I'm starting to think there's something wrong with me. The majority of inbox views I've seen on others' computers have new messages coming in at the top. That is, they're sorted from newest to oldest. They're treating their inbox as a stack.

I, on the other hand, treat mine as a queue. I sort from oldest to newest, so the newest ones appear at the bottom.

Which do you do? Why?

Posted by jzawodn at October 28, 2004 10:57 AM

Reader Comments
# Chris said:

I'm the same as you — Thunderbird shows its mail from oldest to newest — that is, the natural order as we tend to read from top-to-bottom, not the reverse. Simple.

Shame Gmail aren't keen on letting us have the same there.

on October 28, 2004 11:01 AM
# Chris said:

P.S. Previewing a post then editing it doesn't appear to work, as the "Jeremy's first name" field doesn't seem to carry over, thus the posting fails.

on October 28, 2004 11:02 AM
# chad said:

How can anyone follow a conversation thread in a stack view? It's like reading a mystery book, starting with reveal at the end...

on October 28, 2004 11:02 AM
# Jon Gales said:

I have new mail at the top. Just how it has always been I suppose, RSS and blogging has made it seem even more natural.

on October 28, 2004 11:03 AM
# Ed Maas said:

I too prefer the more natural top to bottom feel. Most of the clients i have used in the past do this in the same fashion. Gmail, ironically to me feels more like a chaotic mess then an organizational scheme. I am really only using it for mailing lists since i find myself going to the archives and using google to search through those when looking for answers 50% of the time anyway. Just my 2cents.

Ed

on October 28, 2004 11:04 AM
# Geof F. Morris said:

Jeremy: I've done it both ways. More recently, I've put oldest at the top in my desktop clients. In my Webmail, where the UI sucks much harder, I have it newest-at-top.

on October 28, 2004 11:05 AM
# Ani said:


To me stack is a natural choice as I don't want
to scroll down 2 screens just to take a look at
the new incoming e-mail(s).

In case you have missed, the above statement had
a hidden fact - one of these days, I have to sit
down and clean up my inbox ...

on October 28, 2004 11:09 AM
# tankgirl said:

I suppose they should be used as a queue. I'm pretty sure mine's always been a stack because every mail agent has had new messages exactly at the place on the screen where my eyes were drawn to.

on October 28, 2004 11:13 AM
# Stephan Segraves said:

Oldest to newest for me. It just makes sense I guess. To look at the top of your mailbox to see new messages just comes off as awkward.

on October 28, 2004 11:20 AM
# Jaxn said:

I read left to right, top to bottom, and that is not something I can change. I list new messages at the bottom. Otherwise I would be reading the reply before I read the original message. However, if I wasn't on so many email lists then newest first might be ok since most references would be to emails I sent.

-Jackson

on October 28, 2004 11:22 AM
# Wade said:

I'm with you - oldest at the top, newest at the bottom. That works better for me organizationally.

on October 28, 2004 11:25 AM
# Dougal Campbell said:

I also prefer newest at the bottom. I probably picked up this view of "the right way" from my use of terminal-based email programs (mail, pine, elm).

I've tried setting GUI clients like Outlook or Thunderbird to sort newest-on-bottom, but I eventually gave up, because there are just facets of their interfaces that almost seem to expect the stack behavior.

on October 28, 2004 11:33 AM
# jim winstead said:

queue, because i still use mutt.

on October 28, 2004 11:40 AM
# Manuzhai said:

Newest on top. I think it makes more sense, I want to check out any new messages first. If they're urgent, I'll process them immediately, then move them off to another folder, if they're not they can sink for a while until I clean them up.

Also, when I look at another folder, I'm always more interested in recent mail. I think it makes a lot of sense.

on October 28, 2004 11:48 AM
# Adam Fields said:

I also use mutt, particularly threaded, so new messages go at the bottom.

I illustrated this here.

on October 28, 2004 11:48 AM
# Satya said:

I have a queue. Had it in Pine, in Evolution, in mutt, in thunderbird.

on October 28, 2004 11:50 AM
# ConversionRater said:

Queue style oldest on top to newest on the bottom for me. Someone's comment about having to scroll for new mail doesn't work that way in an email app like Thunderbird or Outlook. The mail reader displays newest messages at the bottom and focuses the window there.

on October 28, 2004 11:50 AM
# Mike G. said:

Stack.

