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I received two newsletters today and both have the same odd behavior: the asker (or answer) link for the last entry is missing:

Mi Yodeya, gmail

That question has several answers and, of course, an asker (none deleted). Here's another one:

Writing, gmail

Here the asker is reported just fine and we're told there's an answer; we even get a gravatar. But no name or vote count, despite the question having answers from extant users. Also, those gravatars don't belong to any of the users on that Q&A.

Those screen shots are from Gmail in a browser. I actually first noticed the problem in the Gmail app on my phone, where that part of the newsletter renders differently:

Mi Yodeya, phone

That's the same site as the first image. This time we get a gravatar, but that link is unexpected.

Curious about how long this has been going on, I looked back through older email. The last newsletter I received that didn't have this problem was on January 18. Then I didn't get any until January 22, where the problem showed up for the first time.

  • Is it possible that this problem is related to message clipping? Do you get the warning ([Message clipped] View entire message) at the bottom of an email? I've noticed lately that Gmail doesn't display new, super-sized newsletters. – default locale Feb 8 '18 at 3:39
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    @defaultlocale oh wow, I never even noticed that line! That does seem to be related; the MSE newsletter I got today also ended sans asked, but when I clicked on "view entire message" I found the rest of the newsletter including more questions. Wow, super-annoying, Google! – Monica Cellio Feb 8 '18 at 4:08
  • As it seems, message clipping is not configurable in Gmail and yes, this is very annoying. On the other hand, newsletters have grown from 8-12 questions in January to 17 questions now. There should be an option to return to previous levels. – default locale Feb 8 '18 at 4:40
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default locale explained the problem in a comment. The problem is with Gmail, not SE (though SE could mitigate).

Gmail automatically clips messages that are longer than 102k, and there is nothing users can do about it (other than get a new email provider, I guess). It's really easy to miss the "message clipped" notice at the bottom. If you do see and click on it, it launches a new tab with the whole message -- terrible UX, but we can't control what they do.

Newsletters recently started getting longer, and apparently they've now crossed Google's size threshold. When they do, Gmail cuts them off, even mid-link, resulting in ugliness like that shown in the question.

I don't know if newsletters really need to be as long as they are. Perhaps we should consider swapping the second section (greatest hits) with the third (unanswered questions); losing some greatest hits doesn't seem as bad as losing some questions the reader might have been able to answer for someone, had he clicked through and seen them.

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    It's not so much the raw message length as the crazy links that SendGrid creates for click tracking. There's a lot of links in a newsletter and each one consumes precious bytes... Gonna look into this a little further, we might be able to trim them down. – Dean Ward Feb 16 '18 at 10:58
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    @DeanWard any updates? This keeps making people unhappy. – Shadow May 29 '18 at 20:39
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    @ShadowWizard we're in the process of rolling out a new set of templating that should reduce the overall size of all emails. Should be fully rolled out over the next month or so – Dean Ward May 29 '18 at 21:33
  • @DeanWard umm... well, six months have gone by. I just got a newsletter, and still the same. </rant> – Shadow Dec 5 '18 at 9:10
  • @ShadowWizard lack of time and resources to be honest. I’ll see if I can find some time today – Dean Ward Dec 5 '18 at 9:26
  • @DeanWard just curious, is there internal ticket (story?) in SE for fixing this bug? Or are you doing this on your spare time? Anyhow, thanks for looking into this. – Shadow Dec 5 '18 at 9:30
  • @ShadowWizard not really; the proposed fix came from a discussion between myself and Ted on the design team (our email guru) and so far as I can tell this is pretty low priority because it only affects things like greatest hits in the email anyway... – Dean Ward Dec 5 '18 at 9:43
  • @DeanWard thanks for looking into it. It actually affects unanswered questions in the email, because there are enough greatest hits to push them "below the fold". That's why I suggested swapping the two sections in the email if we can't shorten the links. (Maybe we could also be more selective in which links we load up with all the tracking stuff? Questions seem more important than users, for example.) – Monica Cellio Dec 5 '18 at 15:55

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