In Second Life, instant message (IM) capping has been the bane of many users who needed to keep in touch with their friends, collaborators and clients. This is why, even to this day, you see so many content creators’ profiles prompt you to send (titled) notecards instead of offline IMs.
However, Second Life offers you the option to receive offline messages and notifications in your email (as far as I know, this option is disabled by default). And indeed, many residents have chosen to do so, as it makes life so much easier. Especially content creators found that they could work in Blender, 3DS Max, AC3D, Photoshop, GIMP, whatever – and they could still communicate with their friends, collaborators and clients without needing to log in to the viewer. A very convenient, opt-in feature.
Also, many SL residents use Google’s services – Gmail, Google+, etc. – for complementing their avatar’s out-of-SL communications. So, as you can guess, they had connected their SL account with their Gmail address (either their main, RL one, or – as I and many others have done – a dedicated one that was specifically created for Second Life) and their offline messages and notifications would go to their inbox. But lately, as Prim Perfect reports, Google’s often heavy-handed automatic filters have decided that Linden Lab’s server that handles IM sending is a spam operation and so, offline messages from other residents are automatically sent to the spam bin.
Google’s spam filters generally do a good job of protecting our inboxes from being inundated with junk, but they are not completely free from false positives. This is precisely one of those times. Of course, this is not LL’s fault and I highly doubt it’s a deliberate act on Google’s behalf, so there’s no need for anyone to go up in arms. There are other, more effective steps one can take, i.e. set up a proper filter to keep our friends’, collaborators and clients’ offline messages from ending up in the spam bin.
How do you set up such a filter?
Personally, I believe most readers of this blog must have set up an email filter at some point in their lives. But even if you haven’t, it’s easier than one would think. Follow these simple steps:
- Log in to your Gmail account.
- Look at your screen – on the top right, there’s a button with a cogwheel icon and a teeny arrow pointing down on it. Place your mouse’s pointer on it. You’ll get a tool tip saying “Settings”. That’s where you need to go.
- Click the button.
- From the drop-down list, click “Settings“.
- This will open a new page with several tabs. Click on the “Filters” tab. It’ll bring up a new page.
- In that new page, click on “Create New Filter“. This will give you a new window.
- In that window, put “@im.agni.lindenlab.com” in the “From” box (I assume you are smart enough to not include the quotation marks).
- Then, click on “Create Filter with this Search“.
- At the bottom, check the box that says “Never Send it to Spam“.
- You may also want to check other boxes as well – you might want to mark offlines as important, for instance. Or have Gmail put a star on them.
- While you’re at it, make sure you check the small box that says “Also apply filter to matching conversations“.
- Finally, go to the button that says “Create Filter” and you’re done.
Now that you’ve got the hang of it and while you’re at it, you might want to set up a similar filter for firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeing your Spam bin’s contents
Now, before setting up this filter, many of your offline messages (i.e. the ones sent after im.agni.lindenlab.com ended up triggering Gmail’s spam filters) have ended up in the spam bin. To see them:
- Go to your Gmail account’s left-hand menu
- Lower your mouse cursor down from the “Inbox” to where it says “More“.
- Click on “More“.
- Click on “Spam“.
- Read your offlines.
You can leave there any messages that you don’t care to restore to your Inbox. They’ll be removed after 30 days of lingering in your Spam bin.
Meanwhile, I hope this issue has been brought to LL’s attention and that they’ll contact Google to explain that their IM-handling server only emails users that have explicitly chosen to receive offline IMs in their emails. Chances are that Google’s system will figure out that we’ve set up such filters (it’s an artificial intelligence system that tries to learn from what we mark as spam or not spam and from the filters we set up in order to improve its efficiency) and automatically take LL’s offline IM-handling server off its spammers’ list. Whatever happens first.
That said, have a Happy New Year. My next post will be in a few days.