Gmail is the real wtf



  • (sorry in advance if this has been posted before)

     So, after having some issues with our hosting provider I decided to move all of the company e-mails to Google Apps. Most of my coworkers access their email with Outlook setup to use POP3 to retrieve the messages and with the option to leave a copy of the message on the server activated, so that if they ever need to check a message and are not in the office they can just go to the Gmail website and everything is there. So it's all pretty standard so far.

    After about a day or two one of my coworkers who uses the same e-mail account on two computers complained that the messages where just being downloaded to either one of the computers. I double checked and both computers had the "leave message in server" option activated and the messages still showed up on the Gmail website meaning that they where still on the server. After searching for a bit i find a Gmail support article saying that in order to download messages on more than one client you've to use the recent mode, that means adding "recent:" to your username so myemail@gmail.com becomes recent:myemail@gmail.com. It's a bit odd but an easy fix, which solved the problem. Two minutes later my coworker calls me again, this time his sent messages where showing up  his inbox. I check his account on the Gmail website and yes Gmail was moving all his sent messages to the inbox. I search that Gmail support again and find that the solution is to... wait for it... disable recent mod. So if you want to check your e-mail on more than one computer using POP3 Gmail stops caring about folders and puts everything in the inbox. Notice that nowhere on the support article that instruct you to use recent mode does it say anything about this sort of side effects.

    You can work around the problem by either using IMAP or by setting filters on all the clients (setting filters on the Gmail website doesn't work) to automatically move all messages from "me" to the outbox, which I now have to do on 30+ computers (yay).

    I also found out that apparently, first Gmail doesn't follow the POP spec completely, second it doesn't use any folders to store the messages, all the messages are in the same place but are labeled as either received or sent (or whatever), and third this issue is caused by the stupid conversation view that Google uses but disabling it doesn't work.

    Finally I just now realized that there is no way to contact anyone at Google/Gmail when you've an issue, theres no support e-mail or phone number (unless you're a paying costumer). The only option is to post on the Gmail support forums but it has so many new topics per minute that they all end up getting unanswered. So worst support ever!

    I don't get why they won't just follow the POP spec like every other e-mail provider, there's no need to keep trying to reinvent the wheel specially not when it has worked as intended for years!



  • Just a short question: What exactly is the problem with IMAP? I mean, what with you letting the messages lie around on the server anyway, and all.

    Also: You get what you pay for. Company e-mails on a free server? And you complain about the lack of support? Heh.



  • @Rhywden said:

    Just a short question: What exactly is the problem with IMAP? I mean, what with you letting the messages lie around on the server anyway, and all.
    Also: You get what you pay for. Company e-mails on a free server? And you complain about the lack of support? Heh.
    You mean to tell me that the Gmail team isn't going to take my feature requests seriously?!  :(



  • The POP3 bug is indeed valid, but I also have to wonder why you're not just using IMAP. I wager Google hasn't fixed it because they're just saying, "who the shit uses POP3 anymore? It's 2012."



  • 1) Read POP3 spec.

    2) Realize that what you want to do is why IMAP was created

    3) Use IMAP

    4) delete this stupid post before to many people realize how dumb you are.

     



  • @Rhywden said:

    Just a short question: What exactly is the problem with IMAP? I mean, what with you letting the messages lie around on the server anyway, and all.

    Also: You get what you pay for. Company e-mails on a free server? And you complain about the lack of support? Heh.
     

     The reason for not using IMAP is mostly out of habit, most of my coworkers are used to the way POP works, switching to IMAP would probably melt their brains. I have a couple of colleagues that use IMAP and they're constantly bitching about it, mostly because of the apparent slowness of IMAP (our Internet connection is a p.o.s. 12M/521K ADSL, being shared by 30+ people, another long story...). And most of them don't really need full synchronization they just need to have the received messages on the server for the odd chance that they need to check them when out of the office, in this case IMAP would be a bit overkill.

    And there's nothing wrong with putting company emails on a free server considering that on our previous paid services, the first was always (as in every week) getting the server IP listed on spam lists and the other eventually suspended one of our domains without warning because they couldn't secure their servers properly and one of our e-mail addresses was used to spam some Chinese website with 200000+ messages in a single day (how can they let a single account send 200000 messages in a day?) And I'm only using Gmail for the smaller domains (Gmail Apps is only free for 10 accounts or less), nothing critical, the others are in process of moving to a hopefully better paid service. But I expected at least an e-mail address that could be used to tell them "look, Gmail, dude, I love you and all, but I don't like that you keep screwing around with POP, just leave it alone".

