GMail + Calendar + mailing lists = an obscure bug

Today I solved the origin of a mysterious bug that had caught my attention.

Some of my calendar entries would have a truncated description, but not all and there was no obviously discernible pattern at first. This is especially inconvenient if you are on the way to a meeting and quickly want to look up the route description at the bottom of the entry using your phone. You know it was there, because you remember seeing it in the email you received with the invitation, but the calendar item for some reason cuts of after <1000 characters. Other calendar items are much longer and have no problems. A mystery.

I had asked some other people for help, who are quite seasoned with Google Apps, but they couldn’t figure it out either.

Then today I received an invitation and because I had just been chasing the above bug, went back and checked the calendar item. Surely it had been truncated! But what was so special about it? Then it dawned on me:

I hadn’t confirmed the invitation (you can’t if you are not in the TO or CC field, a separate bug IMHO), but had pressed ‘Add to calendar’ instead! That was the answer. Apparently if you add an event to your calendar instead of implicitly transferring it by confirming it, Google for some reason truncates it. Why is beyond me, and there are plenty of questions on the web as to how and why this happens and how to fix it.

Well if anybody reads this. Avoid using the ‘Add to calendar’ function, if you can use the confirm option. If Google reads this, please fix it KTXBAI.

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