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Thread: GMail: Managing spam folder & false positives without a full 'Sort' function

  1. #1

    Default GMail: Managing spam folder & false positives without a full 'Sort' function


    Hope someone can help with this unexpected issue with GMail.

    Short Version:

    Given that GMail does not allow sorting by anything other than 'Received Date', has anyone found a way of managing the spam folder to find a small number of false positives amongst many, many 'true' spam messages.

    Have you found a way to do this using the web interface, or have you had to resort to using an external IMAP client? If so, which IMAP client have you found that works reliably with GMail?

    A longer description of the issue is at the end of this message.


    Long Version:

    I have quite a large number of email addresses which are currently all funnelled into a Yahoo mail account, which I access using Outlook 2007 via POP3. I also use Yahoo's webmail interface, particularly for managing the copious amounts of spam which I receive and the inevitable 'false positives' which end up in my spam folder.

    In Yahoo, management of the spam folder and looking for false positives is quite easy, as Yahoo provides a 'sort' facility. With a single click, I can sort all the emails from "Canadian Pharmacy" to be together, all the emails from "Online Casino Manager" to be together, etc. In this way, I can scan through my Yahoo spam folder very quickly and pick out, say, 5 false positives from amongst hundreds (if not thousands) of spam messages.

    One problem is that Yahoo Mail only supports POP3 access not IMAP - so working via an external email client like Outlook is fairly limited, particularly with regard to synchronising folders other than the Inbox. For this reason I am looking at changing to another mail hosting service - I'm considering and GMail.

    GMail is my favoured solution - but it has one major problem. Unlike Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, AOL etc etc, GMail does not allow sorting by 'Sender' or 'Subject'. Therefore trying to spot false positives in a mass of true spam messages arranged by time/date of receipt is very slow and difficult. For example: I have been away and offline for a while. My Yahoo Inbox is cc'ed to a Gmail account, and there are now over 3000 messages in the Gmail Spam folder. Amongst those 3000 messages I would be willing to bet that that there are probably at least 10 false positives - i.e. 'good' messages mis-classified as spam.

    I don't know who those 10 messages are from or what their Subject line is, but I will recognise one when I see it. Finding those 10 messages in Yahoo Mail would probably take no more than 10 minutes, using the "Sort by Sender" function. In Gmail it will take hours of tedious searching, scrolling, copying and pasting to "Find more like this" etc.

    So, Q1: Has anyone found a way round this purely using the web interface (as with Yahoo Mail)? This would be my preferred solution, as it would work when I am travelling (e.g. using a computer in an internet cafe, etc., without having to download an run an external email client)

    Q2: If the solution is to using an IMAP client to download the headers form the spam folder, then sort them by Sender, then scroll and identify the false positives and mark the remainder for deletion...have you found this to be a effective solution, and have you found an IMAP client which works reliably for this? I have been using Outlook 2007 and found that it often fails to synchronise with Gmail using IMAP to access the Spam folder (seems OK for the Gmail Inbox, for some reason).

    Q3. Are there any third party web-based services which interface to Gmail using IMAP to allow this to be done – i.e. log into an external services which then pulls IMAP headers from Gmail, allows them to be manipulated and then invokes the changes in Gmail itself.

    Q4. My preference is to use Gmail because of integration with other Google services. However, if I can’t find a solution to this spam management issue, any recommendations from other mail services? Any experience of / comments on (which I know uses MS Exchange protocol instead of IMAP, so may raise a whole load of issues itself).

    Many thanks.

  2. #2


    In Gmail if you hover over the sender name you can choose to find all emails from that sender. There is also a search feature at the top you can use to put in keywords to find all emails with those words...
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