Most mail readers have a feature by which incoming messages can be sorted into categories (folders) based on characteristics of the message, such as the sender, the mailing list it was sent to, the priority assigned to the message, etc. The rules defining this sorting process are called “Filters” by Mozilla Mail and “Message Rules” by Outlook Express. These filters/rules are generally quite static; if you are computer-savvy enough to figure out how to create a filter, you set it up and leave it alone. However, I have found that static filters frequently do not meet my needs: I want to manually sort messages into various folders, and then have the mailreader filter all replies to these messages into that same folder. For example, I am currently involved in 100+ Mozilla bugs, divided into several general categories:
xpinstall/installer (mainly as a reviewer)
build config (random crap)
RDF implementation bugs and API redesign
I want the ability to sort messages from two mailing lists, several newsgroups, private mails, and bugmails into folders for each of these categories. I don’t find it especially onerous to drag the “first” bugmail, private mail to the subfolder. But after that, I want all subsequent mails to be auto-sorted into the correct category.
It doesn’t seem to me that this would be especially hard, if we’re only discussing email. Newsgroup messages are a lot harder to handle in this scheme. Maybe I’ll break down and use the mailing-list versions of the netscape.public.mozilla.* groups instead.
P. S. I also want the view-sorting mechanism to be smarter; my preferred view-sort would be “threads with unread messages first, and then threads sorted by the newest message in the thread.”