Hit 'Delete spam' and lose all your mail

Found a serious/minor bug in PopTray? Tell me about it.

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Roelof
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Hit 'Delete spam' and lose all your mail

Post by Roelof » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:20 am

I'm not sure if this is a bug in Poptray (I use version 3.2) but I encountered some odd behaviour.

On one of my email accounts I have set up a filter (rule). Using the 'status' of a particular email I mark everything as spam that is not protected. So basically everything is spam unless it is on my whitelist.

This seems to work just fine. The unwanted mail is marked as spam, the others have the green icon. But - when I click on the button to delete the spam, *everything* is deleted. Including the legitimate mail. And this is not a one time glitch, it has happened to me on several occasions. I have lost three consecutive newsletters as a result.

Now the cause of this problem could lie on the server. It has had its quirks in the past. But the 'delete' command comes from Poptray, I would say. That aside, a quick search revealed that this problem has been reported before, on more than one occasion. Obviously a solution has not been found yet. Suggestions, anyone?

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Post by Rdsok » Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:09 am

Try enabling the Safe Delete option on the Misc options tab ... this way if the server renumbers the emails it should help protect against the wrong emails getting deleted.

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Post by Roelof » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:17 am

Thanks for your reply; tried it but it didn't work. Again everything is deleted, the same way as before. I had 31 messages, 30 of which were marked as spam. I hit 'delete spam' and everything was gone. The message in the bottom left corner said '1 message deleted' which leads me to think the 30 spam mails were deleted first, and then in a directly following second action the one remaining valid mail was deleted.

Whatever the cause, to me this sucks big time. I had almost written off this email account because of the amount of spam it receives, until I started using Poptray. I thought using the whitelist and deleting all others would solve my problem. And now this simple and elegant solution doesn't work.

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Post by Rdsok » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:52 am

As a test...

Assume your new rule may be to blame... disable it and create one that is more targeted at just the spam itself to mark it as spam... then see what happens using a different rule.

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Post by Roelof » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:36 am

I can't even get that to work. For testing purposes I defined a rule that should mark everything as spam:
[subject] [wildcard] [*]
I left New Messages Only unchecked; action to be taken Mark As Spam.

However, none of the mails presently in my inbox gets marked as spam.

Maybe I have to wait for new mail to arrive. But what's with the New Messages Only then? I thought leaving that option unchecked would make Poptray recheck all messages and apply any new rule to them.

Besides, I can't see why the old rule would be the culprit. The rule worked fine. It did what I wanted it to do. There was only a problem when I tried to delete the mails marked as spam.

But allright, we're troubleshooting here so we should leave all options open I guess.

Thanks for your time.

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Post by Roelof » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:09 am

Well, it's 24 hrs later and I got some new emails. According to the new rule I set these were all marked as spam (and in fact they *were* all spam). So I hit Delete Spam. The new mails were all deleted, as they should. The older mails with no special mark were left alone. As it should.

Now the question remains, how could several protected (whitelisted) mails get deleted, as I described earlier?

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Post by Rdsok » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:20 pm

Try using the blacklist to do this... *@spammer.com would be a wildcard for all senders at that domain... *@* should blacklist all and the whitelist should still over-rule it. .... Well if the whitelist itself isn't corrupted and is using proper email address's of course

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Post by Roelof » Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:37 am

Blacklisting is not an option. Spammers forge the sender's address and pick addresses from huge databases. Sender's addresses are almost never identical; I just checked forty spam mails and almost all senders were different. Some even had my own email address as the sender. Senders change on a daily base. I think they have some clever system that picks a different address every time. For me that would lead to a blacklist up the wazoo and still get lots of spam because the next day new addresses are being used. Not to mention the amount of work that would be involved.

Blacklisting all with *@*, well that is about what I started with, only I did that with a rule. Simply blacklisting all would work on my other email accounts too and that would not be good. Counter-whitelisting is not possible as I have several accounts that receive comments from my websites and blogs. And I can't whitelist a person who has never written to me before.

Of course I appreciate your effort and the suggestions you made, but these workarounds are making things too complicated for me. I just want to get the legitimate mail on this particular account and dump the spam without ever having to see it. It looked like Poptray could do that job, but apparently I was wrong. I will give it some time to see if any new ideas pop up. If not I will look for something else and uninstall Poptray.

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Post by Rdsok » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:58 am

You missed one very important point... the whitelist overrides the blacklist... so if you blacklist all email address's... then whitelist the ones you have already approved... you are preforming something similar to what the rule was but in a different manner.

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Post by Rdsok » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:33 pm

Oh almost forgot this part... if you do try the above suggestion.. set the option to mark the blacklist as spam only so you are given time to preview the emails first

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Post by Roelof » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:06 am

Thanks again for your suggestions... But now we're back to square one. The only difference is, I used a rule on that specific email account. Now we're using the blacklist which effects all accounts. I can't see why that would be better. How will clicking 'delete spam' now, result in correctly deleting the unwanted mail?

Also I will have to deal with false positives. As I said earlier, several of my accounts receive mail consisting of comments on my sites. As most of these are from people I have never had any contact with, I cannot whitelist them and their mail will be marked as spam.

I'll just have to accept that Poptray does not delete spam correctly, at least not on all mail servers. The problem could also be caused by a badly configured server of course. I have no way of knowing if that is the case.

What I can do is try and see if the problem repeats itself on another account. I'll set it up (must find the addresses to be whitelisted first) and post the results here.

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Post by Rdsok » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:59 am

I provided an alternate method so you could test to see if it was your rule that was causing the trouble or not... apparently you aren't interested in even testing so I'll leave you to your own accord.

I know of no one else having this issue that wasn't caused by an error in the rule they made and I know I am not... good luck finding your own solution.

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Post by Roelof » Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:31 am

That sounds a little harsh, especially after thanking you on more than one occasion for your replies.

I just don't understand why there would be an error in the rule when all mail I want to be marked as spam *is* indeed marked as spam and the mail I want to protect *is* indeed marked as protected.

Anywho, I *am* interested in testing things out. I just want to rule out that a badly configured mailserver is to blame. In that case we could go on testing till we're blue in the face. It would just be a waste of time. So I'm already arranging the same setup on a different account. If the results are as they should be, than we can conclude the method I use is right and it's a badly configured mailserver. If things don't work out, I probably screwed up.

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Post by Roelof » Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:51 am

I've been experimenting with this a few times over the past weeks. I set up a rule for a different email account that was identical to the rule I set up earlier. Which means the method I use is whitelisting the senders I accept and marking everything else as spam. And it works perfectly. When I click 'delete spam' the spam, and only the spam, is deleted. And not every message is gone, like with the other account.

I think we have reached the following conclusions.

1) The problem is with the mail server. Bad configuration I suppose. Or configured in a way that Poptray doesn't know how to handle. Maybe Poptray cannot be expected to handle each and every server, I don't know. Other mail checkers have no problems with this particular server. On the other hand, I have about twenty email accounts (I operate a bunch of sites) and this is the only one that Poptray has a problem with.

2) Obviously this issue was not "caused by an error in the rule" after all. At least that is how I see it. But I've only been working with computers since 1983, so what do I know.

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