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Mail subject gets a space added randomly after multiple replies in the thread
Problem reported by Ionel Aurelian Rau - 9/13/2021 at 5:52 AM
Being Fixed
Hello community,

We`re seeing a very strange behavior for quite some time now (more than half a year), but we could not reproduce it 100%, nor could we pinpoint the cause, so I`m curios to see if anyone else is experiencing this: we are getting spaces randomly added to the subject line of emails after multiple replies in the thread.
To illustrate this, let`s say we have the following email:

SUBJECT: This is a test email - please reply to me
BODY: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse feugiat gravida purus ut mattis. Vivamus at ullamcorper purus, eu accumsan tortor. Duis leo leo, elementum non convallis vitae, ullamcorper ac.

So we start this email and have some replies going back and forth, both from our server and from external ones (multiple providers). At some point, a space gets added in the subject like this:
 
SUBJECT: This is a test email -  please reply to me
BODY: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse feugiat gravida purus ut mattis. Vivamus at ullamcorper purus, eu accumsan tortor. Duis leo leo, elementum non convallis vitae, ullamcorper ac.

This is subtle, not really noticeable at a glance, but a few replies later, another space gets added, usually in the same place:

SUBJECT: This is a test email -   please reply to me
BODY: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse feugiat gravida purus ut mattis. Vivamus at ullamcorper purus, eu accumsan tortor. Duis leo leo, elementum non convallis vitae, ullamcorper ac.

Then later another space gets added:

SUBJECT: This is a test email -    please reply to me
BODY: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse feugiat gravida purus ut mattis. Vivamus at ullamcorper purus, eu accumsan tortor. Duis leo leo, elementum non convallis vitae, ullamcorper ac.

At some point people start wondering what is going on, who is adding extra spaces? And no one acknowledges it, of course - but you also cannot ask clients and partners this, only colleagues.

Is anyone else seeing this? I wonder if the space is added on our server, due to SmarterMail, or maybe some other server or external service is doing it. 

Looking forward to hearing if anyone else is seeing this or it`s just something that occurs with us.

Thank you!

11 Replies

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1
Zach Sylvester Replied
Employee Post
Hello, 

Thank you for posting in the community about this issue. What language was your client set to? Also what version of SmarterMail are you running? Last question did you send from any email client to get this to happen? Like Outlook over IMAP etc? Looking forward to hearing from you. 

Best Regards, 
Zach Sylvester
Technical Support Specialist
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Hi Zach,

We`re on Build 7906 (Aug 24, 2021) right now, but this has been going on for months. If I had a way to reproduce the issue reliably, I`d open a ticket, for now I wanted to see if anyone else is also experiencing it.

We use WebMail and Outlook 2016/2019 (most with MAPI, very few configured with IMAP) as mail clients, as well as mobile devices (EAS). However, we have no idea what all of our partners we send mail to and receive mail from are using. The systems we use have different language settings, but most common is EN US. We do not change the language of Outlook itself. Our recipients are from all over the world, so I`d imagine they also might have different languages set for the OS or even mail clients.

The issue does not happen with specific recipients or senders; it simply happens from time to time in longer mail threads after multiple replies from multiple people.

I`ll try to see if I can pinpoint the person that last replies in a thread where this occurs, but usually you do not realize it happened until at least 2 extra spaces are added and the wrong spacing becomes obvious.

I know the above info is not too helpful, sorry. This is not a major issue, just something very odd that we`re trying to wrap our heads around. If we`ll find out more information about the problem, I`ll update here.

Thanks.
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Zach Sylvester Replied
Employee Post
Hello Ionel, 

Thanks for getting back to me. I haven't seen this in our local builds. But I will keep an eye out. 
If you can figure out how to get it to happen reliably we will definitely be able to fix this. 

Best Regards, 
Zach Sylvester
Technical Support Specialist
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
We`ve finally managed to reproduce this reliably, so I opened a ticket.

