Friday, March 14, 2008

Oh, dear. Gmail does not like the word "adult".

I use Gmail to collect my email from my work server. Hey, Google has more storage space than God; why not? But I have recently discovered that the Gmail spam filter does not like the word adult. As in young adult novel.

Oooops. Who knew Google was such a prude?

I just found about fifty or so queries tucked away nicely in my spam folder, all of them with the word adult in the subject line.

So just a word of caution: try not to put the word adult in the subject line of your query to me. Gmail might inadvertently eat your email.


S. E. Ward said...

That's... odd. Can you set up a counter-filter to stop it from automatically trashing anything with the word? You might get an increase in spam, but....

I suppose you could always set the filter to "young adult." Or just add something to your guidelines that asks people to use "YA" in the subject instead.

(I'm working, btw. Honest!)

Jeff said...

Yahoo filters out genuine emails and leaves Spam in my Inbox, so don't complain.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden said...

This may be just you. I just now used my Tor account to send mail to my GMail account with the subject line "young adult proposal", and it went to my GMail inbox without a problem.

One thing you can do with false positives in GMail is open them in the spam folder and click the "Not Spam" button that appears on top of the message. It's been a long time since I noticed GMail flagging any legit mail as spam, but if I recall correctly, it's pretty quick to "learn better" if you teach it.

Dan said...

I use my yahoo mail as my main account and my gmail for signing up with websites that want an email address, but long ago I got into the habit of cleaning out my spam folder with yahoo. I rarely get over a dozen in a day, so it doesn't take but a few seconds to glance over them and delete them.

I've caught all kinds of good stuff inside of my spam filter *including* emails from people I had previously received emails from just fine.

Patrick said...

Hm. I wonder if the query I sent you about w3bc@m vi @gra 4 less $$ might have gotten mistakenly listed as spam, too.

La Gringa said...


This didn't used to be a problem but your suggestions are good ones. I do find that Gmail "learns" quickly about what I do and don't want to see. For a free service, it's pretty nifty.

I guess I can't complain too much!