making stream of email more managable

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making stream of email more managable

Igor Asselbergs
Here are some simple suggestions to make the load of emails hitting the
inbox every day more managable.
Emails could be categorized so that they get divided into managable
heaps.
One category for spam (which is obviously already implemented
through filtering...)
One category for senders who get blocked
One
category emails from senders that are already present in the inbox
(which are most likely people you know and trust)
One category emails
from senders that are unknown but are not spam (or at least do not get
filtered out)
And another category emails from senders that are marked
as ‘important’.
This way you might check you inbox according to importance. If an email
arrives from your boss, it will be marked ‘important’ and you can read
it first. Then you can turn to the emails from people you know and
trust. Finally you can deal with all other emails. Please note that all
spam that comes through the filter would wind up at the bottom of the
heap anyway, which would make it much less annoying.
My guess is that this would be a killer feature for an email client....
I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is and contribute to
developing such a feature....
Igor Asselbergs

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Re: making stream of email more managable

Mumia W..-3
On 12/13/2006 08:04 AM, Igor Asselbergs wrote:

> Here are some simple suggestions to make the load of emails hitting
> the inbox every day more managable. Emails could be categorized so
> that they get divided into managable heaps.
One category for spam
> (which is obviously already implemented through filtering...)
One
> category for senders who get blocked
One category emails from senders
> that are already present in the inbox (which are most likely people
> you know and trust)
One category emails from senders that are unknown
> but are not spam (or at least do not get filtered out)
And another
> category emails from senders that are marked as ‘important’. This way
> you might check you inbox according to importance. If an email
> arrives from your boss, it will be marked ‘important’ and you can
> read it first. Then you can turn to the emails from people you know
> and trust. Finally you can deal with all other emails. Please note
> that all spam that comes through the filter would wind up at the
> bottom of the heap anyway, which would make it much less annoying. My
> guess is that this would be a killer feature for an email client.... I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is and contribute to
> developing such a feature.... Igor Asselbergs


Thunderbird has four ways to let you create categories. I'll briefly
list them. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/ for more information.

1) View filters
2) Message filters combined with labels
3) Message filters that copy to custom folders
4) Saved search folders


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Re: making stream of email more managable

Igor Asselbergs
> Thunderbird has four ways to let you create categories. I'll briefly
> list them. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/ for more information.

I'm aware of that.
But did you care to count the mouse clicks needed to set up filters
doing what I propose to do? I bet you'll count tens or perhaps
hundereds of clicks, not to mention the stuff you need to type in on
your keyboard. It's just too much hassle.
And then you need to update every week or so to account for the new
'known and trusted' people added to your inbox.
And after going through all that trouble, all Firebird can come up with
are labels and custom folders. These simply do not provide enough
visual key to categorizing. I want my most important emails on top of
the heap. Not just marked in red.
Mind you: it's not only a question of functionality, it's also the way
the feature is implemented that makes a huge difference....

Igor

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Re: making stream of email more managable

Igor Asselbergs
> And after going through all that trouble, all Firebird can come up with
> are labels and custom folders.
Oops.
Thunderbird that is, not Firebird....

All them birds....

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Re: making stream of email more managable

Herre de Jonge
In reply to this post by Igor Asselbergs
Igor Asselbergs wrote:

>> Thunderbird has four ways to let you create categories. I'll briefly
>> list them. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/ for more information.
>
> I'm aware of that.
> But did you care to count the mouse clicks needed to set up filters
> doing what I propose to do? I bet you'll count tens or perhaps hundereds
> of clicks, not to mention the stuff you need to type in on your
> keyboard. It's just too much hassle.
> And then you need to update every week or so to account for the new
> 'known and trusted' people added to your inbox.
> And after going through all that trouble, all Firebird can come up with
> are labels and custom folders. These simply do not provide enough visual
> key to categorizing. I want my most important emails on top of the heap.
> Not just marked in red.
> Mind you: it's not only a question of functionality, it's also the way
> the feature is implemented that makes a huge difference....

Hmmm... There are some filters that can make your life a little bit
easier.

How about: If FROM is in address book <name> (unfortunately this can't
be an LDAP server), move to folder <name>. So you would get something
like

1) If FROM = boss then mark red
2) If FROM in address book Business move to folder Business
3) If FROM in address book Important move to folder important
    ...
x) If FROM in Collected Addresses move to folder known people

Downside is that you have to split your address book into
several others, based on the category. It would be quite nice
to be able to filter on properties assigned to contacts
(such as Organisation (or in your case Custom1..4)).

