Weird Gmail behavior

A bit of blog housekeeping here…

Normally, I find out about new comments on my blog through e-mail notifications that get sent to me shortly after you, the reader and commenter, post your comments. I find it much easier simply to scroll through the e-mails and see what the reaction is to my posts and to note any comments to which I think a response from me is warranted. In addition, usually about once a day, I check the “Junk Comments” folder on Movable Type to see if there are any comments that fell victim to the spam filters that I need to retrieve and publish. (As an aside, the most common reason for the spam filter to hang up a legitimate comment is too many links. There are also certain word combinations that seem to do it as well, and I’ve put in a few custom filters myself. For example, if you use the F-word, your post will result in your post being held for moderation. Use of certain profanity doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t ultimately approve the comment, but it does trigger moderation. I do that to try to keep the profanity to a minimum.)

Yesterday, I happened to wade into my Spam folder on Gmail, something I hadn’t done for a while because Gmail’s spam filters have been pretty reliable at not flagging legitimate e-mail as spam. To my surprise, I noticed a lot of comment notifications there from comments going back as far as about a month. I don’t know what happened, but something happened about a month ago that led to a significant percentage of comment notifications to be flagged as spam by Gmail. What this means is that I never saw a fair number of comments, including a few notifications of comments that needed to be approved by me. I selected pretty much all of the comments incorrectly labeled as spam and hit the “Not Spam” button. I’ll check the Spam folder regularly and do the same until Gmail gets the message that these are not spam. I’ve also noticed that a couple of Friday Woo proposals from a while back also got held up. I’m guessing that it’s because the sort of language and links that you would find in a Friday Woo candidate tend to be just the sort of language and links that you would find in spam.

In the meantime, if you get a comment that’s held up for moderation and it doesn’t appear within a day or so, feel free to drop me a line. Ditto if sometime in the last month you sent me a tasty bit of woo for consideration in Your Friday Dose of Woo, and I never responded. (I usually, although not always, respond to such submissions.) I’ll be keeping my eye on the Spam folder for a while.


  1. #1 JS
    July 6, 2007

    I’m afraid you can’t trust that the issue arose about a month ago, since GMail only saves junk mail for a month, so that’s the lower limit only.

    – JS

  2. #2 John Lynch
    July 6, 2007

    I noted the problem began for me about ten days ago. I’ve been reclassifying messages since then, but the spam filters don’t seem to have cottoned on.

  3. #3 DuWayne
    July 6, 2007

    Thanks for the heads up, just discovered why I haven’t gotten a couple of expected emails. I have never had a single problem with their spam filter before, in fact, that’s one of the big attractions for me.

  4. #4 DuWayne
    July 6, 2007

    Wow, seriously, I really appreciate this. I found a couple of very important, work related e-mails that ended up in my spambox. Every time I use email for contacting clients and potential clients, their addresses go into my contacts. In spite of that, a few responses ended up in my spambox, which I didn’t even think about checking, I just assumed they found someone else.

    Just got ahold of one of them, I’ll be able to pay my rent for July now! Or at least by Wednsday. . .

  5. #5 Cat's Staff
    July 8, 2007

    I usually POP in using a mail client and only use the the web interface of gmail when I’m away from home. I logged in the other day to find 2 messages in the SPAM folder. Both were non-SPAM messages that should have gotten through and both were from people who are in my gmail contacts list, which I would think would effectively be a ‘white-list’ for the SPAM filter. Neither of the messages had any obvious SPAM keywords either.

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