#1643 new
Hongyi Li

tagged emails do not show up in smart mailbox

Reported by Hongyi Li | January 17th, 2017 @ 05:15 AM

I synchronize my email (Fastmail, IMAP) on two computers, and I use mailmate on both.

If I tag some emails with a new tag (e.g., "WorkingPapers") on one computer, the tagged emails do not always show up in the appropriate smart mailbox on the other computer.

Please see the attached screenshot from Computer 2.
- I tagged four emails with "WorkingPapers" on Computer 1 - I then tagged one email with "WorkingPapers" on Computer 2 - On Computer 2, the first four emails do not show up in the Tagged::WorkingPapers smart subfolder (so, it is not just the count that is wrong). But they show up in the WorkingPapers smart folder that I created. - Notice that the total count in the Tagged smart folder includes the 4 emails (95 = 9+81+5). But somehow they do not show up in the Tagged::WorkingPapers subfolder.

I have experienced this behavior with other tags as well. It seems that the client updates the count at some subsequent time which seems random to me.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Hongyi Li

    Hongyi Li January 17th, 2017 @ 05:16 AM

    It seems that I can't upload attachments -- lighthouse says "upload quota reached \ please notify the account owner." So I'll send an email instead.

  • benny

    benny January 17th, 2017 @ 01:09 PM

    Sorry about the quota issue.

    When this happens, do you then see the tagged email in the “Tagged” parent mailbox? I've got a report on a similar issue and I'd like to figure out if this is the same problem.

    Can you reliably reproduce this issue?

    If you enable the “Raw Flags” message list column, can you then see the IMAP keyword of the tag (e.g., in the Inbox or whereever these emails are located)?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hongyi Li

    Hongyi Li January 17th, 2017 @ 07:29 PM

    Q1: Yes, I see the tagged email in the “Tagged” parent mailbox.

    Q2: So far, it is 2 out of 2. I will report back shortly with further tests.

    Q3: I’ll have to check at my other computer. But in the previous incidents, for the emails in question, (i) the four emails had the “WorkingPapers” keyword ticked in the Tag toolbar item, (ii) the “WorkingPapers” tag showed up in the header list view. So I imagine the answer would be yes.

    I also sent a follow-up email about the following observation:

    • It seems that editing the smart mailbox (e.g., switching the sub mailbox condition from “Tags” to “Tags / Keywords”, then back again) fixes the problem. So I imagine that the problem is related to some refresh trigger for the smart mailbox.
  • Hongyi Li

    Hongyi Li January 17th, 2017 @ 11:51 PM


    OK, even weirder behavior to report regarding this issue.

    Using Computer 2, I relabelled all my tagged emails with new tags to conform with the $xxx0 convention. So the "WorkingPapers" tag was removed, and the "$WorkingPapers0$" tag was added to the same emails.

    At Computer 1,

    • all the new tags (and none of the old tags) show up in "Raw Flags".

    • also, the new tags show up in the "tag" toolbar item after adding the appropriate tags in "Tag Preferences".

    • however: they do not appear in the "tags" field of the individual emails' header list. i.e., each email is shown as not having any tags in the headers list.

    • further, the "tags" smart mailbox does not show any emails (i.e., is empty).

    What fixes the problem?

    • toggling the definition of the "tags" smart mailbox does not fix the problem. After fiddling with it, the smart mailbox remains empty.

    • randomly quitting and restarting mail mate worked after a couple of times. I'm not sure why it worked the second time but not the first.

  • Hongyi Li

    Hongyi Li January 19th, 2017 @ 08:36 AM


    Just FYI, I have reproduced (twice) the behavior reported in the post starting "OK, even weirder behavior to report regarding this issue".

  • benny

    benny January 19th, 2017 @ 08:50 AM

    I'm not sure what the $xxx0 convention is. Personally I would avoid prefixing anything with $. I consider them reserved for keywords to be used for some shared (between email clients) meaning, e.g., $Junk. I don't think they are stated as reserved in the IMAP RFC, but I think I saw something like that in another RFC...