Take care,
   Herre
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Re: making stream of email more managable

Igor Asselbergs
> How about: If FROM is in address book <name> (unfortunately this can't
> be an LDAP server), move to folder <name>. So you would get something
> like....

Sorry, but this sounds too much like a technical manual to me. What I
envision is very simple: by default the most important emails catch
your attention first, then emails from people you know, and only then
emails from people you don't know. Exactly how these emails hit your
conciousness is something that needs to be thought over.
I realize you can fiddle with the filters. But that isn't exactly
simple and straightforward. It's also a technical solution while the
problem is basicly perceptual. Besides, I'd say the complicated stuff
should happen under the hood. A user doesn't want to be bothered by
filters, he or she just wants them to work. I'd say any user prefers to
deal with emails in order of importance. That requires more than
setting filters, it requires rethinking and redesigning the GUI.

Igor

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Re: making stream of email more managable

Robert-64
Igor Asselbergs wrote:

>> How about: If FROM is in address book <name> (unfortunately this can't
>> be an LDAP server), move to folder <name>. So you would get something
>> like....
>
> Sorry, but this sounds too much like a technical manual to me. What I
> envision is very simple: by default the most important emails catch your
> attention first, then emails from people you know, and only then emails
> from people you don't know. Exactly how these emails hit your
> conciousness is something that needs to be thought over.
> I realize you can fiddle with the filters. But that isn't exactly simple
> and straightforward. It's also a technical solution while the problem is
> basicly perceptual. Besides, I'd say the complicated stuff should happen
> under the hood. A user doesn't want to be bothered by filters, he or she
> just wants them to work. I'd say any user prefers to deal with emails in
> order of importance. That requires more than setting filters, it
> requires rethinking and redesigning the GUI.
>
> Igor
>

My 2¢ - I would much rather have email be displayed by time of arrival
than any other system (as I can set it quite easily now).  Trying to get
TB to automagically sort based on importance with precious little user
input, frankly, frightens me a bit: how will it know what is important
if I don't tell it?

I'm not saying that your suggestion/wish is without merit, mind.  I'm
just pointing out that it almost certainly will cause problems and/or
confusion among "the masses".

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Re: making stream of email more managable

Mumia W..-3
In reply to this post by Igor Asselbergs
On 12/15/2006 04:51 AM, Igor Asselbergs wrote:
>> How about: If FROM is in address book <name> (unfortunately this can't
>> be an LDAP server), move to folder <name>. So you would get something
>> like....
>
> Sorry, but this sounds too much like a technical manual to me.

Mail filters in Thunderbird are really simple the way I see it. Almost
anyone can do this if they've ever used other e-mail programs such as
Outlook.

> What I
> envision is very simple: by default the most important emails catch your
> attention first, then emails from people you know, and only then emails
> from people you don't know. Exactly how these emails hit your
> conciousness is something that needs to be thought over.

And that's where it gets complicated. The user would have to configure
several things. What are the priority levels? Who gets what priority?
When do you see messages with priority X?

After configuring all these things, he/she would have done the same
amount of work as he/she would have done to create filters.

> I realize you can fiddle with the filters. But that isn't exactly simple
> and straightforward. It's also a technical solution while the problem is
> basicly perceptual.

Huh? The solution has to be technical if it's implemented within
TB--which is a computer program.

> Besides, I'd say the complicated stuff should happen
> under the hood. A user doesn't want to be bothered by filters, he or she
> just wants them to work. I'd say any user prefers to deal with emails in
> order of importance. That requires more than setting filters, it
> requires rethinking and redesigning the GUI.
>
> Igor
>

I'm sure that the GUI of TB isn't going to be redesigned at this point.
Perhaps it will for TB 3.0, but even that will probably be an
increase--not decrease--in complexity.

However, you do have a point. Extension writers are always making some
of the hard things in TB easy to do. Shouldn't it be possible to create
an extension that creates some extra view options such as "Group by
Priority"?

A UI would have to be created to let users configure which senders go
into which priorities. Keeping that UI simpler than filters but keeping
it flexible enough to be truly useful would be quite a challenge. I
can't see how it would be done without duplicating the functionality of
filters.


