're announcing a simple change to our default display settings, that we hope will drastically reduce this problem for those of you whose anti-spam level is set to Standard.

While the Pobox Spam section and emailed reports can be customized for your preferred views, the vast majority of you use the defaults we provide.  To reflect how we use the Spam section, and how we think it can be most useful to you, we've changed the defaults. Effective today, we're switching the default view we provide from Held Messages to our Quick Check view.  If you were previously set to go directly to Held Messages on the web, or if your emailed report sent all held messages, you will now see the Quick Check view instead. 

The Quick Check view removes messages caught by our 3 most effective filters.  How effective are they? For our two most accurate filters, customers review more than 10,000 messages they caught to release just one message.  For the third, you review more than 2,000.  Of the messages released, header reviews indicate the vast majority are actually spam or suspected phishing, which customers choose to release to themselves for their own purposes.

These 3 highly accurate filters catch more than 88% of the spam we handle each day.  In house, Pobox staffers nearly always choose to use Aggressive filtering, because it bounces messages flagged by these filters, and drastically reduces the amount of mail to review.  Reviewing thousands of pieces of spam for the extremely unlikely possibility that one legitimate piece of mail might be there is simply not effective. Not only do you waste all that time reviewing spam, but it ends up burying mail caught by our less accurate filters. Reviewing messages that have a 1 in 400 chance that they are legitimate makes much more sense than wading through messages whose chances are 1 in 10,000 (or much, much less.)  

Please note: this change has not modified what we catch for you (your anti-spam level) in any way.  It only changes the default setting of what we are asking you to review.  If your view was set, on the web or via email, to Bounced or For Review, your settings have not been changed.  If your anti-spam level is Aggressive, this change will not alter your view.  Aggressive bounces these extremely accurate filters, so they are already part of your Bounced view, not your Held view.

For some of you, part of the peace of mind that Pobox provides is knowing that you can easily check all the mail we've blocked for your account.  If you would prefer to continue reviewing all spam we hold for your account, just switch the view we send back to Held Messages.  (If you want to try the new view out for a few days first, the "Emailed Reports Settings" button at the bottom of every report takes you to the settings for the view included in your report.) To switch the default view when reviewing messages on the web, just select "Held Messages" in the top right corner under Spam Views.
Search in the spam section also checks every section and every view, and always has.

We believe this small change will dramatically reduce the amount of spam you have to review, without impacting the accuracy of your results in any way.  We welcome your continued feedback on any way we can make Pobox better and easier for you to use.  Let us know if you think this has helped!

Updated (9/24/12): Text has been modified to clarify that this change modifies the display for people whose anti-spam level is set to Standard.  Users using Aggressive or higher will not see a change.