    Ah, here it is:

       Keywords intended for "common use" SHOULD start with the "$" prefix.
       (Note that this is a SHOULD because some of the commonly used IMAP
       keywords in widespread use don't follow this convention.)
       IMAP keywords intended for "common use" SHOULD be standardized in
       IETF Review [RFC5226] documents.  (Note that IETF Review documents
       still require Expert Review.)

    But I don't think that has anything to do with your issue.

    My first attempt to reproduce your issue failed (I tried to stress-test MailMate by making tag-related changes from another device). Just in case, it has something to do with the naming of tags then please provide me with the following file:

    ~/Library/Application Support/MailMate/Tags.plist

    (Just to be clear, I'm convinced there is 1 or more problems, but I haven't been able to reliably reproduce anything yet.)

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hongyi Li

    Hongyi Li January 19th, 2017 @ 09:56 AM

    OK, this is embarrassing ...

    I misunderstood how tags are supposed to work in your system.

    I had thought that emails with (tags newly created in Computer 1) would automatically show up in the tags smart folder in Computer 2.

    I realize now that the tags smart folder relies on my definitions of tags in the preferences.

    So, please ignore or delete my last two posts (which I've added "EDIT: PLEASE IGNORE THIS POST").

    I believe the issue I highlighted in my initial post still holds. I'll report back if I can reproduce it.

  • benny

    benny January 19th, 2017 @ 09:58 AM

    No problem. You can blame the documentation :) (And it's a popular request that tags should automatically synchronize between installs.)

    My remarks are unchanged. I'd still like the Tags file. Especially if you can reproduce the issue or it just happens fairly often.

  • Hongyi Li

    Hongyi Li January 19th, 2017 @ 10:11 AM

    By the way: the current system, where tags have to be manually added for each mailmate client, seems quite cumbersome.

    In particular, if I have a large number of different tags, I might not even be able to reproduce the list of tags from memory.

    (I realize that I can simply copy tags.plist over, but that's a bit clunky.)

    Now, I insist on giving you my two cents about how tags should be implemented:

    • Allow the user to define a custom format for tags. e.g., "tag:XXX" or "##XXX##". You can also include a default for the indecisive user.

    • The user can create a smart mailbox that performs a regex for all IMAP keywords with the custom format. (and create subfolders thereof.)

    • (By the way, currently you don't allow smart mailboxes for "keyword // contains // ..."; only for "tag // contains //...". Why not?)

    • Tags preferences are now fully defined by the custom format.

    • In particular, with a new mailmate client, I simply have to specify the custom format and all tags appear automagically. No need to manually re-add tags one by one.

    • This allows user to exploit tag smart mailboxes to access keywords defined by other email systems as well, e.g., if another email client uses keywords (with custom format) for snoozing emails, I can find such emails using a smart mailbox.

    • Optional feature: when adding a tag, I simply enter the tag name: Mailmate auto-formats and adds the custom formatting.

  • Hongyi Li

    Hongyi Li January 19th, 2017 @ 10:15 AM

    OK — I’ve attached my plist file here. But I should warn you that I’ve been fiddling with Tags all day, so likely all traces of the problem are gone by now.

  • Seamus

    Seamus February 26th, 2020 @ 03:39 PM

    I have the same (or very similar) issue. I found a way to reliably reproduce it on a single computer:

    1. Set up view with both Tags column and Raw Flags column
    2. Create a tag, and tag a few messages.
    3. Remove the tag from the tag list in preferences
      Tag is still visible in both columns
    4. Quit and reopen mailmate
      Tag is only visible in Raw Flags column, as expected
    5. Redefine the tag in preferences
      Tag remains only visible in Raw Flags column
    6. Quit and reopen mailmate
      Tag is now visible in both columns again, as expected

    The visibility of the Tag in the Tags column matches it being in the right sub-mailboxes etc.

    What I would like is the tag column to be 'refreshed' after an update to the Tags in Preferences or the Tag Editor, without having to quit.

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