One-button solution for PR spam in Gmail
March 12, 2010 5:36 AM   Subscribe

I get a lot of PR spam to my Gmail account. Is there a Greasemonkey script (or something else entirely) that can make this one repetitive task easier?

When PR spam comes in, here's what I do:

-Mark the checkbox next to the email, and go to 'Filter messages like this' under the 'More actions' menu.
-The 'from' address is automatically filled in, so I hit 'Next step'
-Then I select 'Delete it' and 'Apply filter to XXX conversations below' and hit 'Create filter'

Ideally I'd like a single-button solution that does this exact thing sitting somewhere on my inbox screen so that I can just select the message and hit the button. Does it exist?
posted by wordsmith to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Stupid question: do you mark it as spam too?
posted by devnull at 5:54 AM on March 12, 2010

Does the 'Report Spam' button not help out here? Seems to me that you'd get better results over the long term if you report the spam than simply delete it all manually, since you'll be teaching gmail which messages you regard as spam.
posted by syzygy at 5:56 AM on March 12, 2010

I don't mark it as spam because that doesn't guarantee that that particular PR person can't email me again (right?). And I either have a choice, filter it and delete it (and its future selves) or mark it as spam. I'd rather insure that it never comes back.
posted by wordsmith at 5:56 AM on March 12, 2010

I also fear that this marketing spam is too close to other legitimate emails that I get, and simply marking them as spam will also catch some real emails in its wake. But now that I think about it, I don't really know what marking as spam truly does.
posted by wordsmith at 5:58 AM on March 12, 2010

I would try out the "mark as spam" option - maybe set up a temporary Hotmail account, send yourself a copy-pasted PR spam email, mark it as spam and repeat with a second email from the temp address, see if the Gmail spam filter catches the second one. FWIW I was signed up to a Yahoogroups mailing list without my consent, marked the first email I got as spam in Gmail, and all subsequent messages from that list (but not from other YG lists that I do want to receive) have been automatically marked as spam.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:00 AM on March 12, 2010

You can do both. After you delete it, you can mark it as Spam which will drastically reduce the chances of you receiving similar mail in the future.
posted by turkeyphant at 6:00 AM on March 12, 2010

Wrong, you'd be better off marking it as SPAM. Gmail remembers the characteristics of emails you mark as SPAM and it's smart enough to take those characteristics into account when checking new messages that come into your mail box.

I can't guarantee that you'll never get another SPAM from a particular PR person, but you're more likely to have better results using gmail's 'Report this as Spam' button than you are with your current method*.

*Not tested, but I'm pretty confident that I'm right here. I mark all SPAM (the very little bit which comes through google's SPAM filter) as SPAM, and it works well for me.
posted by syzygy at 6:01 AM on March 12, 2010

If you're worried that gmail is marking legitimate messages as SPAM, check your Spam folder every now and then, and mark any non-SPAM messages that you find there with the 'This is not SPAM' option.
posted by syzygy at 6:02 AM on March 12, 2010

Mark As Spam is the correct answer. Gmail handles spam filtering astonishly well. In my experience, false positives and false negatives both are extremely low in general, then virtually nil after marking a few that overlap in their particular spamminess characteristics. Search your gmail account for the ones you've previously filtered/deleted. (Gmail keeps them around for a bit, just under your radar.) Mark those as spam. Suspend their filters to confirm effectiveness of future results.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:53 AM on March 12, 2010

My strategy to deal with noisy email senders that I sometimes care about, but most often don't (for example: I get frequent flyer email) is to apply a label/labels ("travel" and "airlines" in this case) and then filter it from the inbox (archive). Then it's there for the looking whenever I actually want to see it, but it doesn't clutter up my inbox, which is only for important things that I want to read.

This is probably the best solution if you care about 10% of what comes through and don't care about the rest. You can then just scan the "PR spam" label you've created a couple times per week to make sure there isn't anything interesting going on.
posted by kdar at 10:00 AM on March 12, 2010

People seem to be offering you the one suggestion you explicitly don't want.

Not knowing how to do this via Greasemonkey, I'd suggest you enable keyboard shortcuts in your General Settings tab. Then it's just a matter of getting used to tapping out the keyboard combination fairly quickly:
  • X to select the message
  • . to open the 'more actions' menu
  • four Down Arrows to pick 'filter messages like this'
  • Return to select that option
  • nine Tabs to get to Next Step
  • Space to select
  • eight Tabs to get to Delete it
  • space to turn that checkbox on
  • six tabs to get to Apply filter to below
  • shift-tab to go backwards one to 'Create filter'
  • Space to select
Admittedly seems like a lot, but if you've got a keyboard macro program you can get it to do it for you automatically (just put a little bit of a pause between each keystroke).
posted by WCityMike at 1:03 PM on March 12, 2010

I haven't tried these but I'm about to.

It sounds like you may be just the person that the Greasemonkey userscript Gmail Filter Assistant is for. It's included in the packaged add-on from Lifehacker called Better Gmail 2.
posted by dhartung at 11:40 PM on March 12, 2010

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