Then again, I read my new mail as it comes in, and I find the "stack" view works best for that.

on October 28, 2004 11:51 AM
# Mike Kruckenberg said:

I've done both, and have most recently been treating it as a stack. I don't think looking through email titles is really "reading" as much as it is scanning for words in title, sender or date fields. For me it's just what you're used to, do you like to scroll down to see the past or up.

Either way, if you get an email that needs action and don't take care of it before it gets pushed off the screen you may forget about it.

Perhaps another question to ask is how many messages are in your current inbox.

on October 28, 2004 11:54 AM
# Michal Migurski said:

I sort mine as a stack, but I can see advantages to the queue model as well.
Are there any mail clients that do both, sorting mail by absolute difference in time from the newest *or* oldest entry?
E.g., both newest and oldest items show up on top, and the stuff that's sort-of in the middle at the bottom? This would be interesting.

on October 28, 2004 11:55 AM
# Mark Papadakis said:

Ideally, the queue model would be the best - for first in messages should get your attention first, and possibly replied to first.

This does not work very well through, for inbox listings can grow many pages long, therefore enforcing you to either catalogue everything you get into many different folders, in order to reduce clutter and time to reach to the new messages.

There are quite a few other practial reasons why the queue model does not work. But, just like everything in 'our world', someone can simply put his mind in good use and a provide a great solution for using the queue model AND not having to go through all the troubles of utilizing this concept.

on October 28, 2004 12:01 PM
# Knight37 said:

I have my inbox sorted newest on top. Why? Because I have several screens of messages in there and I do not want to have to scroll down to see the new ones. Usually I'm more interested in newer messages than older ones, so having it sorted this way means I have less scrolling to do. When new mail comes in, it is marked in bold. I then jump to the lowest bolded message, which is the oldest, and read messages going up. Since i get about 10 new messages per each time I check mail (unless I've been gone), then they all fit on the first screen, so no scrolling. So I agree with everyone who reads their messages oldest first. So do I. But I sort them the other way so I can see the new messages without scrolling.

on October 28, 2004 12:05 PM
# Tristan said:

I've been using a stack for a while, afters years of using a queue.

I guess it's down to the type of email you receive. Back in the days where I was subscribed to half a dozen mailing lists, a stack would have made very little sense.
These days, most of my daily "catching up with the world" is done using RSS, so a stack is pretty convenient.

I'm seriously considering using a queue again though, the stack approach makes it a bit too easy to leave stuff for later only to never bother dealing with them.

on October 28, 2004 12:08 PM
# Morgan Schweers said:

Greetings,
Stack, and that's how I had mutt configured when I used it (well, I still do sometimes, in fact, but much rarer now).

Now that I use a graphical mail reader (Mail.app, in my case), replies are kept with the original message in collapsed threads, so I don't have a 'reading the reply first' problem.

Every time I've tried to go to a more 'logical' seeming new messages at the bottom, I've just mentally rebelled against it, as while it may be more logical, it doesn't fit with the way my mind works.

I *want* to see the new messages first. I don't READ them in that order, but I want to see them first. (I don't read them in any consistent order but in a predictable pattern, mass-junking spam, then cherry-picking pieces of work, personal, etc., before going on to read (in bottom-up fashion) the things I don't care to prioritize.

gmail was instantly and perfectly intuitive to me, because of this. (Well, I want a 'combine these threads' option, which would make it perfect, I think.)

I still use mutt sometimes, and I order it the same way, and I used to use mush before that, and would always be displaying the newest messages, ordered by newest first. That might be where I got it.

It's more likely, however, that I got it from news reading packages (trn and its wonderful cousin strn) where I always had it 'newest first', because it didn't hide the articles that I'd already read. So if I sat down to read Usenet, I wanted to see the newest articles first. Thus, most likely, was my habit born.

It's just a mental model of how things work.

I rearranged NetNewsWire to do this, but it's not terribly smart about it, unfortunately, and subtly discourages this behavior.

-- Morgan Schweers

on October 28, 2004 12:12 PM
# Philip Tellis said:

I have threaded order, so new mails do not necessarily go to the bottom, they could go anywhere in my Inbox, depending on where the thread is located.