     Anyway, none of that invalidates the fact that what they do with POP is just retarded. Also they call it a feature for some reason.



  • @Sarcarsm said:

    1) Read POP3 spec.

    2) Realize that what you want to do is why IMAP was created

    3) Use IMAP

    4) delete this stupid post before to many people realize how dumb you are.

     


     

     

    Stop being an arrogant prick. The option to leave the message on the server is a client option, if Gmail implemented POP properly like every other mail provider there wouldn't be any issues. Also this happens even if you don't use the option to keep the message on the server. Just try to use the recent mode and you will still get the sent messages on your Inbox, i don't see how that has anything to do with IMAP.



  • @BaRRaKID said:

    Stop being an arrogant prick.
    Why?  Being a humble nice guy isn't nearly as funny or inflammatory...



  • @BaRRaKID said:

    i don't see how that has anything to do with IMAP.

    Err...because one of its reasons for being is to solve the problem you're having working around a bug at your email host? Your other WTFs may prevent it from being a reasonable solution for you, but that doesn't change your POP3 reliance to being non-WTF.



  •  It really is more fun.

     

    You seem to know very little about mail providers. Please name one that implements POP3 correctly (here is a hint, none of them do). Furthermore, if they implemented the spec correctly, what you want to do would not be possible, as the mail could not be left on the host server.

    POP3 is an antiquated protocol that has limited use today. IMAP is a far better protocol and can do exactly what you are describing that you want.

    I am afraid you are going to have to explain how a one time per machine setup (changing pop3 to imap) would utterly confuse your coworkers. It is a one-time setup and than everything else would work as it does now (well, not exactly, obviously they would only see the emails that they want to see, not the sent ones).



  • The slowness is likely do to how they have their IMAP setup, likely they have it setup in fetch headers only mode. In this you obviously pull down only the headers the first time, it is not until you want to view the message itself that it is pulled down. On a slower connection this can making reading your emails a lot slower. You can change it to fetch all mode, which while will obviously bring down the entire email. The initial download speed will be the same for both clients (or very similar IMAP does have a tiny bit more overhead) but once its down local viewing will be the same.



  • Yeah, I'm with everyone else on this. The problem you're having is exactly what was solved with IMAP. And it seems strange that your co-workers would be more confused by IMAP than POP. I would think most users with no knowledge of how email works would expect to be able to read any email no matter what computer they're using.



  • I'm with you guys, too. Stop using POP3. Any POP3 connector must be uninstalled on-the-spot!

    TRWTF: "The reason for not using IMAP is mostly out of habit, most of my coworkers are used to the way POP works, switching to IMAP would probably melt their brains."

    If other people are bitching about IMAP due to slow Internet connection, then they should also be bitching about using webmail. If that is so, rent a faster internet connection, please!



  • @BaRRaKID said:

     The reason for not using IMAP is mostly out of habit, most of my coworkers are used to the way POP works, switching to IMAP would probably melt their brains. I have a couple of colleagues that use IMAP and they're constantly bitching about it, mostly because of the apparent slowness of IMAP (our Internet connection is a p.o.s. 12M/521K ADSL, being shared by 30+ people, another long story...). And most of them don't really need full synchronization they just need to have the received messages on the server for the odd chance that they need to check them when out of the office, in this case IMAP would be a bit overkill.

     

    Okay, a few things:

    - If your users/co-workers have to do anything with the protocol in order to get their mails, you are doing something wrong. Idealy all you should need to do is change about two strings within your favorite mail-client. How does one even "get used to the way POP works"? If you are an average user IMAP = POP + keep E-Mails on Server.

    - If you complain about protocol overhead in your Internet connection for anything that is not HTTP you are doing it wrong. (Discounting specialized usecases).

