extra super duper archive
January 22, 2019 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I need to find a way to archive emails such that I can't actually see or find them unless absolutely necessary. I'll elaborate below.

I have a stalker - or, I had one for a while, many years ago, back in college. I have not seen him in at least 12 years. Every now and then he'll emerge out of the ether and send me an email with messages that range from bland politeness to batshit cray. I have my Gmail account set up to automatically filter these messages out of my inbox and into a special folder (or label, in Gmail parliance) so I don't have to see or read them.

The trouble is, if I search for any email in Gmail using the search bar and I type in a word that pertains to something he wrote in an email to me in the past, that email will turn up in the search results. If I type in his first name, the same thing obviously happens. This latter part is a really big problem as my brother-in-law shares the same first name as my stalker and I hate having to see emails from my stalker show up in search results when I'm just looking for an email from my BIL.

My question is, is there any way to limit a certain Gmail label to stay hidden and the contents within to not even show up in search results? I want to keep these emails in order to have evidence if his behavior escalates or he hurts someone else and law enforcement gets involved, but on a day to day basis I don't want to keep running into these emails in passing because I find it triggering and upsetting.

Failing that, is there a way to export all of his emails to a different service where they can be held completely externally from my Gmail account altogether?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
posted by buckminsterfullerene to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think the simplest solution would be to set up another email address, auto-forward the emails to the other address, and auto-delete the messages in your main email box. You'll probably have to sign into the other email address once in a while so it doesn't get deleted, but you won't be seeing the messages on a regular basis.

You can also use Google Takeout to export old messages but I don't believe you can only export specific labels, so it would be an archive of your entire email inbox. This doesn't automatically remove the info from your email, but then you would be free to delete it. So if you did want the data back you'd have to search through the whole archive, but it would be there.
posted by possibilityleft at 9:35 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


According to this StackExchange thread, you can apparently do this using search operators, but it looks like a massive faff because you need to stop using conversation (threaded) mode (which is half the point of Gmail IMHO) and very carefully type a bunch of capitalised search operators every type you search.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:50 AM on January 22


I think the simplest solution would be to set up another email address, auto-forward the emails to the other address, and auto-delete the messages in your main email box. You'll probably have to sign into the other email address once in a while so it doesn't get deleted, but you won't be seeing the messages on a regular basis.

I know some folks have achieved similar results by having the undesireable emails forwarded (and auto-archived, unread) to a trusted friend or family member's email, that way saving you from ever having to monitor or maintain that second email.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:55 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I have a google labs script that will take email with a given label and print it to a pdf. You could automatically label the email, although you’d have to remember to run the script every once in a while, then delete the emails. I did this and saved the PDFs to a thumb drive so I never see them on my email or hard drive, but have them if I should ever need them. Memail me if you would like the script.
posted by MrBobinski at 4:46 PM on January 22


Same as possibilityleft if forward and delete works with Google to keep things from popping up i n your searches.

This is to say that I have 20 years of emails stashed away with some traumatic bits that I want to know that I still have but would take hours to find.

The tech solution would be to tag and folder and use IMAP to periodically download/delete-from-google those emails into a format that you can look at but say NOPE when you sorta-but-don't want to.

Sorta like: How to delete mail from server after download with IMAP using Thunderbird? - Super User
posted by zengargoyle at 12:27 AM on January 23


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