impact of Gmail's "promotions" tab on free software communities

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Thu Jan 25 10:09:24 UTC 2018

There was a discussion in one community recently about essential emails
not reaching new contributors because they get stuck in the Gmail
"promotions" tab.

This is quite concerning, for example, when Debian sends out the yearly
announcement for DebConf travel grants / bursaries, if only the regular
participants receive that email it undermines renewal and diversity in
the organization.

It is even worse if sending people an email that their talk proposal or
travel grant is accepted and they don't see that email.

I have a few questions about this:

- are other communities who operate mailing lists or send announcements
noticing a similar problem, for example, announcements not reaching
people or lower participation in email discussions?

- are people noticing it in their capacity as Gmail users / recipients
of email?

- are people consciously talking about the problem in other communities?

- given the high percentage of people using Gmail, would it be
reasonable to take countermeasures, for example, when somebody registers
for an event, refusing to let them use a gmail address and giving them a
link to a page with more details about the problem?

- is there any particularly good web page we can point people to
explaining the Gmail problem and giving them a concise list of
alternatives so they can migrate quickly?



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