Email threading dates confusing


I’m receiving feedback from my users that emails threading in specifically Gmail are rather confusing to follow. let’s make an example case:

1/1/19 I start a thread on our forum, an email notification goes out to mailing list users.
1/2/19 A user replies to that thread, triggering a new email notification to go out on that same email subject line.

However, that email notification sent on 1/2 still has the “sent date” as 1/1 because that’s when the thread started. This makes it sort lower in the inbox of users as topics that were only started more recently. It seems to be ignoring the “sent date” on new replies to a topic. Look at the following image from my user:

In this thread we are discussing on the thread titled “11/30 Discourse Update Tonight 2.2.0.beta5”

You see how it’s sorted lower in this user’s inbox because the date the thread ws started was 10/12/2019 even though the most recent reply in that thread is only a couple days old now.

Is there a Discourse setting that can help alleviate this? Is this something on on mail server side (mailgun), or is it a problem with how Gmail receives threads and out of our control?


Are you using Gmail with non default settings? I don’t see email threads grouping by title which is how it normally works in Gmail.

Oh wait there they are.

I’m not aware of any problems here, new replies to the topic will be delivered as new emails.

they’re arriving as new mails, yes, but the thread of mails is not grabbing the latest date so they don’t bump to the top above threads with newer start dates. So I’m not sure if Discourse is giving gmail the right info to update their mail threading.

Basically they’re sorting by start date, not latest reply.

I went through my own gmail’s settings in detail and see no options around how Gmail stacks its threading.

I cannot reproduce this at all - what dates do the messages show if you open the conversation?

What dates to the messages show if you turn off conversation view and search for those messages?


Interesting, i’ll ask and see if he can show us the view if the conversation is opened. Standby :slight_smile:

Update, with images:

What’s weird is that threads show it differently, sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly. Here is the thread that contains your answer - it sits on top of the Updates tab, as it just came in.

Taking another thread(still in conversation view) - Knight wheels feedback - with 7 responses: it sits in the “Forums” tab and shows up as Feb 11:

However, the last reply is a week later (still in conversation view)- the individual responses are correctly dated, though:

If I search for “lindstrom”, the same thread appears on 18 Feb:

Does that show what you were asking for Michael? If not we can get new images. Thanks for taking a look.


It does give me what I’m looking for, yes.

Given that gmail is giving you two conflicting pieces of information for a single conversation, this feels to me like a gmail problem. We are all aware of how often they make changes.

Perhaps this is a problem specific to the “Forums” view?


It is entirely possible this is out of our hands and nothing we can do. I was half thinking that before I even posted but hoped for your guys’ take since you obviously know the Discourse code and how it handles the outgoing mail and attaching those timestamps. I could maybe suggest the user disable the tabbing system in Gmail and see how it handles in just a plain inbox? but i’m not sure they will want to turn off their organization. I’ll throw it out to them.

There is nothing wacky on our end going on.

If the individual emails showed the wrong dates I would look to something in the code or setup, but all the evidence here points to the gmail interface.


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