Alarming number of spam false positives in Gmail

This morning, I was checking into some unfinished work on my side project, LiberWriter and  noticed that I hadn’t seen several emails.  I checked in Gmail’s spam folder and found around 15 emails that had been dumped there, without anything obviously wrong with them. Several were from customers wondering why they hadn’t heard anything from us.

Worried, I started digging further.  Here’s what I have found so far:

  • An email from the people at work regarding payments to me.  This is important stuff!
  • An important personal email.
  • Emails from JIRA at work.  I get a bunch of these every day; and while they are not high priority, not seeing them is potentially damaging for me and the company.
  • Several emails to the erlang-questions mailing list that were fairly typical and topical.
  • Update: I just found a large (10’s) of emails from the Apache Software Foundation.
  • Update 2: Another personal email, not that important, but not at all spammy.
  • Update 3: Numerous emails from the tcl-core and Postgres ‘general’ mailing lists.

Several of these things were pretty easy to search on, but I am now very worried that there may be many others which I am missing.  I do receive a lot of spam, and in the past, the Gmail team has done an excellent job of filtering things, which is why I have happily recommended it.  Google employs a lot of extremely intelligent and capable people, so the thought that they’re hard at work on the spam problem has always been a good one.

I don’t know what has changed though, but seeing all those emails discarded in spam gave me a bad scare and has got me really worried.  I live in email… and if I can’t trust it, I’m in big trouble.

Ironically, I am a paying customer of Google as of a few days ago, in order to have extra storage space.

Update 4: I got in touch with someone from Google, who said that there was indeed a problem and they are working to push a fix soon.  I’m really glad to hear that!