Comp. Sci. / Eng. General interest

Quick Survey – Deletion of Single Email Messages

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I know this may be a bit unusual for the typical fare, but since we have a number of engineers and other tech-savvy readers, I thought I would solicit your help with a quick tech-related survey.

Recently I have been in discussion with a Google engineer about gmail. The discussion began when he asked me which email address (among several that I have) I preferred to use. I replied that I would use gmail more if the mobile Android app permitted deletion of single messages, rather than entire conversations. He seemed surprised that anyone would want to delete a single message and asked me for some “use cases” that would call for deletion of a single message, rather than an entire thread. I have started preparing a response and have several use cases of my own, but thought I would widen the net a bit and solicit some input from other tech-savvy folks.

So without further ado, here is my simple, wholly unscientific survey:

1. Which email client(s) do you use?

2. Do you prefer to see your emails grouped (a) in conversation view or (b) in single-message view by chronology?

3. In either case, are there situations in which you would want to delete a single message, rather than deleting an entire thread/conversation?

4. Does your current email client allow you to delete single messages? On the desktop, on the mobile app, both?

As a bonus:

5. If you are a gmail user, would you find it useful to be able to delete single messages on the mobile app?

—–

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Also, any other related input or feedback would be great.

Thanks,

18 Replies to “Quick Survey – Deletion of Single Email Messages

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    2. (b)
    3. YES
    4. YES
    5. YES

    LoL though at Use Cases. Tell him/her that use cases are so UML. Would he/she be willing to accept a User Story instead?

  2. 2
    DebianFanatic says:

    1. Thunderbird on my Linux desktop & MacBook; occasionally KMail; Gmail on my Android phone, and GMail on when I want to do a search of my email, or when I’m on the machines of other people/cafes/libraries/etc.

    2. Usually Threaded (Conversation Mode); I’m not terribly fond of GMail’s Conversation Mode, but I prefer it to not being in Convo Mode.

    3. I often delete single messages in Thunderbird, and sometimes in the full web GMail (which has the feature, whereas the mobile app does not).

    4. Yes/No; see #3 above.

    5. Perhaps; but I’ve done fine without it. I’m not particularly fond of the mobile app in general; I just put up with its quirks because it seems more “native” to my Android device than does third-party email clients.

  3. 3
    News says:

    1. Gmail

    2. Wish I could choose.

    3. For sure there are times when I’d like to save only the reply to my question that contains an answer, as opposed to “I have the same problem.”

    4. If Gmail lets me do that, I don’t know how.

    5. I wish it did.

  4. 4
    rvb8 says:

    Deleting a single message means you would like to fool yourself into believing that there is no one who does hold apposing views to those of your own; this is called self- censorship, or more typically, cowardice. I know that this is standard practice here, but I must ask why would you want to live in a world which thinks exactly as you do?

    The Charlie Hebdo nuts thought the same. They wanted you merely, to praise an illiterate psychopath, not to ever take this illiterate fools name in vain, and to take every fart from this illiterate psychopath as the breath of a violet. This poster (and by association, site), displays an inability to let alternative ideas to enter his/its comfort zone. You do this by wanting to eradicate,’single messages’; perhaps this one.

    The author says that his post is, ‘a bit unusual for the typical fare.’ He need not be worried, this distraction from science and the understanding of our world, is actually entirely typical here. Cue the side arguments on hermeneutics, philosophy, obscure personal theories, and the relevance of quantum mechanics to positive evidence for god; as if god could not help here by doing something,…positive perhaps?

    UD Editors: Here endeth the mean spirited rant.

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    rvb8, please define the use case.

  6. 6
    MrCollins says:

    A couple examples would be when you receive duplicates that are not the same thing and wish to keep the correct version.

    Another would be if you have an email chain in the last email and don’t want to keep all the extra emails with it.

    Better filtering of a group email conversation

    Just a couple ideas. People use their emails so differently that I’m sure many people would find it useful

  7. 7
    awstar says:

    1. Which email client(s) do you use?

    Apple’s Mail

    2. Do you prefer to see your emails grouped (a) in conversation view or (b) in single-message view by chronology?

    b. (I don’t trust other computer programers to think for me.)

    3. In either case, are there situations in which you would want to delete a single message, rather than deleting an entire thread/conversation?

    I usually only delete one message at a time, either just after I read it or later with multiple messages selected by MY choice. Sometimes all messages selected from one sender (spam)

    4. Does your current email client allow you to delete single messages? On the desktop, on the mobile app, both?

    yes, on the desktop, on an app, through a browser in the cloud.

    5. If you are a gmail user, would you find it useful to be able to delete single messages on the mobile app?

    n.a.

  8. 8
    humbled says:

    Rvb8 says “…you would like to fool yourself into believing that there is no one who does hold apposing views to those of your own; this is called self- censorship”

    The irony is just too much haha. I bet you do this all the time lol.

    As for the murders, these fundamentalist’s have nothing on you atheist’s.. You’ve murdered hundreds of millions with your anti human philosophies and deranged worldview.

    If not kept in line you lunatics would find some way to exterminate billions….

  9. 9
    Learned Hand says:

    1. Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo’s small-business webmail.

