Advanced Techniques: Cleverer Statistics

Several spam researchers recognized a problem with the raw Bayesian approach: a word that appears only once in, say, a spam message has a probability of 100% associated with that word’s “spamminess.” Intuitively, this does not feel right because random words might appear in any email.

Gary Robinson [7] made several extremely useful suggestions in his Linux Journal article on spam. First of all, he defined p(w) as the probability that an email with the word “w” is spam:


and similarly,

When a ...

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