Sometimes an email arrives when I’m at my computer, but it slots itself into
an arrival time that is before as many of five to six emails that are previously
arrived. Why is this so?
In this excerpt from
Answercast #81, I look at how time settings on the sender’s computer can
affect the order that it ends up sorting on yours.
Email with the wrong time
It’s because the sender’s clock is wrong.
What most people don’t realize is that, in most cases, the “send time” on an email is actually set when the email departs the computer of the person who is sending it. If their clock is wrong, if it’s off by a few minutes, if their time zone is set incorrectly, then that may cause a problem.
If their daylight savings time auto setting or summer time setting is set wrong and it’s the wrong time of year – that can also impact the time that appears that they sent their mail.
Time set intentionally wrong
Spammers actually use this characteristic frequently. You will often get email from years in the future in your spam. They do that specifically because they know that most email is sorted by decreasing date – and by using a date years into the future, they can force their spam to show up at the top of the list.
Normally, a date being that far off is in fact one of the signals that many spam filters will use to determine whether or not something is spam.
A few minutes off? Yep. That’s usually just the clock on the sender’s computer being off by a little bit.
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
Next from Answercast 81 – Why does a scan of a simple text document result in such a large file?