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Re: making stream of email more managable

The Real Bev
In reply to this post by Robert-64
Robert wrote:

> Igor Asselbergs wrote:
>>> How about: If FROM is in address book <name> (unfortunately this can't
>>> be an LDAP server), move to folder <name>. So you would get something
>>> like....
>>
>> Sorry, but this sounds too much like a technical manual to me. What I
>> envision is very simple: by default the most important emails catch your
>> attention first, then emails from people you know, and only then emails
>> from people you don't know. Exactly how these emails hit your
>> conciousness is something that needs to be thought over.
>> I realize you can fiddle with the filters. But that isn't exactly simple
>> and straightforward. It's also a technical solution while the problem is
>> basicly perceptual. Besides, I'd say the complicated stuff should happen
>> under the hood. A user doesn't want to be bothered by filters, he or she
>> just wants them to work. I'd say any user prefers to deal with emails in
>> order of importance. That requires more than setting filters, it
>> requires rethinking and redesigning the GUI.
>>
>> Igor
>>
>
> My 2¢ - I would much rather have email be displayed by time of arrival
> than any other system (as I can set it quite easily now).  Trying to get
> TB to automagically sort based on importance with precious little user
> input, frankly, frightens me a bit: how will it know what is important
> if I don't tell it?

When Skynet becomes active, the system will make the decision for you.

> I'm not saying that your suggestion/wish is without merit, mind.  I'm
> just pointing out that it almost certainly will cause problems and/or
> confusion among "the masses".

I don't see how it's actually possible for a program to distinguish
between important and trivial mail from the same person, so I'd just
filter it so that everything from Boss goes into the Boss folder,
everything from John goes into the John folder, etc.

Remember, I don't want to have to deal with any of that technical key
stuff, I just want to drive my car.

--
Cheers, Bev (Happy Linux User #85683, Slackware 11.0)
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
You know how dumb the average person is?
Well, by definition, half are *even dumber*!

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Re: making stream of email more managable

kodia
In reply to this post by Mumia W..-3
> And that's where it gets complicated. The user would have to configure
> several things. What are the priority levels? Who gets what priority?
> When do you see messages with priority X?

By default priority could be configures as follows:
Emails from addresses already contained in the inbox (people you know
and trust) will come on top. (Read: they will catch your attention
first)
Emails from addresses not contained in the inbox will drop to the
bottom (Read: they will be less evident)

Assigning a higher priority to certain addresses could be an option.

No hassle. Not complicated. And the order by time of reception still
applies.

Igor

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Re: making stream of email more managable

Emmanuel E
In reply to this post by Robert-64
I wish it would sort by time of arrival on the server rather than time
of arrival on the local machine or time sent.

Robert wrote:

> Igor Asselbergs wrote:
>>> How about: If FROM is in address book <name> (unfortunately this can't
>>> be an LDAP server), move to folder <name>. So you would get something
>>> like....
>>
>> Sorry, but this sounds too much like a technical manual to me. What I
>> envision is very simple: by default the most important emails catch
>> your attention first, then emails from people you know, and only then
>> emails from people you don't know. Exactly how these emails hit your
>> conciousness is something that needs to be thought over.
>> I realize you can fiddle with the filters. But that isn't exactly
>> simple and straightforward. It's also a technical solution while the
>> problem is basicly perceptual. Besides, I'd say the complicated stuff
>> should happen under the hood. A user doesn't want to be bothered by
>> filters, he or she just wants them to work. I'd say any user prefers
>> to deal with emails in order of importance. That requires more than
>> setting filters, it requires rethinking and redesigning the GUI.
>>
>> Igor
>>
>
> My 2¢ - I would much rather have email be displayed by time of arrival
> than any other system (as I can set it quite easily now).  Trying to
> get TB to automagically sort based on importance with precious little
> user input, frankly, frightens me a bit: how will it know what is
> important if I don't tell it?
>
> I'm not saying that your suggestion/wish is without merit, mind.  I'm
> just pointing out that it almost certainly will cause problems and/or
> confusion among "the masses".
>
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Re: making stream of email more managable

Herre de Jonge
In reply to this post by Igor Asselbergs
Igor Asselbergs wrote:

>> How about: If FROM is in address book <name> (unfortunately this can't
>> be an LDAP server), move to folder <name>. So you would get something
>> like....
>
> Sorry, but this sounds too much like a technical manual to me. What I
> envision is very simple: by default the most important emails catch your
> attention first, then emails from people you know, and only then emails
> from people you don't know. Exactly how these emails hit your
> conciousness is something that needs to be thought over.
> I realize you can fiddle with the filters. But that isn't exactly simple
> and straightforward. It's also a technical solution while the problem is
> basicly perceptual. Besides, I'd say the complicated stuff should happen
> under the hood. A user doesn't want to be bothered by filters, he or she
> just wants them to work. I'd say any user prefers to deal with emails in
> order of importance. That requires more than setting filters, it
> requires rethinking and redesigning the GUI.