I use pine to read email, and it will automatically jump to where the first new message is. Hitting tab after that will go to the next new message. I don't have to scroll through hundreds of old messages (I have about 2000 in my inbox).

Before I used thread view, I would have newest at the bottom, and pine would jump to the first new message. People with screwed up system clocks sometimes sent mails that went to the top.

on October 28, 2004 12:16 PM
# Artem Frolov said:

I'm much like Mr. Geof F. Morris: I keep it newest at the bottom in the mail client, newest at the top in the Webmail, because HTML page does not automatically brings you down to the newest message.

I guess that depends on the background: I started with pine and then moved to thunderbird. It's kind of UNIX way, because this is the order of 'less /var/mail/frolov' :). People that started with Outlook (Express) usually stick to the newest-at-top.

BTW, I do not consider my mail neither stack nor queue - I rely on filters (automatic or one-time) to sort my mail. And as a system programmer, I know that stacks grow in either direction.

on October 28, 2004 12:24 PM
# Danne said:

Man, I guess I'm a hybrid. I use the stack view, but I read my emails from the bottom of the newest on up. Weird...

on October 28, 2004 12:26 PM
# Timboy said:

A stack. Why? I don't know, because it doesn't make any sense. Or alternately, because I would now be answering emails from 1997.

Think of the amusing chaos that would ensue if human queues at the bank and the grocery store were stacks instead ...

(How about just removing the preview button, since it's broken by the what's-my-first-name feature?)

on October 28, 2004 12:27 PM
# Peter said:

Its a personal preference. UserLand could go via a stack , queued or Grouped..

At the end of the day, whats most important is that a product does all three ( or even more) so that the broader spectrum of Humanity2.0 is served !!

"..our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it". Cluetrain Manifesto !!

/pd

dah ???
what was this "MT::App::Comments=HASH(0x8330bd4) Use of uninitialized value in pattern match (m//) at /home/jzawodn/public_html/mt/extlib/jayallen/MTBlPost.pm line 79. "

on October 28, 2004 12:55 PM
# ScottyM said:

I use a Q.

If a lot of mail piles up, I'd rather have a consistent response time, and it forces me to eventually get through all of them in order to get to the new stuff. Even if I don't do anything about the old stuff in the Q, at least I'm looking at it and doing nothing explicitly.

on October 28, 2004 12:55 PM
# ScottyM said:

I use a Q.

If a lot of mail piles up, I'd rather have a consistent response time, and it forces me to eventually get through all of them in order to get to the new stuff. Even if I don't do anything about the old stuff in the Q, at least I'm looking at it and doing nothing explicitly.

on October 28, 2004 12:55 PM
# said:

Stack, because of Outlook. Why, oh, why did my employer standardize on Exchange. My Inbox is usually lurking around ~200-300 messages, but I filter so only the current week is visible (which is messy enough by the way). I'd actually love using Gmail for work, but I don't think I can count the number of corporate policies this violates..

My personal mail, read with VM, is queue. VM's ability to jump to next unread, and isearches, are the main reasons why this works.

on October 28, 2004 12:59 PM
# rick gregory said:

Stack. If I want to follow a thread, I'll use a threaded view (Conversation in Outlook). Interesting how most of the replies here implicitly assume that we all use time/date sorting as the only view when most mail clients have many more choices for how to organize messages, usually including a threaded view.

The queue method make sense to me too, but I don't like to have long conversations via email, so if something goes on for more than a few messages I usualy jump into IM or actually (gasp) get everyone in the same room where we can (shock) talk to each other.

on October 28, 2004 01:03 PM
# Dave said:

I have mine in default pine style...new ones appear at the bottom.

on October 28, 2004 01:25 PM
# Joshua Allen said:

Conversations should show in queue, while they should be stacked with newest on top. The reasoning is, if an item is still in your inbox after 3 days, you obviously are not all that interested in reading it.

on October 28, 2004 01:26 PM
# Dan said:

Sounds like there's a pretty consistent split (with a few exceptions, of course) between:
old-school email users, who have become accustomed to newest-at-bottom from their BBS/mailx/VMS-mail/elm/PINE/mutt days, and
newer email users, who are accustomed to webmail interfaces, in which everything new bubbles to the top (mostly for programming convenience: How do you decide how many messages to show on the first page, such that the absolute newest message is still "above the fold" -- i.e., visible to the user without scrolling? in the 800x600 days this was a hard question to answer).

