- Rule‐based information filtering systems maintain user profiles where the profile consists of a set of filtering rules expressing the user's information filtering policy. Filtering rules may refer to various attributes of the data items subject to the filtering process. In personal rule‐based filtering systems, each user has his/her own personal filtering rules. In stereotype rule‐based filtering systems, a user is assigned to a group of similar users (his/her stereotype) from which he/she inherits the stereotype's filtering profile. This study compares the effectiveness of the two alternative rule‐based filtering methods: stereotype‐based rules versus personal rules. We conducted a comparison between filtering effectiveness when using the personal rules or when using the stereotype‐based rules. Although, intuitively, personal filtering rules seem to be more effective because each user has his own tailored rules, our comparative study reveals that stereotype filtering rules yield more effective results. We believe that this is because users find it difficult to evaluate their filtering preferences accurately. The results imply that by using a stereotype it is possible not only to overcome the problem of user effort required to generate a manual rule‐based profile, but at the same time even provide a better initial user profile.