Re: [Geary] Feature request: Browse mail by contact panel

Note: unless I clarify with an @Marvin, "you" is meant in the general sense of "people" or "users".

On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 11:16 AM, Marvin W <gnome larma de> wrote:

On Di, Sep 27, 2016 at 4:13 , Stephen Michel <stephen michel tufts edu> wrote:
I can send and read emails from my phone just as easily as texts.. but why don't I? At least in part because conversation by contact is a much nicer way to do initial filtering than dumping everything in an inbox.

I have both instant messenger and email client on my phone and I agree that I tend to use the instant messenger a lot more than email when writing on my phone. The main reason for me to do so is that in an instant messenger I do not have complex things to explain or write large messages in general. I don't like writing large messages on my phone, but I also don't like to write them in an instant messenger.

I feel the same way.

I wonder: if you noticed you like using your instant messenger on your phone, why don't use it on your desktop as well? Most modern messengers have desktop clients that look and feel like the mobile pendants. You don't need to make Geary your instant messenger for this.

I do! I do most of my instant messaging and texting with Signal and use the desktop client often.

Take for example the email you just posted to this mailing list. Would you even think of writing such a long message in an instant messenger? What would you think if someone posted this in one of your WhatsApp/Telegram/* groups? Instant messaging and e-mails are separate communication means and should not be confused with each other. That's the same as the difference between letter and phone calls. While phone calls would be cheaper for the majority of users, they still tend to use letters for certain communication and I bet you would be somewhat surprised if someone would call you to read a letter and after being finished just hangs up.

I do write significantly longer messages from the desktop client than from my phone. Usually not longer than 3-4 paragraphs, approximately the length of your three paragraphs that I've quoted above. I attribute that primarily to IM's lack of threading. If IM had multiple threads per contact, I suspect I would tend towards longer-form responses. I also suspect I would find it less appealing to use for short-form messages.

I might adopt the email charter's[0] suggestion of using the acronym EOM for sending short form messages in a thread title. The app might also have some clever way to mitigate this, like being able to choose between sending a message and sending a thread, which could be opened and read separately. I'd visualize it more like a forum software, eg discourse, but for conversations. That would actually be really interesting and probably useful -- imagine a group chat, with the ability to create a thread to discuss planning an event without getting event planning mixed in with idle chatter.


Send TO the sender's address (duh).

If the sender is only known to one of your accounts, send FROM that account. Otherwise, if a conversation with that sender is highlight, send FROM that account. Otherwise, send FROM the account from which you most recently corresponded with the sender. - There will always be a known most recent correspondence because the sender will only appear in this list if you have an email from them in one of your inboxes.

We basically have these rules applied in the normal "reply" button on e-mails already (except we honor reply-to header that you apparently want to ignore?), except they must all be in the same account Also note that your description ignores having multiple addresses in the same account. And it is not always possible to find the mail address from an account that should be used to send, if the e-mail has something unknown in the to-field (which can still be delivered to you, consider bcc).

That was copied from bugzilla. I made the bugzilla post five days ago and before I read any of the same-topic emails. I will admit that at the time, I had not thought this part of the idea out well.

My current thinking is that once you are in an email thread, we should follow all existing rules for reply-to. Viewing threads (in your inbox) by sender would really be just like viewing threads by the account you received the email at; it's just an initial filter. To be honest, sender matters much more to me than which account I received an email at; when I read email on my phone, I use k9 mail's Universal Inbox exclusively. If email account matters more than sender, it should be easy to turn off this feature, or to collapse and ignore it.

As soon as one of the "many" replies, it'll *also* appear under that person's header, with their replies expanded by default and all other replies collapsed.

1. This means that if you have a conversation with, say 20 people, all these 20 people will be on top of you contact panel and you would be required to scroll down for other people? That would be a lot worse than typical instant messengers that show groups as groups.

2. This also means that an e-mail full of addresses in the from-field (rfc 822 allows multiple addresses in the from-field) will cause the contact panel to be cluttered as well? Or how would you handle such an e-mail originated from three persons?

Yes. These are both things that would clutter your left pane. In my experience, (1) is pretty rare, even for larger mailing lists. I went browsing through the archives of the libreplanet-discuss[1] and Open Whisper Systems[2] mailing lists, and couldn't find a thread with more than 8 participants. And I didn't even know that rfc 822 allowed that multiple addresses in the 'from' field because I've never seen that before.

Also, Remember that this view is only for messages in your inbox, which will hopefully keep this issue from getting terribly out of hand, unless your inbox was cluttered, anyway (in which case you could turn off/collapse this feature and continue using geary as you have been -- that's not a reason not to implement, although it might be a reason to make this a low priority). Finally, while I wouldn't include this with initial launch of the feature, there are probably optimizations we could make, like aggregating all senders who have only contributed to a single thread under "other" if there are too many of those.

@Marvin That said, I do suspect you would use it more than you think you would. Think how often you want to find something and think, "I know person X said something about Y, but I don't remember what thread it was in" compared to "I know someone said something about Y in thread Z but I don't remember who". For myself, at least, I usually remember who said something but not when or where.

I doubt that. I use an instant messenger for short contact based communication and I am able to use Geary's awesome search feature that already allows to easily filter mails by a certain person that contains a certain word - exactly what you described.

@Marvin I still suspect you'd use it more than you think you would (which seems to be "never"), but I don't presume to know enough about you to say anything more specific than that.

How do you want to manage automated messages from systems that use email addresses "{fullname} <{username}>"? Do you want me to put this mail address in my contact database? How do you want to handle e-mail addresses that are "{fullname} <notifications example com>"?

Since they have a unique email address, they'll get their own "contact" in the left pane, showing {fullname} only. In the middle pane, we'll handle them the same way we do currently.

GitHub is an example service that does use these fancy e-mail addresses. I have a thread of >100 messages in my inbox with messages from >20 participants. Just tell me how this is displayed in your example? For me it's currently one thread in my GitHub folder.

Move it out of your inbox and into your github folder.

Again, your concept seems not very solid for mailing lists. Consider you are being on a larger development list like for the linux kernel. You would receive multiple messages daily from persons you don't care personally (because for you they're just contributors, not persons you would want to contact directly). Currently such mailing lists only work, because you can put them automatically in a certain sub directory on your IMAP server and have them sorted by thread there. If you would go with a contact panel, you should not be displaying this folder by contact, but keep the folder as a whole, or it will be a terrible user experience.

That's how I currently deal with the email lists to which I'm subscribed. All (okay, most) of them go to my 'Mailing Lists' folder, which I read periodically when I have a chunk of free but low-productivity time (eg, riding public transit). If I didn't do that, they'd flood my inbox and I'd drown. Sorting by sender wouldn't fix that, but it's not the cause, either.

tl;dr: I'll stay with my previous statement that I won't be using such a feature (and certainly also won't help developing it), but that doesn't mean that it can't be added as an optional feature...

tl;dr: I rambled a lot, fleshed out a few more details, and still think it would be useful to me and others, though I 100% agree that it should be an easy-to-ignore-or-disable addition/alternative to the current view, not a replacement.

I certainly would not expect you to help develop it; volunteer work comes from a place of passion. So until we have a reliable way to fund FLO (free/libre/open) development... (insert shameless plug for[3] here)

I would appreciate additional criticism as/if we continue to discuss on this list, though -- it's very useful for helping to refine the idea.



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