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

On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 11:11 PM, Michael Gratton <mike vee net> wrote:

On Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 12:13 AM, Stephen Michel <stephen michel tufts edu> wrote:
I suggest adding a way to view a list of email addresses that have sent you mail **that is in your inbox** (of any account).

This is an interesting idea, but doesn't considering only conversations in your Inbox go against what makes the person-centric view of IM apps useful? I.e. that people that you frequently contact are usually closer to the top?

Consider people who strictly adhere to Inbox Zero: They would often find the contact list completely or mostly empty, reducing its usefulness. Others who have Inboxes that are regularly out of control (/me waives) would find it full of many contacts anyway, which makes limiting it to only the Inbox kind of pointless.

I think there's roughly three ways that people handle email:

1. Inbox Zero: These people probably don't benefit much from this feature unless they get a truly tremendous volume of email. A category that contains only one item isn't very useful. However, I would guess these people make up a small % of users. How many people do you know who are truly on top of their email all the time?

2. Inbox Small: These people try to stay at zero but routinely fall behind, catch up, and repeat (/me waives). And/or, these people read and respond to all their emails immediately but keep things in their inbox as todo reminders. These people stand the most to gain from the feature, because it allows them to apply an intermediate filtering. That old email from X is only stuck behind the other 5 emails X has sent this month, not all 100 emails in the inbox. You can get up to date with emails from a given person all at once, and now you've hit a milestone where you can try to stay at Inbox Zero for that person only.. and then you add another person, etc. I'd love to be able to stay on top of my email for just a few people -- a function I approximate right now by having a personal email for those people only that I guarantee I will stay on top of. But I'd be great if it didn't matter where they emailed me and I could always guarantee their email wouldn't get buried in the heap.

3. Inbox Infinite: These people don't bother cleaning anything out of their inbox. Their real inbox is the *unread* portion of their inbox, and the read messages in their inbox make up their archive. One of my college roommates did this. I have no idea how he made it work, but he did. For these people, there's no difference between showing inbox only contacts and all contacts. I think that's significantly less useful than an inbox-only view, but to each their own.

On Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 1:16 AM, Marvin W <gnome larma de> wrote:
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?

One way to address this might be to apply Geary's existing autocomplete prioritising to the contact list, which considers not only addresses you have received mail from, but addresses you have sent mail to. So in the case of mailing lists, people you have sent mail to would be sorted above people who have only sent mail to you via the list. Taking into account frequency of contact would help further.

This would be reasonable.

If this was the case, then the scope of the contacts view could potentially widened to include not only just those conversations in the Inbox, but also Drafts, Sent and Archive. In fact, ordering contacts based on which mailbox(es) they have messages in might also be another criteria to sort on.

I think we have different views of why this feature would be useful.

I don't care about quickly finding the contact who I want to compose a message to. It's already really easy to compose a message to someone using autocompletion. On a phone -- where typing is a pain -- and in an IM client -- which lends itself to short-form conversations over long-form compositions -- a recently-contacted list makes a lot of sense. With email and a full size keyboard, not so much. We're not looking for a single ongoing conversation, we're looking at several different conversations that involve the same person.

So why would this be useful to me? Because of what I outlined in #2 above: it's a different way to work through my Inbox and to stay on top of the emails that really matter. Including Archive or Sent means I'm no longer looking only at "things I have to deal with", which would make this feature much less useful. Including Drafts seems reasonable.

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