Two programming projects for Thunderbird
Cassiel C. MacAvity
Proposed; an email display ranking sort filter for Thunderbird, or any other email program
In Thunderbird, one can filter and then display by quite a number of ways, label, time, subject, etc. What I would like to be able to do is to set up filters for a numbered priority sort and then display, where messages from email@example.com are given the priority of 1, and then turn up at the top of a display, are then subsequently sorted by date, with threading as a preset default, as is mostly usual unless reconfigured. Messages from firstname.lastname@example.org are then given second priority, turning up after the 1 priority messages, also with all other threading and date and such rules applying. Messages from the Three mailing list then get sorted after the 2 priority messages, full threading, order by date, and so forth in the format of being mailing list traffic.
Any number of filters can be set for 1, 2, etc, be they several different subjects, from several people, particular date(s), whatnot, all the same numbers getting the same numbered priority setting and subsequent behavior within that priority sort. Any number of the numbered priority filters also work in conjunction with other filters, so that when email@example.com posts to me, those emails are ranked at 1, but when firstname.lastname@example.org posts to the Five mailing list, with the Five mailing list ranked at 5, then the posts of email@example.com remain grouped with the Five mailing list posts, which themselves all remain subsequently sorted by date, thread, whatever the additional configurations.
Included in this would be a feature where if a message met absolutely no filter parameter, it could be given a number of zero or infinity, where such unsorted messages would then also be sorted by date, with full threading and the works, where zero would precede 1, and infinity would follow the largest sort number in the numbered priority filter list. With this last, when setting for zero, a lot of spam could hit the top of the list and get killed off quickly, messages from new correspondents would then become more visible because they come up before everything else, or one could set such for the reverse, and go combing through The Rest after reading through the previously known traffic. Also, if I want to set my sort numbers at 10, 20, 30, 40, I can do that, filling in the spacing as I wish. And finally, if I wish to straighten up my numbers, so that my filters don't read as 1, 2, 7, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29, 32, 33, I can set the incrementing by 1, by 5 or by 10, and have the sequence cleaned up with one sweep, resetting the numbers to be 1, 2, 3 ,4 or 5, 10, 15, 20, or 10, 20, 30, 40 . . . without changing the priority.
The Five Reply Buttons;
Based on my reading and experiences with Mutt, Thunderbird needs five buttons/options/whatnot.
1) We need Reply To Sender that is irrevocable and cannot be overridden, for a message that returns directly to the person who has posted, and Only to the person who has posted. This is rather unsurprising for communication between two individuals, but then there are other circumstances. The particular wrinkle that needs to be addressed is for those mailing lists that have been broken so that All email that has gone through the list is then being hijacked to go back to the list regardless of the actual wish of the sender. "Reply to Sender" *Must* go to Only the sender, all attempts to the contrary Must be overridden . . . Why yes, I Have watched email hand grenades go ripping through a mailing list because an incompetent mailing list owner reset things to totally discourteously and dishonorably force all replies back to the list, and users were not warned that the list was broken . . . and I see this happen even when the users Have been warned that the list is so broken, because most users just want to communicate, and having to email through a deliberate minefield is inexcusable and Not in the normal mindset . . .
---Note, Thunderbird, as it is currently coded, follows the lead of the list setting, rather than the expected override and reply to Only the sender . . .
2) We need Reply To All, in the sense of a genuine Reply To every address in the email immediate history, for there are the times that three or more people who are not a mailing list are all posting to each other, and for that, there is no list to reply to.
3) We need Group only/List only, to indeed permit one reply to go out to mailing list, when a mailing list is identified in the collection of addresses that will be involved in a multiple address, mailing list included, message. As a thought, this reply can not be so stripped of headers that it makes the impossible claim of miraculously arriving from the list alone, such being impossible---and I have run into people who claim that yes, and mailing list is miraculously the source of a message that has passed through that list . . .
4) We need Forward, which can include the entire set of message headers, for those occasions of leaving a message exactly as it is, down to the included display of All of the headers(1), and then sending it off to another or others. In some cases, there are messages that need to get handed off in situ, be they important announcements for members of some organization, be they examples of spam that thus remain complete down to the headers that can convict a spammer.
5) We need Bounce/Reroute, something, to hand off exclusively to another or others without being included oneself. This is for those occasions that A posts to B, B realizes that C(D, E, F, Etc) possesses the greater interest, so B therefore bounces the message to C, etc, letting C, etc. see the message as the original message from A, letting A and C, etc. thus correspond without having to disentangle the inclusion of B.---this is a feature of Mutt
(1) Oh, by the way, we need a regular display of the headers of an email to then Include the headers As Part Of The Email, and not just have them as a separate display, separate from the text. Sometimes one needs to cut and paste headers, and forcing headers into their own window separate from the text really is Not of any use.
Finally, following a request I ran across at one point, I don't think making a default of any of these is really feasible; All I see in demanding a default is on one hand, having the settings, deciding which is the master button, how to do the design, having to code for a grand reset of all the buttons or other settings, hopefully the code for all the resets works, yeah it'll get debugged, HowEver . . . . Or on the other hand, and much simpler, just code for the five options, display five buttons, and go with that.
© Cassiel C. MacAvity