    2. (a), conversation view

    3. Not normally–not at all that I can remember, in fact–but I can imagine situations in which I would. Attorneys sometimes need to delete information (for example, when documents are clawed back after an inadvertent production to opposing counsel). I’ve sometimes emailed blocks of text to myself for later review, so I can see needing to delete an individual email. In that case, though, it would require deleting everything that quotes that email in the reply, too. That’s probably the case for most uses of this capability that I can imagine.

    4. Outlook does; not sure about GMail or Yahoo.

    5. Not really.

  10. 10
    Moose Dr says:

    RVB8, “Deleting a single message means you would like to fool yourself into believing that there is no one who does hold apposing views to those of your own”

    You’re pretty sure that the only reason one would want to delete a single e-mail is to delete e-mails that have an alternative on-topic view, right?

  11. 11
    polistra says:

    I’ve been accustomed to AOL mail which doesn’t force the thread-pattern. Had to use Gmail for work this year and found it hugely annoying. The people on the other end were always referring me to “the bottom of the thread” instead of just retyping what they wanted me to hear. I probably screwed up their expectations by trying to delete unneeded messages.

    Mostly, the Google engineer’s response to your query is just so damn typical of all arrogant techbullies in all arrogant tech situations. Their SOLE response to EVERY question is “Why in the world would you want to do that?” They can’t get past that point; can’t even SEE the real question, let alone answer it.

    They are incapable of understanding that the world still contains a FEW humans who are not yet 100.000% Googlebotted. All humans must think identically to me, because I am the IDEAL and PERFECT human. Infantile ego.

  12. 12
    Eric Anderson says:

    Thanks, everyone (except rvb8), for your relevant and useful comments.

  13. 13
    es58 says:

    I use yahoo, and as soon as I figured out how to stop the thread grouping I got rid of it. Seemed like every time you forwarded a single e-mail, you forwarded the whole thread. That’s *really* not what I would want.

  14. 14
    Eric Anderson says:

    es58:

    Yeah, Yahoo! used to have the traditional chronological approach to email.

    Then Marissa Mayer became CEO of Yahoo! in 2012 (swinging over from Google) and promptly forced the conversation view, among other changes, naively thinking that the way Google was doing it must be the right approach and that it surely would be what Yahoo! users would really want if only they were smart enough to know it.

    There was tremendous public outcry from users and Yahoo! finally had to back off after getting a lot of egg on their face. At least Yahoo! has the sense to give you the option to completely shut down the conversation/threaded approach, including in their mobile app.

  15. 15
    groovamos says:

    seen here: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-a-source/

    rvb8:

    The articles about various contributors, editors, and ‘experts’ from Uncommon Descent, as well as their articles on Intelligent Design and Specified Complexity are spot on.

    groovamos:

    See friend, when you use single quotes in that fashion, you may think it clever, but truthfully you come here in order to insult. This is the elephant in the room, how you guys just can’t seem to resist this site and come here to denigrate because it is all you have when you get pushed against the wall.

    rvb8:

    groovamos, I don’t think you are my friend.

    See the thing is dude (I don’t believe a woman would exhibit your behavior correct me if I’m wrong), when someone here refers to you as “friend” it is a figure of speech, and a somewhat conciliatory one. Since you atheist/materialist guys experience a serious shortage of women with similar world view, one might assume your bitterness derives from that and drives you to the schoolyard huff and puff like that last retort.

    False praise, and undeserved kow-towing to non-laudable demi-achievement appears to be an heritable trait.

    With a masters degree in electrical engineering and a PhD thesis in progress, I could use a reviewer and I pay. Want to give it a shot? You would have to be skilled in classical signals and systems and information theory.

    groovamos:

    You post to denigrate the people here and the thinking that goes into what we here have to say, and not to engage in honest debate. And the fact that you guys get to feel all giddy inside after such behavior is pathetic.

    rvb8:

    You might be right about coming here to denigrate. However you do make for easy targets. For example I enjoy PandasThumb very much and often creationists go there to denigrate the ideas espoused. They fail dismally, and more often than not when presented with arguments from ‘real’ scientists usually are reduced to apoplexy.

    So I suppose I am asking a simple question; where is your evidence for design? Perhaps it is so convincing that one day it might be taught in schools. Reduce me to apoplexy.

    OK see if you can take up my challenge starting at post #216 paragraph 4 on the below linked thread and taken up by WD400 at #234 who might come on here and tell us if they have a PhD in the life sciences. WD400 didn’t do too well but at least he/she engaged in debate without heavy dependence on insult like yourself. Go ahead add you two cents to my challenge on that thread. Tell me how that structure arose and got wired together: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....gn-theory/

  16. 16
    Querius says:

    Great points all, groovamos!

    I would add that when someone resorts to abuse, it means that they’ve run out of intelligent arguments and are thus conceding the argument.

    Regarding the informal survey, I do have a Gmail account and I’m a mobile user. I find that the Gmail app is far too clunky. Yes, I do delete individual messages from threads, but that’s primarily to remove unimportant fluff. In my work, contrary views are especially important and I make sure to save them.

    -Q

  17. 17
    Learned Hand says:

    Does forwarding an email in a threaded chain actually forward the whole chain? I thought forwarding worked the same in both systems, and it would only append past messages insofar as they were quoted in the text of the forwarded email.

  18. 18
    Learned Hand says:

    By the way, I just checked the Yahoo webmail client for the small business system. It does permit switching to a conversation view, and it does seem to let you delete individual messages out of a conversation. Not sure if that’s any different from the standard client, but if the datapoint is helpful there it is.

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