Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Censoring Email

In my ongoing struggle to get ALL of my email, I have finally discovered why some of it goes astray.  Background: I sign up for most things with my Gmail account, because I have changed ISPs several times and then I don't have to switch accounts if I change again.  From Gmail, I have everything forwarded to my current ISP account and deleted off of Gmail.  I then read my mail using the Mac Mail client. 

A few months back, I logged on to Gmail to change some parameters and I noticed that I had hundreds of bounced email messages.  Nearly all of them said that they were rejected because of the spam content in the messages.  Only they weren't spam.  They were from various groups that I subscribe to - on PURPOSE.  The weird thing was that some email from those groups got through just fine, but some of the posts were bounced back to Gmail as spam.

So, I contacted my ISP (Centurylink) and told them about the problem.  They traced it to a filter default that was supposed to filter out spam.  The rep then turned off the filter - and I thought things were going to be fine.

Only, I kept myself logged in to Gmail, in order to monitor it.  Sure enough, the bounced messages were reduced in number.  BUT, there were still some that were sent back to Gmail as spam.  WHY???  Finally, when messages from Gifted-Teachers and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum were bounced back, I decided I needed to contact Centurylink again. 

The rep I talked to wanted to blame all sorts of things.  Gmail, first of all.  But I patiently explained that the return message said that it was Centurylink's server that was rejecting the email, not Gmail.  Then, he tried to blame the way I read my mail.  It was too convoluted and that made it hard to trace the problem.  After explaining that it was working fine for most of my mail, even from the SAME senders, (and considerable arguing on my part), he finally gave up and sent the problem up a level. 

I got an answer yesterday.  Centurylink subscribes to a service that lists addresses that frequently have spam-related problems.  If a link to any of the black-listed sites is included in the email, then it is marked as spam and returned.  There is no way to "white-list" the sender.  It just is sent back. 

So, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and Gifted-Teachers list-serve, if you suspect that some of your messages aren't getting through to the subscribers, you may be correct, especially if they contain a significant number of links to other web sites. 

Annoying.  And I wouldn't have discovered this at all, if I hadn't had my "convoluted" way of reading my mail.  Now, I am wondering if some valid mail is also rejected by Gmail.  I don't have any way to see that.

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