Stupid mail header tricks.. that backfire

I have been using mutt as my mailreader of choice for years, and I have customised it a lot to work like I want. So my .muttrc has grown to a respectable size.

One of the things I use is custom header lines. A while ago I added the following:

my_hdr X-Warning: May contain traces of nuts
The origin of this lies in a running joke on a holiday in 2001 about a lot of food in the UK having a warning label 'May contain traces of nuts'. (Yes, I am very aware of people with real allergies for nuts who need those warning labels.. the amusing fact was going from not seeing labels about nuts like that in the Netherlands to the UK where even chocolate bars with hazelnuts had that warning label).

So, all my outgoing mail had an X-Warning header. Once, someone I mailed remarked that the 'X-Warning' triggered some virus scan software so he found the mail in 'rejected' instead of in his own mailbox.

Ages later, I got mail from a publisher about The Virtual Bookcase. They asked if I was interested in receiving a book for review. Yes I was interested! So I mailed back.. nothing. A few months later I mailed again because I was trying to get publishers interested in the site. Still no reply. A week later in a discussion about mailheaders on irc the light suddenly went on in my mind (so to speak) and I mailed again, this time without the 'X-Warning' header. Within 20 minutes I had a reply from the publisher. They had never seen my previous messages.

So, the moral of this story: don't play too much with your mailheaders. It might backfire.

If you have ever expected mail from me you never got and you're behind a somewhat strict mail virus scanner then this might be the reason. My apologies.

Back to my homepage