How can TB feel what is important to you? Magic? And it seems to
me that such a magical feature maybe works for you, but not for
any other user. Moreover I wonder if it will work for you in 1
month...

Anyway. Maybe my explanation is too technical, but I feel the TB
filters do exactly what you are trying to achieve. Just spend
5 minutes looking at the filters and you'll discover that. Of
course if you filter by address you will be quite busy managing
your filters. Just filter by address book.

Example:
In the 3 combo boxes at the top, choose
   "From"    "is in my address book"    "Personal Address Book"
In the 2 bottom combo boxes, choose
   "Move message to"    "Personal on Igor"
(Of course you first have to make a Personal folder in your Igor
account.)

That's all...

Good luck,
    Herre
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Re: making stream of email more managable

Neil-4
In reply to this post by Robert-64
Emmanuel E wrote:

> I wish it would sort by time of arrival on the server rather than time
> of arrival on the local machine or time sent.

I think you're looking for View -> Sort By -> Order Received (which
should be the same whether you measure the order on the server or on the
local machine).

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Re: making stream of email more managable

kodia
In reply to this post by Herre de Jonge
> How can TB feel what is important to you? Magic? And it seems to
> me that such a magical feature maybe works for you, but not for
> any other user. Moreover I wonder if it will work for you in 1
> month...
It involves no magic at all. It's all based on the assumption that
emails from people you know (allready present in the inbox) are more
important than emails from people you don't know (not yet present in
inbox). I'd say that's a fair assumption. Obviously it won't be 100%
correct. But then again, no solution is 100% correct all the time. The
bottomline question is: does it make you life easier? I'd say it does.
And even if you fiddle with filters, I don't think there's a way to
filter out emails from senders that are already in the inbox.

Igor

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Re: making stream of email more managable

Herre de Jonge
kodia wrote:

>> How can TB feel what is important to you? Magic? And it seems to
>> me that such a magical feature maybe works for you, but not for
>> any other user. Moreover I wonder if it will work for you in 1
>> month...
> It involves no magic at all. It's all based on the assumption that
> emails from people you know (allready present in the inbox) are more
> important than emails from people you don't know (not yet present in
> inbox). I'd say that's a fair assumption. Obviously it won't be 100%
> correct. But then again, no solution is 100% correct all the time. The
> bottomline question is: does it make you life easier? I'd say it does.
> And even if you fiddle with filters, I don't think there's a way to
> filter out emails from senders that are already in the inbox.

So... The e-mails that stay longest in your inbox are those
that are least important. Next time you recieve e-mail they
and there are e-mails from that same person (hmmm... never
happened to me, when recieving spam), they are marked more
important?

If you just make some sub-folders for your Inbox you can put
the e-mails you deem important in one of those folders and
your inbox is basically empty. Of course you can do the moving
manually, but I'd say it's quite easier to use filters. If
you base one of the filters on the "Collected Addresses"
address book, you can move the messages that might be more
important than the others to a special folder... I'm not
saying this solution is 100% correct, but...

Oh... by no means I think filtering is perfect. There's a
lot to be desired, but I think there's a solution to your
wish by using the current filtering possibilities (without
a lot of hassle). Or at least something that comes close
and I just want to point those things out to you...

Take care,
    Herre
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Re: making stream of email more managable

kodia
> There's a
> lot to be desired, but I think there's a solution to your
> wish by using the current filtering possibilities (without
> a lot of hassle). Or at least something that comes close
> and I just want to point those things out to you...

I think I'll actually try that. Just to see how it works. And to see
exactly what is left to be desired....
Thanks,

Igor

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Re: making stream of email more managable

kodia
In reply to this post by Herre de Jonge
> If you just make some sub-folders for your Inbox you can put
> the e-mails you deem important in one of those folders and
> your inbox is basically empty. Of course you can do the moving
> manually, but I'd say it's quite easier to use filters. If
> you base one of the filters on the "Collected Addresses"
> address book, you can move the messages that might be more
> important than the others to a special folder...

I tried it. But it won't do what I suggested: automatically moving
emails from addresses already present in my inbox to the top of the
heap.
I can make a designated folder for important emails. But there's no way
(that I'm aware of) to sort out the emails from addresses already in
the inbox. I could offcourse enter all the addresses in my inbox to the
'collected addresses', but that's a major hassle it's and still doesn't
do what I would like.

Igor

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