Forcing a sync of maildir flags?

Sean Whitton spwhitton at
Thu Feb 20 13:19:25 PST 2020

Hello David,

Thank you for your reply.

On Thu 20 Feb 2020 at 08:22AM -04, David Bremner wrote:

> Sean Whitton <spwhitton at> writes:
>> I have this in my post-new hook:
>>     notmuch tag -unread -- folder:sent
>> The idea is that copies of my sent mail which get returned to me and
>> stored in my inbox, e.g. by mailing lists, would get maildir Seen tags
>> added to them.  But that does not happen.
> I guess this is most likely a bug. It would be nice to have a test in
> that duplicated it. I suspect the problem is
> related to messages in the new/ subdirectory. Some non-notmuch clients
> (prominently mutt) interpret being in new/ has having user-visible
> semantics, so notmuch tries not to move files out of there
> unnecessarily, On the other hand the maildir spec says that files in
> new/ cannot have flags, so they cannot have their unread tag removed
> without moving the file to cur/

So, your hypothesis is that notmuch is opting not to add the Seen flag
in order to avoid having to move the message from new to cur, for the
sake of mutt, but that's a bug because I've explicitly requested adding
Seen, so it ought to go ahead and move it from new to cur?

>> This works:
>>     notmuch tag +unread -- folder:sent
>>     notmuch tag -unread -- folder:sent
>> Is there some more elegant way to force a sync of maildir flags?  Am I
>> the only one that has copies of my own mail in my inbox folder, not
>> marked as read from the point of view of anything except notmuch?
> I guess my workflow doesn't expose this problem as I leave many messages
> unread (relying on the inbox flag). I'm not sure about the locking
> implications, but having sent messages delivered to cur/ instead of to
> new/ would probably workaround the problem.

In this case it's mbsync downloading messages from IMAP, and there
doesn't seem to be a way to configure it to deliver to cur instead of

On Thu 20 Feb 2020 at 09:21AM -04, David Bremner wrote:

> I guess the other thing is that I have
> [new]
> tags=unread;inbox;new
> in .notmuch-config, which means that "notmuch new" moves things into
> cur/. Maybe you can use that effect?

To be honest that doesn't seem really better than the workaround I'm
currently using.

Sean Whitton

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