A lot of projects have a large volume of posts and replies on their mailing lists, even on their user lists which don't include posts targeting developers. It's sometimes necessary to post an issue or a support request on the mailing list because the project enforces it or developers refused an enhancement request to improve the intuitive usage of the software on the issue tracker.

Even though it might be considered impolite and self-centered, it's often not possible to follow more of the list than just the conversation following such an isolated post. The behavior should be abandoned as soon as the involvement with the project increases, of course.

In Thunderbird 52, I found that ignoring threads is a blessing, however it still requires to go through all the folders where a filter sorts-in the messages based on the sending address regularly and to select a wide range of messages. This is still far from being able to only follow my own threads imo. The notifications about unread messages still are the most severe problem here.

I even went further and added a Thunderbird filter which automatically marks threads which are not starred and not sent by me as ignored which should lead to a notification only if I receive a reply to one of my posts. Example:

If from, to, cc is [mail list address]
and status isn't starred
and from isn't [my address]
-> mark as read and ignore thread

However these filters run only if I execute them manually even though they are configured to run for the same actions like the filters sorting the mail into folder which work fine automatically.

It shouldn't make any difference to create the rules as Thunderbird or sieve filter on the server side - except if sieve has more capabilities than Thunderbird.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/351318/best-practices-to-follow-read-large-mailing-lists explains the problem (not as good as this question I might add :)), but doesn't offer any solutions.

I didn't find any useful add-on for this problem going through the summaries of a search for "mailing list" on https://addons.thunderbird.net.

  • Please note that I'm not looking for external solutions exclusively, but also seeking help on the thunderbird filter and potential sieve solutions. – Karl Richter Aug 25 '18 at 9:23

You are correct, there are no add-ons or outright "solutions" that will automatically follow your threads, or threads to which you have posted.

My approximations to this problem are to

  1. tag (label) any posting in the thread, so that the thread title is colored even if the thread is collapsed
  2. set a thread to watched, which puts an icon in front of the thread, and then all watched threads can then be selected using View > Threads > Watched Threads with Unread
  3. install quickfilter watched threads which adds an icon to the filter toolbar

By doing #1 you can also filter (ctrl+K) newgroup postings on the "tag" attribute. But #3 is currently the best solution.

There are also some interesting bug reports, two if which are

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