SpamAssassin Problems

The default SpamAssassin configuration considers any date far in the future to be extremely suspicious, which is pretty reasonable.
However, as @schampeo points out, it also seems to consider any date later than 2009 to be “far in the future”.
That means that until the SpamAssassin folks roll out a fix, and that gets deployed by SpamAssassin users pretty much all email will get an additional 2-3.5 spamminess points. That’s likely to cause a lot of content-based blocking over the next few weeks, until fixed rules are deployed both by SpamAssassin users and by all the various spam filtering appliances that use SpamAssassin rulesets.
(If you’re a SpamAssassin user, add “score FH_DATE_PAST_20XX 0.0” to your file to disable that rule).
EDIT: Mike has some more background on the bug.
EDIT: Fix it out on the spamassassin homepage.


  1. Mike says

    This issue has been known about for over a year and a fix was written about six months ago. It just hasn’t been rolled out properly. See for more information about how this all went down.

  2. John Levine says

    If you can edit the main spamassassin config files, this bug takes about 10 seconds to fix. Find the file which is usually stored in
    /usr/local/share/spamassassin/, find the line that starts “header FH_DATE_PAST_20XX”, and change [1-9] to [2-9]. If you use compiled patterns, run sa-compile, if you use spamd, restart it.
    This bug is annoying, but it sure is easy to fix.

  3. SpamAssassin Y2K10 Problem | MailChimp Email Marketing Blog says

    […] than usual this year (perhaps in your inbox inspection reports), it’s probably because of this date issue that Laura Atkins talks about here. Spread the monkey […]

  4. Jared says

    Wow! A ton of email marketing is going to get blocked because of this. I’m sure some of those emails could be annoying but on the other hand there will probably be important things that will get blocked as well. Hopefully this get’s fixed asap.

  5. SpamAssassin Y2K10 Problem | Email Marketing says

    […] Horrible title, I know. Anyway, if you’re seeing your emails get junked more often than usual this year (perhaps in your inbox inspection reports), it’s probably because of this date issue that Laura Atkins talks about here. […]

  6. Amie says

    I lost almost 100 names due to this bug. Email addresses from certain ISPs were “hard bounced” and I have to go in and hand delete them all from the cleaned list so that they can be resubscribed.

  7. SpamAssassin Users: 2010 Emails May be Flagged | MailerMailer Blog | In The Box says

    […] who are using SpamAssassin as their email filter. In a recent post on email delivery blog Word to the Wise, Steve Atkins mentioned the problem and the quick fix, which takes about 10 seconds for an email […]

  8. J.D. Falk says

    It’s extremely unlikely that an ISP would reject (5xx reply, sometimes called a “hard bounce”) messages based on a single SpamAssassin rule. More likely, the message had other spam-like characteristics as well.
    (Actually, it’s rare that they’ll reject based on SpamAssassin at all. SA is more commonly used as a filter, after the message was accepted.)

  9. The Proverbial Barry says

    Amie- they were not YOUR names in the first place.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.