When Gnus works I have a great e-mail experience but it’s no mutt, and when it breaks, it really screws up. This evening, sharks happened in a big way. My project? Move my synced mail store at ~/Maildir to ~/.gnus.d/Maildir so that it sits hidden away inside .gnus.d with my other local mail and RSS stuff.

The result? Losing almost a thousand messages and having to cobble them back together from my daily backups and my old Gmail account, which still collects new messages by POP. There is now only a eight minute window or so in which I could have lost messages, and I don’t think I received any in that time.

Basically what happened was that (local) dovecot didn’t like me moving the folder, so I offlineimap’d from scratch, Gnus screwed things up some more so I had to offlineimap from scratch again, offlineimap screwed up in some way that I am really hoping doesn’t happen again when I do all this again after restoration, so I started nuking offlineimap’s cache so that I might resync just my inbox. Turns out I nuked the wrong parts and offlineimap interpreted this as me emptying my inbox, so it kindly emptied my inbox on the remote end, too.

Cue panic. Realisation that my most recent backup is 3am this morning so that’s the fifty or so messages I received today GONE. Not all of them were read—if they’re read it’s okay because they will be in my task management system so I will know who to e-mail to get them resent. Then I remembered that Gmail is still faithfully downloading via POP so I logged in and found my messages, after mild panic that I’d disabled that at some point.

EDIT: Thank goodness for mutt for recovering from this. After I got a copy of my Maildir as of 3am this morning, I opened Gmail and tagged the messages NuciferaDLS and then just pointed mutt at the folder imaps://sean@silentflame.com@imap.gmail.com:993/NuciferaDLS and then used tagging and copying to quickly and efficiently move the messages across.