Re: [Evolution] have you seen this message?

Right now, Evolution marks a message "seen" after you've been looking
at it for one and a half seconds. The idea behind this is that you can
jump through messages with the up/down arrow keys and not cause them
to be marked read. However, almost everyone seems to find this
confusing until it's explained to them.

Outlook does something similar, however it doesn't actually display
the message until the timer runs out. Several people said they found
that behavior annoying.

So under what circumstances should a message be considered read?

Some possibilities:

  1) Like it is now, just document it, because of course everyone will
     read the documentation and be enlightened.

I'll admit, I really thought I would hate this.  However, I'm now using
evolution to read my mail and have actually found that the timeout is
about right.  At times, I've gone to read a message, realized I didn't
want to read it yet, and continued on, without having to set the message
as read.

However, this causes the problem that there's no way to rapidly mark a
bunch of messages as read.  However, perhaps removing this timeout isn't
the best way to provide such functionality.  I think it would make more
sense to have controls to mark messages as seen.  Perhaps a menu item to
mark all messages in a folder as read, as well as a key stroke and menu
item (and possibly toolbar item) which marks the current message as seen
and then selects and shows the next message.

  2) Outlook style.

No.  I don't know if it's like this anymore, but I used outlook for a
while where it didn't change the message immediately.  This is really
hard to use.

  3) Messages should be marked read immediately upon being opened.
     People can mark them unread again by hand if they need to.
     (You can't toggle the flag by hand right now, but you will be
     able to.)

This is a pretty acceptable solution, but not as usable as #1 once you
get used to it (as long as we add controls to easily mark messages as

  4) Messages should be marked read immediately upon being opened.
     People can use Shift + up/down arrow (or something) to move the
     cursor in the message list without opening messages, and Return
     or Space or something to select. (This is basically how most
     Emacs-based mail readers work.)

This sounds quite confusing if there's a preview pane.  However, it'd be
nice to have a mode where you don't have a preview pane and there are
keystrokes to bring up the current message in the current window, and to
return to the message list (the same behavior as pine.)  That's the
closest behavior to #4 that sounds usable to me.

  5) Messages should be marked read only after you've scrolled all the
     way to the bottom of them. (This seems to make some sort of
     sense, but at the same time seems like it could be
     wrong/annoying. Do any other mail programs do this, and if so,
     how well does it work?) (Also, this leaves the question of "what
     about messages that fit on one screen and don't need to be

As others have said, this sounds confusing.  What if you don't scroll to
the bottom and then select another message.

  6) Like 5, but the spacebar means "scroll" if you're not at the
     bottom of the message, and "mark this message read and jump to
     the next message" if you are. (aka "DWIM mode")

Again, somewhat confusing.  You read a message, then quit, come back,
and the message is still marked as unseen.  Weird.

I think the current behavior is actually quite nice.  I've only been
using evolution for a couple hours, but so far, it's behaved quite
correctly (so far as which messages are marked as seen, that is.)


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