Q&A With EmailKarma

Hello EmailKarma,

I was wondering if I could ask you a question about SpamAssasin. They have this test in their default settings:2.5 MISSING_HB_SEP Missing blank line between message header and body. I was wondering if you think many ISPs are leaving the score at 2.5, or if re-setting at 1.5 would be ok (for internal use).

Thanks very much for your help!
Kind Regards,


Hello Josie,

What I have read about this particular SpamAssasin rule is that there are extra lines being inserted into the headers that are triggering on this rule set.

MISSING_HB_SEP: This is another danger sign, typically indicating that a header line has had a newline inserted incorrectly somehow, or an mbox “From” line has been inserted between RFC-822 headers.

Have your technical team review these links;

If these do not have the answer your looking for try the SpamAssassin “user list”. You can subscribe to by sending a message to: users-subscribe-at-spamassassin.apache.org.

As for ISPs changing the score for these message. This particular rule is probably left at the default setting, but each setup may be altered by the local administrator. As for your Internal mail whitelist your mail server to bypass these tests but still protect your users from external spam.

Do you have a question for EmailKarma? Email them to contact or leave a comment.

Author: Matt V - @emailkarma

Matthew Vernhout is a digital messaging industry veteran and Certified International Privacy Professional (Canada) (CIPP/C) with nearly two decades of experience in email marketing. Matthew is 250ok’s Director of Privacy, and he is currently the Vice Chair of the eec, after serving for several years as the Chair of their Advocacy Subcommittee. Matthew was recognized as the 2019 eec thought-leader of the year.

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1 Comment

  1. MISSING_HB_SEP seems to often be a false positive. I see it when somebody exports their ESP-served email from their Outlook account; it mangles the headers, rewrites the HTML, and does a whole bunch of bad stuff that makes your email score in ways it won’t actually score when being served by the ESP.

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