For what it's worth, the sort direction and the queue-vs-stack usage pattern (first-in-first-out, vs. last-in-first-out) are somewhat separable. That is, you could have your email sorted newest-at-top and still look at the very oldest unread message first, then move "up" the list, forward in time. In other words, queue-like access with newest-to-oldest ordering. It's probably not common, but it's certainly how I use GMail (I'm a FIFO/queue user, personally, and prefer newest-at-bottom in mutt and Mail.app, but GMail doesn't do this).

on October 28, 2004 01:37 PM
# Manish Jethani said:

I have a stack, because I want to see my new email first.

on October 28, 2004 01:40 PM
# Brock said:

A Queue. I use Pine. But it's not difficult for me to use Yahoo! Mail or other web-based clients that use a stack. *shrug* To me, it's not that big of a deal, as long as the default view always shows the latest messages.

on October 28, 2004 02:02 PM
# jr said:

Stack, with queue based conversations (I use thunderbird) The reason being that my organization system says that I keep older mails in folders. In some cases, this means hundreds or thousands of messages. Having the new conversations at the top works for me because I don't have to scroll to the bottom to read.

I also don't follow the idea of having to re-read a given thread everytime I want to reply to a message. Sure for archival purposes that's true, but for conversational purposes, it's like reiterating the entire conversation and then adding your comment.

but then, I also tend to commit the other great email sin of truncating prior conversation once it gets more than three levels deep. I've got the copy from an hour ago I can read, no need to add more heat death to the universe or add any more e-cholesterol to the internet.

on October 28, 2004 02:07 PM
# said:

Stack in folders, Queue in inbox. But I always sort email into folders when I go through the inbox so it never gets too full anyway.

on October 28, 2004 02:31 PM
# Dan Isaacs said:

new at the bottom. Honestly, I don't really understand how you visually handle moving down to start with the oldest unread messages. It just doesn'tseem to be very practical.

on October 28, 2004 03:05 PM
# Justin said:

I use a queue. Off my inbox folder I have:

- Action
- Completed
- Defer
- Delegate
- Reference
- Someday

Action Folder Basically as email comes in that I need to deal with I'll pop it into the action folder. This is used so that when I have free time I and view what items need my attention. You could further sort this by deadline, priority, etc. Just takes extra time to sort it.

Completed Folder Used as a reference for my completed action emails.

Defer, Deletgate, Reference, and Someday Folder You get the idea

Basically I try and keep my inbox clear so that I only have 10 emails in there and check it every couple hours. I move all action emails so I always have a running queue of what needs to take place. When completed move to the completed folder.

It's simple and ensures that I don't miss items by only using one folder (or heven forbid the unread system!!!!). I also use lookout for outlook so that I can easily find items. Saves me tons of time. This is a rip off of the GTD work system that I adapted after reading about it on someone's blog. Search for GDT if you want more info.

- justin

on October 28, 2004 03:40 PM
# Justin said:

Sorry that was GTD "Getting Things Done" not GDT the ticker symbol!

on October 28, 2004 03:43 PM
# James Smith said:

I use stack. I've just about always used stack, so I could see leave my email open all day/all night and look at the computer that has it open and see what new ones came in, then turn back around and work off my programming computer. But I do end up having to go back and check the nights emails for any important ones. Either way, I would have to scroll down, as long as a client gives you more than just a sort by Date/Time, I like it.

on October 28, 2004 04:16 PM
# Rick said:

I use the "stack" method I guess.. I prefer to see the newest messages on the top.. I've never thought of it as a stack vs. queue issue though. I guess I really ought to get out-of-the-box once in a while.

on October 28, 2004 04:32 PM
# |-neadfiles-| said:

My company's email is Outlook. I stack my email because of the long list I have and the frequency of incoming mail. This keeps me from having to scroll to the bottom of a long list to view new mail.
My home email program (I change up on a regular basis)InScribe, is set up as a queue with the newest at the bottom.
Hadn't given it much thought until now. Interesting question.

on October 28, 2004 05:18 PM
# Ryan said:

Since my trackback isn't going through, I'll paste my response here.

