I'm sharing an IMAP mailbox with another person. So we both have IMAP clients, in order to read mail messages and post some.

However, when I read a message, its state is set to "seen" (or "read"), usually by flagging it. But, I also want the other person to notice this message as "unread" (or "unseen"), so I change its state to "unread".

This policy of reading the mail is less than optimal.

Is there an extension to IMAP so that a message could have the extra "meta-data" of "read by user x"? I think it's possible by flagging the message, but it also needs the IMAP client GUI to implement this.

  • 2
    I assume not EVERY message needs to be read by both? As an aside: I doubt there is a solution; as an alternative to flagging you might consider using folders for some workflow. – Arjan Mar 21 '15 at 13:38
  • @arjan correct, not every message needs to be read by both of us. – Ron Klein Mar 21 '15 at 14:59

I used to use folders and flags as a means of dealing with this...

In reality, what it sounds like you're trying to implement/want are read receipts. Basically, an indication that the email in question was read by someone down the line. The only problem is that only some mail clients/servers play nicely with it.


Another roundabout way you could get around this is to reconfigure a server with a quarantine mechanism. You setup an email group alias. This email alias forwards to both your individual email alias addresses but at the same time puts it into a quarantine. Both of you need to go into quarantine in order to release the emails in question for each person and confirm that you have read them. You can confirm that the person has released the mail by parsing various logs and create relevant scripts. Obviously, this solution is cumbersome and requires a lot of work but basically replicates read receipt functionality...



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