     

     



  • Also:

    • It is true that POP3 clients have the option to "leave mails on the server", which is also very dangerous, because it is usually off by default. On regular POP3-servers, this means, that if you forget to set that option, after the first synchronisation run, your server-side inbox will be empty. This is precisely why Gmail has introduced a server-side configuration for that purpose. Check your POP/IMAP settings in your gmail account. It's enlightening, how useful these things can be. There is no need to bother about the client-side configuration at all.
    • POP3 also can't deal with folder structures and can only transport messages from the server-side inbox. Folder structures created by the user and maintained with considerable effort, be it manually or by defining filters, will never reflect the label structures on the server-side, if both systems are meant to be used alternatively, even if the same or similar filters can be defined within gmail as well. This is an important advantage of using IMAP instead.
    • If POP3 is used from different sources to download mails from the same server, it can't transport information about which mails have been read and which ones haven't. Another reason why IMAP was invented.
    • POP3 only makes sense as a means of backing up the server-side inbox. And that is about it.


  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    @BaRRaKID said:

    Stop being an arrogant prick.
    Why?  Being a humble nice guy isn't nearly as funny or inflammatory...

    And if we were humble nice guys we wouldn't be here.

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @C-Octothorpe said:

    @BaRRaKID said:

    Stop being an arrogant prick.
    Why?  Being a humble nice guy isn't nearly as funny or inflammatory...

    And if we were humble nice guys we wouldn't be here.

     

    Yes, we would. Look at me! (there are at least some, but then I'm rarely around...)



  • @boomzilla said:

    @BaRRaKID said:
    i don't see how that has anything to do with IMAP.

    Err...because one of its reasons for being is to solve the problem you're having working around a bug at your email host? Your other WTFs may prevent it from being a reasonable solution for you, but that doesn't change your POP3 reliance to being non-WTF.

    He basically admitted his POP3 reliance is a "we've always done it this way" thing. If you ever find yourself doing something out of "habit", please leave the industry and start digging ditches for a living. Thank you.



  • @Rhywden said:

    You get what you pay for. Company e-mails on a free server? And you complain about the lack of support? Heh.

    Even paying customers don't get much support from Google. Google Apps is down? Check the blogs or forums to see latest official communications and estimated time to repair.



  • @TheRider said:

    POP3 only makes sense as a means of backing up the server-side inbox. And that is about it.
     

    Why would you use pop3 for that? Can't you just tell the client to "download anything" and "keep copy for offline reading". That seems to be a much better way to do a backup.

     



  • Not sure if serious... 8)



  • @mt@ilovefactory.com said:

    @TheRider said:

    POP3 only makes sense as a means of backing up the server-side inbox. And that is about it.
     

    Why would you use pop3 for that? Can't you just tell the client to "download anything" and "keep copy for offline reading". That seems to be a much better way to do a backup.

     

    I tried to point out, but may not have made that point clear enough, that POP3 is only useful for backing up the inbox. If, as, I assume, usually, there are more folders/labels than just an inbox, you are, of course, screwed with just POP3. The backup thing was actually supposed to be sarcastic.



  • Agreed, POP3 + leave-mails-on-server = fail.

    I recently upgraded/reconfigured a dovecot server, and ended up having to go fix everyones' Outlooks, as they were all using non-SSL POP3.. derp

     



  • I'd like to rate this 5 stars, not in favour of the OP, but for the WTF of complaining that a webmail service doesn't implement POP3 correctly. I mean, does that even make sense? If you want a dumb mailbox service with no folder hierarchy, why would you look to a webmail provider for that in the first place? Hasn't webmail always been IMAP-based or better – has anyone ever seen a webmail facility that's nothing but a dumb inbox?

    And then moan about how you can't represent a modern tag system in POP3 … I mean, you can't even correctly represent a tagged mail system in an IMAP folder hierarchy either, but you can come close enough, but POP3 is a joke now.

    Mailbox sharing, though, doesn't seem to be very well supported. At least Outlook 2010 finally allows users to have two or more Exchange mailboxes configured at once, instead of the abhorrent mess that was multiple mailbox support in previous versions. Outlook 2010 even almost manages to get IMAP working correctly as well. By whatever definition of "working" can ever be applied to the fossilised heap that is IMAP anyway.



  • @SpComb said:

    Agreed, POP3 + leave-mails-on-server = fail.

    I recently upgraded/reconfigured a dovecot server, and ended up having to go fix everyones' Outlooks, as they were all using non-SSL POP3.. derp

     

    Was it at least on an internal network?



  • @SpComb said:

    I recently upgraded/reconfigured a dovecot server
     

    A dovecot update broke my IMAP server, twice.