Basically, for us, if we add an email in the subject between other text, then some spaces will get added in future replies before or after the email address (or in both locations). So for example: 

SUBJECT: Please send an urgent email to mail@example.com and ask about X 
Then here is how it will look like after each reply in the thread:
SUBJECT: RE: Please send an urgent email to  mail@example.com and ask about X
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Please send an urgent email to   mail@example.com  and ask about X
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Please send an urgent email to    mail@example.com   and ask about X 
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Please send an urgent email to     mail@example.com   and ask about X 
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Please send an urgent email to      mail@example.com   and ask about X 
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Please send an urgent email to       mail@example.com   and ask about X 
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Please send an urgent email to        mail@example.com   and ask about X 

Which is obviously annoying, distracting and really looks bad, especially when you are trying to have a longer thread with a prospective business partner and they start asking "why are you adding spaces to the subject"?

This happens even with subjects that only have text, but not reliably.

NOTE that in WebMail, when you preview the mail, the subject looks good, without extra spaces, but when you reply and open the editing window, the extra spaces are there. In Outlook (MAPI), the issue is clearly visible when previewing the email, as well as when replying.

Can nobody else reproduce this?
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Kyle Kerst Replied
Employee Post
Hello Aurelian. I know you submitted a ticket on this, but wanted to offer some feedback based on what I'm seeing here. We definitely understand this could get quite annoying!

I did a couple of quick tests on this today but was not able to reproduce the spaces being added. How many replies do you typically need to send before you start seeing the spaces?Are you replying to these test messages (from the scenario you outlined) via webmail or a mix of Outlook and webmail?

Perhaps this has something to do with browser languages or regional settings as well? What do those settings look like in your test client environment?

Lastly, I also noticed the Re: Re: Re behavior in the subject line which does not occur in my environment when replying; I wonder if that might be part of the behavior as well. I can do some more testing on this early next week as well and will let you know what I come up with.

Please let me know your thoughts/results on the above when you get a moment to check this out. Thanks for your efforts on this in advance. 
Kyle Kerst
Technical Support Specialist
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
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Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
We`re replying from a mix of clients, mostly Outlook via MAPI, mobile via EAS and WebMail. I have no idea what is about with the RE: RE:, most of the times we get that.
In the above scenario the spaces start being added after the first or second reply already, but they`re not obvious until there are more of them.
Yes, we`ll try to troubleshoot this more over the ticket. But it`s strange then that it`s happening just for us. Maybe it`s something related to our location, timezone or something (RO, EEST)? Generally our Locale/Region/Language is set to EN-US.
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Sébastien Riccio Replied
This recalls me an issue we had around a year ago.

Ticket: 120-26E5A6B7-0B42 (if this can be useful to SM folks)

If I recall correctly, under some conditions, when customers were replying to mails from webmail, it was adding spaces to the subject around "special" chars.

Also IIRC it was an string encoding issue.
Maybe the issue you're having is related.

My ticket was saying:

Hello SmarterTools,

One of our customer discovered and reported to us a naughty issue with the webmail and UTF-8 subjects under certain conditions.
When replying to a mail where the subject is UTF-8 encoded (subject with accents for example) and the subject contains " - " ( space dash space ).
The spaces in the reply are doubled every time the mail is replied and the UTF-8 encoded string isn't valid anymore.

(See attached screenshot)


Sébastien Riccio
System & Network Admin

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Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Thanks Sebastien, that indeed sounds similar. We are definitely also seeing these in emails with " - " ( space dash space) in the subject. We are also sometimes using other characters in subjects such as "[" and "]" and even emojis. Usually the space is added after such characters.
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Sébastien Riccio Replied
Yeah, looks to me they have some issues when (re)enconding strings.

It was fixed for the " - " case but looks like there are other cases triggering the issue and the fix doesn't look a global fix. 
Well if it's the same issue :)
Sébastien Riccio
System & Network Admin

1
Zach Sylvester Replied
Employee Post
Hello Everyone, 

I was able to replicate this issue and have submitted a bug report to the development team. 
Please keep an eye on the release notes of the up coming releases for the fix. 
Have a great weekend everyone. 

Best Regards, 
Zach Sylvester
Technical Support Specialist
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Thanks Zach for the support!

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