My mail is sorted from newest to oldest. The main reason is because I assign a sort of priority to newer mail. Also, if a reply is needed, I'll strt it and finish it while it's still fresh in my mind. If it isn't, then there's no need for me to see the mail without scrolling. I tried the opposite sorting method a few times and I always got frustrated with having to scroll to read new mail.

I'm lazy. So sue me. ;)

on October 28, 2004 05:26 PM
# Camilo Telles said:

Queue

on October 28, 2004 06:12 PM
# Todd Beaupre said:

Stack... so I don't have to turn my head upside down. I read everything on the computer from top to bottom. No scrolling necessary is a good reason.

on October 28, 2004 06:29 PM
# Kannappan said:

Queue on Lotus Notes Mail Client
Stack on gmail & Y!mail

Comfortable with 'em

on October 28, 2004 06:33 PM
# Grant Root said:

Queue.

I use Pegasus Mail for Windows, which lets me specify the sort for each folder. A few more log-type folders I sort with the newest at the top. But for anything I actually read through (like the Inbox) I just feel more comfortable moving downward through the list. It seems more intuitive to hit "Next" for the chronologically-following message.

Notice, though, that many of the "stack" users above are really just using a vertically-inverted queue -- they still do "oldest first".

on October 28, 2004 07:16 PM
# Jonathan Aquino said:

I'm proud to say neither! I do GTD, so my inbox is always empty. (GTD is a time-management approach)

on October 28, 2004 08:45 PM
# Jason Fesler said:

I do a combined approach, stack and queue. The new stuff I read, to handle the quick and easy stuff. The stuff that isn't so quick and easy, I do more in arrival order.

on October 28, 2004 08:48 PM
# Jack said:

Stack. I'd been using the Queue method for a while, and with Thunderbird, scrolling isn't a problem. One day I just switched to stack and never looked back. I dunno, it just feels more natural.

on October 28, 2004 08:58 PM
# Jeramey said:

I use oldest on top otherwise my inbox would build up with an endless amount of clutter. I'm lazy at cleaning out my inbox. I keep way too much junk.

on October 28, 2004 10:48 PM
# Michael Stevens said:

I use a queue, oldest to newest. My mail client will open with the first unread mail highlighted, and then can jump to the next unread mail, and I read the new mail from oldest new -> newest new.

Having newest first just seems backwards. Having the list go one way and reading in the other direction would be most confusing of all.

Many of the people who like a stack model seem to assume that mail clients will always open at the start of the list.

on October 29, 2004 03:03 AM
# Dougal Campbell said:

Some additional notes to what I said earlier about GUI clients not handling newest-on-bottom well.

The problem I've seen is that my *desired* behavior follows what Pine does. When I first launch my MUA, I want it to initially locate the first unread message. I haven't used Outlook for several months now, so I don't remember what its behavior is when you use the queue. But I just tried it again in Thunderbird, which zooms down to the very bottom of the queue. Which means that I have to scroll back up in order to find the oldest unread message. I think Outlook might do the same.

On the other hand, the sorting order doesn't really change this. It basically does the same thing when sorting newest-on-top (I have to scroll down to find the first unread). But somehow it seems to bug me less in the stack paradigm than it does with the queue.

on October 29, 2004 04:38 AM
# Serge K. Keller said:

It is of course a matter of personal taste. But having an archaeologist at home has, I guess, biased my taste towards a top-to-bottom organisation. You see, while digging the stuff you find at the top are the newest and freshest, and in going down you travel back in time.
I guess that says a lot on the usability of any e-mail box over time...

on October 29, 2004 05:35 AM
# Mark said:

Definitely queue-style.... although I am finding that more and more email clients really want to work in stack mode (ie Pegasus Mail supports oldest to newest, but all new mail received gets dumped at the top by default - only refreshing the folder resorts it properly).

I guess I deal with it primarily by dealing with and removing email from my inbox as fast as I can. :-)

on October 29, 2004 06:13 AM
# Doug Burkhalter said:

Well, I use web-based email right now, so I leave the newest at the top. That way, when you get new email, you don't have to go all the way to the bottom of the page to find it.

But when I used a "real" e-mail program (Eudora), I had the newest at the bottom; that's just much more logical to me in that fashion, to go oldest to newest.

