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I'm a happy long time Wanderlust user. Since I adopted Inbox Zero, however, I feel that archiving read emails does not work very well with Wanderlust and ordinary IMAP folders, because when a new message comes in, you have no idea which thread the mail belongs to.

GMail, however, have very nice feature called Conversation View. With this feature, a MUA can bring back the archived related messages along with the new message just came in to my inbox. Thunderbird also has a plugin called Thunderbird Conversations. This is also good.

Note that I'm not interested in the user interface of conversation view, but its functionality to bring related messages back in to my inbox.

There is a list of Emacs MUA but I'm not sure any of them support the feature or not.

So, my questions are:

  • Does Wanderlust support conversation view already? if not,
  • Is there code out there to hook in to wl-summary-sync-updated-hook? if not,
  • Is there any MUA for Emacs with conversation view?, if none,
  • Do you have any advice except "Use GMail or Thunderbird"?
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2 Answers 2

I don't know about Wanderlust, but Gnus has something that's similar to what you're looking for. By default, Gnus will only show unread messages in a folder, so if you define "archiving" as "mark read and leave in folder", you will by default only see new messages but can bring back the conversation (or "thread", as Gnus calls it) with A T.

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I don't think what you are looking for has much to do with conversation views (even though I agree that such views are nice). Basic threaded message functionality is enough to group message threads.

You want to archive messages, meaning you want to save them in other folders and delete them from the INBOX. Then, when a new message arrives in an old thread, you want the old archived messages of the thread to be silently moved back to the INBOX. Gmail can do that kind of thing relatively easily, because mail folders in Gmail are "virtual". All the folders really live in the same physical folder and have different labels put on them.

In a normal mail client sitting on a desk top PC, you don't really want such a feature, because it would be too time-consuming to search through all the archives to find the thread that a new message belongs to. I am sure that it can be implemented, by maintaining a global database of all the messages in all the archived folders etc., but there would need to be sufficiently large clientele that believes in "inbox zero" for any developer to think of going to such trouble.


As things exist, you can fake archiving in a powerful mail client like VM as follows:

  • Create a label, say "archived", and use it to make messages archived.

  • In the normal view of the INBOX, hide all the threads that have only archived messages.

Then as soon as a new message comes into an old thread, the thread becomes visible because it now has a non-archived message as part of it.

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