Re: Tagging messages sometimes causes them to be marked as old

Subject: Re: Tagging messages sometimes causes them to be marked as old

Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2023 14:41:59 +0200

To: David Bremner


From: Andreas Kusalananda Kähäri

On Fri, Sep 01, 2023 at 12:16:58PM +0000, David Bremner wrote:
> Andreas Kusalananda Kähäri <> writes:
> > What's so special about the new tags that I'm adding that makes the
> > unread messages move from "new" to "cur"?  I can *see* them getting
> > moved when I run the tagging.  Why is notmuch moving them?  The "unread"
> > tag never changes.
> >
> > 	$ ls "$notmuch_dbdir"/abc/INBOX/new
> > 	1693487404_0.62384.harpo.local,U=352958,FMD5=7e33429f656f1e6e9d79b29c3f82c57e:2,
> > 	1693488604_2.29495.harpo.local,U=352962,FMD5=7e33429f656f1e6e9d79b29c3f82c57e:2,
> > 	1693488604_4.29495.harpo.local,U=352964,FMD5=7e33429f656f1e6e9d79b29c3f82c57e:2,
> > 	1693488604_5.29495.harpo.local,U=352965,FMD5=7e33429f656f1e6e9d79b29c3f82c57e:2,
> Apparently this is intended behaviour (from test/
>     test_begin_subtest "Message in new with maildir info is moved to cur on any tag change"
>     add_message [filename]='message-with-info-to-be-moved-to-cur:2,' [dir]=new
>     notmuch tag +anytag id:$gen_msg_id
>     output=$(cd "$MAIL_DIR"; ls */message-with-info-to-be-moved-to-cur*)
>     test_expect_equal "$output" "cur/message-with-info-to-be-moved-to-cur:2,"
> That behaviour is about 10 years old. It seems to be based on the idea
> that files in new/ should not have maildir info. According to the
> standard [1] (such as it is)
>         When you move a file from new to cur, you have to change its
>         name from uniq to uniq:info. Make sure to preserve the uniq
>         string, so that separate messages can't bump into each other.
> So in a sense notmuch is "fixing" the maildir. Whether that intervention
> is needed notmuch to work correctly, I'm not sure.
> I'd be a bit nervous about changing such an established behaviour of
> notmuch, but I guess can't completely rule it out without knowing what
> would break.
> Maybe you can convince whatever puts files in new/ not to add :2, ?
> [1]:

Thanks for the explanation.  It's offlineimap that puts the files in
"new" and it seems to add them with the ":2," suffix.

I don't think I can change this behaviour in offlineimap.

However, note that I have a "post-new" hook for notmuch which already
adds certain tags to messages.  I'll include it again (was part of my
initial message to the list):


tr -s '\t' ' ' <<'TAG_BATCH' | notmuch tag --batch
+inbox          -- folder:/INBOX/
+sent           -- folder:/Sent/
+trash          -- folder:/Trash/
-archive        -- not folder:/Archive/
-junk           -- not folder:/Junk/
-unsorted       -- not folder:/Unsorted/

This hook does not cause any issues for me, and the newly delivered
mesages are still in "new" after it has run.  It does not matter if I
run the hook manually or if it is run automatically by notmuch.

Running "notmuch tag" as I showed in a previous message then moves the
mesages to the "cur" directory.

What I also noted in my initial mail was that if I add the extra tagging
*to the hook script*, the issue appears.  It is as if using a "path:" or
"folder:" query that matches a directory that is not a maildir causes
the messages to be moved from "new" to "cur".

I store mails in five account subdirectories under the "~Mail/inboxes"
top-level directory (the notmuch database.path directory).  An account
subdirectory may contain several maildirs, such as "INBOX".  The
offending tagging all tries to match directory names (account names)
directly under "~Mail/inboxes".

Andreas (Kusalananda) Kähäri
SciLifeLab, NBIS, ICM
Uppsala University, Sweden

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