So, the way I see it, it has as much to do with personal preference as it does with how the program is designed.

on October 29, 2004 07:16 AM
# Camilo said:

Strange question: as a matter of fact, most times these are immediately decided by us by the designers of whatever interface we use: web based email, whether gmail or yahoo, a stack. Using Horde I can change these according to my purposes, whether search by name, date or subject, or simply use the intrinsic queue.
Queue, is my preferred option, as I get to see the logical progression of a conversation and its conclusion; the stack, on the other hand, twists the order and gives me stuff without its history.
Now, in the age of spam, though, I do prefer stack: easier to sort and kill.

on October 29, 2004 08:10 AM
# justin said:

i prefer a queue. (kmail)

on October 29, 2004 09:19 AM
# rw said:

Both ways. At home Evolution sorts mails as a queue, at work Notes sorts mails as a stack. Makes sense since I'm reading mails immediately at work, but I tend to read mails at home only when I feel like reading mail - about once a day. Answering them is the other problem... ;)

on October 29, 2004 10:12 AM
# Brian St. Pierre said:

I guess it's a queue, since new messages arrive at the bottom. But it's largely irrelevant, since I never have more than a couple of read-but-unresolved messages in my inbox. Everything else gets copied to "saved".

on October 29, 2004 12:02 PM
# Nudecybot said:

QUEUE

I like to read from top to bottom. I like the historical nature. When I look in my views in Opera M2, I like the older items on top so I can always tell when I have stuff that might be getting overdue.

on October 29, 2004 12:32 PM
# Jim said:

Stack or queue - both approaches are fundamentally flawed if you use the inbox

on October 29, 2004 12:42 PM
# Jim said:

oops - got cut off there. sorry.

Stack or queue - both approaches are fundamentally flawed if you use the inbox to store many messages.

My company (a handful of guys who got really sick of this type of problem with email), ClearContext, has developed a product for Microsoft Outlook that tries to address this issue by prioritizing the inbox in order of importance and at the same time grouping threads together. If any of you are Outlook users and are interested in checking out a new product, feel free to check out our website www.clearcontext.com. We'd really love any feedback from hard core email users.

Jim
ClearContext

on October 29, 2004 12:48 PM
# skp said:

I use my Inbox largely as a to-do list. So I like newest emails at the top. This forces me to either respond to them of file them.

on October 29, 2004 12:53 PM
# Jeremy Cole said:

I generally manage my mail as both a stack and a queue. New emails come in on the bottom, but I always read the new mail first. I know some people that operate in pure "queue" style, where it takes them a long time to get to _any_ mail. I also know some that operate in a pure "stack" style so they handle new things quickly, but forget about things as old as 24 hours. Neither works perfectly, so I generally read all new mails coming in immediately, and tag them with "Important", "Action" etc.

I then operate on those in a queue format.

on October 29, 2004 01:36 PM
# Victor said:

If you sort your newest email to the bottom but read the newest ones first, you are still working off a "stack". The stack is just visually reversed.

For people who can read Arabic and Chinese like me, I don't see anything wrong with that. When I am bored, I read my emails from a mirror. :-) Just kidding.

on October 29, 2004 03:05 PM
# Ed Weadon said:

Stack seems the most natural to me. Just got used to it in from my days with Pine and just flowed from there. I'm interested in the conversation style that Gmail uses. Might make more sense to use at work too given the flow of email I get there. Maybe that's just me though. :)

on October 29, 2004 03:38 PM
# :: jozjozjoz :: said:

I'm with you: queue.

I think I'm just used to it that way.

on October 30, 2004 12:16 AM
# Sam Ryan said:

Quack.

on October 30, 2004 08:27 AM
# Glenn Stauffer said:

I always sort most recent on top. I do this because I'd never get to new mail otherwise. Let's see... My home email has 315 unread messages. My work might have about 100. Most of this is mailing list stuff that I read if I get around to it. Usually, on a given day, I go through the first 50 or so messages and then move on to other things. If I didn't keep the new stuff at the top, I'd probably never get to it for several weeks.

on October 30, 2004 02:29 PM
# Daniel Miessler said:

I prefer the stack method. The reason for this is quite simple; if my inbox is full of crap then I have no reason to believe that the very next time I check my email I am going to clean it. Therefore, the odds are extremely good that when I *do* check it, I'll be heading for what's arrived recently.