    Both times when I was abroad (in the States) and I actually needed IMAP to be working for squirrelmail.

    After the second time, I ditched it and moved to courier.

    Just sayin', like. This was Fedora.



  • @TheRider said:

    If, as, I assume, usually, there are more folders/labels than just an inbox, you are, of course, screwed with just POP3.
    You, seem, to, be, very, fond, of, using, commas,



  • @Anonymouse said:

    @TheRider said:

    If, as, I assume, usually, there are more folders/labels than just an inbox, you are, of course, screwed with just POP3.
    You, seem, to, be, very, fond, of, using, commas,

    Yes. And my commas had the advantage of being grammatically correct. :-)



  • @TheRider said:

    @Anonymouse said:

    @TheRider said:

    If, as, I assume, usually, there are more folders/labels than just an inbox, you are, of course, screwed with just POP3.
    You, seem, to, be, very, fond, of, using, commas,

    Yes. And my commas had the advantage of being grammatically correct. :-)

    The one after "as" and "usually" are certainly wrong. And probably the one after "inbox".

    "If, as I assume, usually there are more folders/labels than just an inbox you are, of course, screwed with just POP3."

    Much better. If you ever pull the "you are, of course" construct, don't put a comma before "you are", it's just weird and jerky and sounds wrong. I guess other people might have their own opinion on that one, but I'm right.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    "If, as I assume, usually there are more folders/labels than just an inbox you are, of course, screwed with just POP3."
     

    nnnehhh... now it's like you left out "that" between "inbox" and "you are", like is common in English*, and then you imply that the recipient of the sentence is, in fact, an inbox comp'rable to the described multifolder situation.

    To wit and summarize: if the comma is not there, you are running the risk of absurd ambiguity.

     

     

     

    *) I refer to: "The things you did." vs "The things that you did."



  • @dhromed said:

    nnnehhh... now it's like you left out "that" between "inbox" and "you are", like is common in English*, and then you imply that the recipient of the sentence is, in fact, an inbox comp'rable to the described multifolder situation.

    To wit and summarize: if the comma is not there, you are running the risk of absurd ambiguity.

    Well give me a break, it was an awkward sentence to start with and only douchebags use "you are, of course" because the "of course" doesn't actually mean anything other than "the person typing this is a douchebag."

    That said, the first lesson to learn about grammar is that there's a hundred different ways to do everything. I like my way. I don't like commas. I try to avoid them.

    PROTIP: Other things that read as "the person typing this is a douchebag":
    1) "I, for one"
    2) Sentences starting with "Actually,"
    3) Sentences starting with "Uhm,"

    If you start a sentence like, "Uhm, actually, I, for one, like eating dog food" we're legally required to kill you.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    If you start a sentence like, "Uhm, actually, I, for one, like eating dog food" we're legally required to kill you.
     

    You could like fill actual douche bags with some momentous material and beat the snot out of that person.



  • Ugh, rewrite … is there a way to make Firefox ignore all no-cache headers? I don't want to block caching, just block the no-cache headers.

    The missing word between "inbox" and "you are" is "then": "… than just an inbox then you are, of course, screwed …"

    The first sentence, now that I'm re-reading it, is just too broken. It doesn't make any sense at all in its current or "corrected" form.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    The missing word between "inbox" and "you are" is "then": "… than just an inbox then you are, of course, screwed …"
     

    What is your intent with this statement, and to whom is it directed?



  • @dhromed said:

    What is your intent with this statement, and to whom is it directed?

    To you, in reply to 'nnnehhh... now it's like you left out "that" between "inbox" and "you are"'.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    PROTIP: Other things that read as "the person typing this is a douchebag":

    1) "I, for one"

    2) Sentences starting with "Actually,"

    3) Sentences starting with "Uhm,"

    This is a very good list. Every once in a while at work, I'm copied on a intensely passive-aggressive email that ends with a smiley face. My opinions of the sender is sealed as soon as I see it.

    Combining these, and spicing it with a personal pet peeve, we get something such as
    "Uhm, actually, I, for one, think you're a douchebag, brah :)"



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @dhromed said:

    What is your intent with this statement, and to whom is it directed?

    To you, in reply to 'nnnehhh... now it's like you left out "that" between "inbox" and "you are"'.

     

    I already knew.

    I was making.

    A joke.

    Hee

    Hee

    Hee

     


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