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What is the easiest way to enable users to mark messages on IMAP server. We have setup where multiple users are monitoring one Inbox, and when message comes, someone should "take" it, or asign it to someone, something like a task.

Just prepending or appending user name to subject would be enough. This however has to be done in a way that all other users see this. Flags system with only one flag and without words is not enough.

Is there email client which allows this or it has to be server side configured? If I have to go server side route please post some guidelines.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

An alternative we used in one of my jobs was to create subfolders in the mailbox with each user's name, plus one for completed tasks. Assigned emails are moved to the user's folder. When they complete it, they move it to the completed folder, along with any responses they generated. Not exactly sure how the server/client was set up, but changes the clients made to move emails around were propogated to the server and then back down to all the clients.

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We finally went this route since it is so simple to implement. – Milan Feb 18 '12 at 20:49

Well, there is a question here that discusses modifying mail headers using local filters in the mail client. Since you're working with IMAP, changes that you do locally will be propagated back to the server.

However, since mail filters are probably not flexible enough for you, I do not think that that approach really solves your problem. I see two alternatives for you:

  1. Use a trouble ticket system. There are (also open source) systems that take emails as input and create a task or "ticket" from them. People will be assigned to those tasks, subsequent mails will be connected to the tasks etc. -- quite exactly what you are asking for.

  2. If you need to stay on your one-shared-IMAP-folder approach: Why don't you just answer to the mails? If, say, you get a message from Alice to your address tasks@yourcompany.tld, and Bob wants to take it, he can reply to tasks@yourcompany.tld (not to Alice) with an empty mail using only a subject line like "assigned to Bob". That way, all your users will see his reply below the customer's mail and know that this thread's assigned to him.

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