That being the case, why scroll to the bottom of 10, 25, or 100 emails to get there. Using a queue when the inbox is relatively full is an act of someone trying to cling to an ideal world. In other words, someone doing this is saying, "Next time I come in here I'm going to clean this up."

I also use my inbox like something of an organizer. I'm reading the GTD book and I use it to document thoughts. Well, the thing is, those thoughts may stay in my inbox for days or months. Having them obstruct new mail is not efficient in my view.

Think of a program executing - it takes the current priority and puts it on top of the stack. Then, once it's done, it drops back to where it was before. That's how my inbox works. I solve the problem that's on the top of the stack and then I move down it until I am all cleared up.

The number one reason for checking email at 2:45p.m. is to see what has happened since the last time you checked your mail. And since that is the case there is no reason to move to the bottom of a bunch of stuff you have already procrastinated on in order to get there. That's being "natural" in an impractical way.

Anyway, just my thoughts...

on October 31, 2004 10:29 PM
# Paul Connolley said:

I use many different views. I also tend not to use the inbox for anything other than personal messages. My mailing list folders are in a threaded and stacked order purely because I came from a pine world to a Thunderbird/Forte Agent/Mail.app world. My inbox remains newest on top purely because it doesn't truly matter.

I must note, however, that people mention about not wanting to scroll down. I know that my current mail client - Mail.app - automatically focusses at the bottom of the list for my queued items. I notice this behaviour in Forte Agent too although I no longer use this app. Perhaps it should be for other mail client vendors to implement labour saving features - such as scrolling to focus upon newest messages - too?

on November 1, 2004 10:35 AM
# Hugh B said:

Queue...

It always has been I guess. I think I got into the habit through Eudora Lite (I think that's what it was) back in 1997 when I first got on the Internet.

I keep noticing that Outlook Express or Outlook proper both start off in stack view, and I have to keep changing it. Personally I can't stand that view. It looks wrong - Just as a paragraph runs top to bottom, so should the progression of messages through time - indeed, look at the comments on this page, organised in a queue. Imagine how silly it would be trying to read the comments and their replies in the wrong order.

My mobile phone's inbox insists on a stack view and there's nothing I can do about it. Luckily the screen can only show 3 message headers at a time so it's never a problem. But Outlook can display two dozen.

It's also worth noting perhaps that I top post in newsgroups. I think this is just laziness though rather than a preference for stack view - Outlook by default starts replying with the original text underneath and I can never be arsed to change it...

0.02

on November 2, 2004 09:08 AM
# Jacques said:

I tend to sort from Oldest to Newest in threaded mode with my Mozilla Thunderbird. Works wonders and it makes it easier to follow theads which are grouped together.

on November 9, 2004 09:27 AM
# Brett Philp said:

Thought I'd pass along my link free GTD template for Lotus Notes... some of your users might find it handy!

http://www.brettphilp.com/worksmart/

Cheers!
Brett

on March 2, 2005 11:56 AM
# czar said:


Used queue (Eudora) for 10 years, just switched to stack (in Thunderbird). Tried stack there, but the windows scrolls as it loads (using imap to sync here). I really liked queue in Eudora... now i'm fine with stack --seems more natural in TBird. (each client does both of course).

Stack is more natural with the search bar /selectable views (nice feature) too. all has to do with how the windows repaints / grid view loads...

Plus, i do get to see recent and maybe more important replies on top, cut to the chase.

Eudora might been have written with queue in mind?

on December 5, 2006 06:44 PM
# PC said:

I use stack, and have tried both, but have a recent problem in OE which affects either. Whenever I open OE, or just switch from Inbox to say Sent Items and back again, the Inbox highlights the oldest message of all, ie at the opposite end of the stack (or queue)from the new stuff. Very tedious and time wasting! Does anyone know how to switch this off, please?

on January 28, 2009 04:09 AM
# theresa said:

I don't want to stack my emails in google mail. How do I change this? Is there a setting for it?

Theresa

on March 13, 2009 05:22 AM
# olen said:

I queue. I want my gmail inbox to do this, but can't find a script that does this as a default. HELP!

on June 26, 2009 12:23 PM
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