I have a rule in my Gmail. It is a simple rule which says, basically, if any message coming in has the text "[GNC]", give it the label GNC and don't add it to the inbox. There is no other rule that performs this behavior. This rule has been working for several years. This afternoon four messages from friends, none of which contained "[GNC]". One of the friends has the email address [email protected]. All messages in the thread, on which the gnc friend was included were filtered by this rule. This is not how I would expect the filter to work. I would expect the exact text including the brackets to be the search pattern, not some subset of it, yet evidently the brackets mean something to Gmail. How might this be gotten around?

Oh and why doesn't Gmail have a proper bug-reporting system? Their "feedback" function is a joke.

image of the filter second filter screen

1 Answer 1


Brackets in Gmail searches are used for grouping. I haven't tested square brackets but if they are not used for grouping then they will be ignored as Gmail does for most punctuation. The best you can do here is to add an exclusion for your friend.

GNC -from:[email protected]

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