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Gmail/SH situation gets worse


I'm looking into ways to resolve this, but in the meantime:

Gmail appears to be throwing away more and more mail sent from the fiction@SH address.

If you've submitted using a Gmail address more than seven weeks ago [I originally said five here, but on further thought seven makes more sense, as we're a bit behind on responses], I recommend that you check your junk mail, and if there's no response there, then query immediately. If you have a non-Gmail email address where we can reach you, please provide us with that.

And if you've queried but haven't heard back from us, please check your junk mail, and if there's no response there, then please query again, ideally from a non-Gmail address.

And if you're about to submit to us, consider using a non-Gmail email address if possible.

Also, if you do find any SH correspondence in your junk mail, please mark it as non-spam, so that Gmail will have some evidence that mail from us isn't spam. (I'm not certain that will help, but it can't hurt.)

It's extremely frustrating. There's one author who we've sent about four responses to over the past three weeks, in response to queries, but apparently all of the mail we send her is being discarded by Gmail, so she's not receiving our responses.

I'm very unhappy about this whole situation. Will try to resolve it as quickly as possible, but we've responded to over two hundred submissions from Gmail addresses in the past two months, and I'm beginning to suspect that almost all of those responses have just disappeared into the ether.


Just letting you know that the correspondance you sent me from the fiction@ address didn't even end up in the spam folder: I'm quite sure of this, I check it daily. It simply vanished.

That really hurts. I ran into the inverse problem--an editor using gmail to receive submissions was not getting mine, repeatedly. The problem went away a few days ago, but hard to judge if it's a hiccup that it's working or the hiccup that it wasn't...

Yep. I sifted through my Trash folder (not Spam, oddly) on a whim one day and found a response from Strange Horizons there - it had been there almost a month, and would have been deleted forever if I had waited much longer. I hope it gets resolved - I wonder how it happened in the first place?

Sara: Thanks for letting me know—I had been wondering whether Gmail was marking stuff as spam or simply discarding it. And I'm sorry again that the various messages to you didn't reach you. ...Given Christie's later comment, could you check your Trash folder and see if any of the messages ended up there?

Kaolin: Sorry to hear that, too. I hate to say this about a product made by the company I work for, but Gmail is confirming my worst fears about relying on a fully automated spam-removal system. (My email application occasionally marks a submission as spam, but I can search through the spam folder and find any wayward submissions.) Then again, email in general has become much less reliable in recent years than it used to be.

Christie: That's really weird—I can't imagine why Gmail would've automatically trashed your response. Thanks for the info; will pass that along to relevant people.

If you want to send an e-mail, any e-mail but one with similar content might show something different, to jrhett@netconsonance.com I'd be happy to look it over and see if there are spammy-related things you can fix to make the e-mail more likely to be accepted.

--this e-mail address doesn't go to gmail at all, and I can get debug output from the spam analysis tools, which is why I am offering ;-)

Thanks, Jo—I appreciate the offer, and may take you up on it. But the Gmail people didn't seem to see anything obviously spammy about the messages, and the problem appears to be specific to Gmail, so I'm guessing that spam analysis tools may not help much. Especially because we can't examine the actual messages that get rejected—only the copies of them that we CC ourselves.

Current status: the extent of the problem is not as large as I thought it was this morning; we've had some confirmed cases of our responses getting through to Gmail users. Also, we've added an SPF record, which I'm told should help.

So it's possible that things have been fixed now; keeping fingers crossed. But even so, I suspect there are still at least a couple dozen Gmail users who haven't received responses that we've sent them in the past two months or so.

Hi Jed,

There's nothing in my trash can from Strange Horizons. The earliest email that I found there was from July 20th.

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