'Block Sender' is an outdated feature that permanently deletes messages
Problem reported by kevind - November 13, 2015 at 5:00 PM
At least once/week we get a call from a user who is no longer receiving email from a person or group of people. The messages are gone, not in the spam or deleted folder. It's because they've mistakenly clicked on Blocked Sender. Looks like a common issue:
I propose that the Block Sender feature be eliminated because:
  • Spammers no longer re-use the same email address. With SM's spam filtering, it's rare that spam reaches your Inbox. If it's actual spam, user should Mark as Spam so the system can learn and it will move to Junk.
  • Users should unsubscribe from legitimate email, but instead they block sender which is the wrong thing to do (wastes system resources).
Nobody should be using this. If you can't totally eliminate, here are some options:
  1. Provide a setting for the admin to turn it on/off.
  2. Replace it with an 'Unsubscribe' button like Gmail and the iPhone have.
  3. Explain it better. When user chooses block sender, pop up the address being blocked so they can confirm.  Explain that all future messages from this address will be permanently deleted. Give them OK | Cancel so they can abort.
  4. Don't send the messages to the bit bucket where they can never be recovered. Move them to Deleted Items or Junk instead.
  5. Remove the button, but let the user go into Content Filter and create a rule. This is what most modern mail systems do -- include the capability but bury it in Settings or Options so knowledgeable users can use it. The problem with SmarterMail is it's too easy and users click it without knowing what they're doing.

12 Replies

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kevind Replied
December 11, 2015 at 2:37 PM
Just following up on this request. I still think 'Block Sender' is not needed because spammers don't re-use addresses. But if you can't remove it, at least make it work like Gmail's block sender dialog:
Block this email address
Future messages from Mr Zakir Hossain <mrzakirhossain444@gmail.com> 
will be marked as Spam.
The SmarterMail dialog below 1) doesn't tell the user what's going to happen with future messages, 2) doesn't have a cancel option in case user doesn't want to proceed, and 3) sets up a rule that permanently deletes messages instead of using Deleted Items or Junk.


You have blocked mrzakirhossain444@gmail.com

kevind Replied
April 5, 2016 at 3:00 PM
Just wanted to keep this problem/idea on the board.
One of our users was receiving phishing emails from their own email address, so they clicked Block Sender. Called a few days later because they were not getting messages when they cc'd themselves!
Looking to eliminate or restrict the Block Sender button. Check out this thread in which WebControl GmbH had a good suggestion:
What do you think about a solution that is more flexible? Instead of "Block" and "Unblock" in the context menu, there could be a "Add to rule" and "Remove from rule" function.
kevind Replied
May 25, 2016 at 7:11 PM
Since v16 will feature an updated UI, it would be the perfect time to change the confirmation dialog box so it works more like Gmail:
  • explain to user what they are about to do
  • give them the option to abort.
Plus, it should put the message in the Deleted Items or Spam folder. Sending it to /dev/null makes troubleshooting difficult.
FWIW, I can't think of a legitimate reason to keep the block sender option. User should either mark as spam (so it adds to Bayes) or unsubscribe. Currently, users block Facebook, eBay, Kohl's, etc. which means the server still has to process all these messages.
kevind Replied
July 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM
Looks like I'm replying to myself again :-), but wanted to keep this thread alive as it has 10 votes and others are reporting problems: http://portal.smartertools.com/community/a87613/bug-in-block-unblock-sender.aspx
Here's something crazy: 'Block Sender' shows up in the context menu for the To: address??? Users can block themselves!!!
Please remove this option or add some safety measures, like a dialog box that explains what it does and gives an option to cancel.
I really like @WebControl GmbH's suggestion to to change Block Sender in context menu to "Add to rule" which would allow the user to filter or move messages from a particular sender.
Merle Wait Replied
July 30, 2016 at 2:16 PM
On a Saturday...  just spent 30  minutes helping user... with this very same issue....   They had no idea... AND they couldn't even remember the users EXACT email address (granted it was an older client.. but still... )
I agree, even if the feature should remain, it needs to write the email to deleted items or some place.....    Because trying to trouble shoot is pain....  AND it would be so easy to the tell the use to check their **DELETED EMAIL ***   to see if they blocked the sender...
Matthew Leyda Replied
August 1, 2016 at 3:00 PM
I vote for moving to the Deleted folder.
Kendra Support
Junk Email filtered ISP
Paul Blank Replied
August 1, 2016 at 7:34 PM
While we are at it, I just had a user delete their ENTIRE inbox because they clicked the checkbox at top, clicked Delete, and then Delete again (ignoring the total count presented) - all pretty much the same procedure as if they'd checked only a few emails for deletion.
Luckily I had great backups (as well as archiving) and was able to restore everything.
The deletion, however, was much too easy to do.  Perhaps an additional warning should be presented when a user tries to deep-six an entire mailbox.
J Lee Replied
October 26, 2016 at 12:15 PM
Having same issue, email user keeps getting blocked I have added his email address to Trusted Sender but still blocking?? How do you remove the email address from the Block List??
J. Sebastian Lee
Service2Client LLC
6333 E Mockingbird Ste 147
Dallas, TX 75214 - 877.251.3273
Von-Austin See Replied
October 26, 2016 at 2:56 PM
Employee Post
I'd like to bring these points to our developers as well, as we have seen an influx in tickets regarding these points. I've generated a ticket so this can be tracked internally. 
As a side note, If you have archiving in place globally, you can restore these messages from the archive.
Von See
Technical Support Specialist / Internal IT
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
kevind Replied
October 26, 2016 at 6:35 PM
Von, if the developers are going to take a look at this, you might want to incorporate some of the posts from this thread: https://portal.smartertools.com/community/a87117/make-contacts-trusted-senders.aspx
Specifically, the point that it's easier to Block Sender (which should rarely be used) than it is to Trust Sender (used all the time to bypass greylisting, bypass spam filtering, and show pictures).
Open a message in your Inbox and hover over the From address. You see 3 choices:
  • Email
  • Add Contact
  • Block Sender
Where's the choice to add this person to Trusted Senders? Oh, just choose
"Actions -> Mark -> Not Spam" to add the address.
Really? This is not intuitive or user-friendly.
The whole UX for trusting & blocking senders could be cleaned up and simplified. Thanks!
Paul Blank Replied
October 26, 2016 at 7:38 PM
I wholeheartedly recommend turning Archiving on at all times, if possible, and not just for blocked sender issues. It has saved my bacon several times - or at least made it easier to find deleted email (instead of restoring from backups etc).
Andrea Rogers Replied
January 24 at 10:43 AM
Employee Post
Hello everyone!
Thank you for your thoughts on the Block Sender functionality. In SmarterMail 16.x, which is currently in BETA, messages from blocked senders will no longer be deleted before hitting a user's inbox. Instead, messages from blocked senders will be sent to the Junk Email folder.
Kevin, I will request a change of the text in the confirmation window in order to make it more clear what the block will do. I will also ensure the developers are aware of the ability to block yourself and will request safeguards against that. 
Thank you!
Andrea Rogers
Communications Specialist
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278

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