View Full Version : Your email inbox and what it says...

April 22nd, 2013, 12:06 PM
My lovely spouse is out of town for a college reunion, so handling housekeeping while she's gone falls in my court. One of the things that I've been doing is handling her email.

When I opened her primary mailbox this morning, there were 393 unread messages and perhaps a couple of thousand read ones. Only a handful (about 10) could be classified as SPAM. Apparently, she notes the topic of an email and figures that she'll get around to reading it "sometime"--in this case, more than 5 years.

Mine, on the other hand has about 5 unread messages (from yesterday) and perhaps a grand total of 20 read. Everything else has been filed away somewhere else. On this forum, I have 21 unread notifications, but I know the content--it's been in the email notices that result from someone PM-in me. I'll delete the duplicates in my PM box here when I do a purge to reclaim some space.

My wife is a packrat. I'm not so much.

How about you?

April 22nd, 2013, 12:13 PM
The levels of both read and unread e-mails tends to reflect how busy I am. When I'm busier, I don't take time to clean out my inbox.

April 22nd, 2013, 12:16 PM
For my job, I have to save everything. I have messages going back over 10 years. For my personal mail... most of it is filed away.

April 22nd, 2013, 12:53 PM
I have around 27,000 unread emails in gmail but that's because I'm on security mailing lists and also because there isn't a foreseeable limit on size or messages so I have no practical reason to clean it up.

My yahoo is older and probably has less (I'd still guess a 4 digit number) but older unread emails from other lists I am/was on as well. I suppose I'm in the packrat camp of not wanting to lose knowledge or my archive of information from the past conversations, etc.

April 22nd, 2013, 02:53 PM
The issue is not storage. The issue is retrieval. I have a better chance of finding something that I kept if I have some sort of classification going - folders or directories. But that is not foolproof. The improvement of search capabilities means that it is possible to rely on search to locate something you might want to find, even after years of neglect. I admit that my disk file hierarchy, including backups in obsolete hierarchies, has grown to the point that I use "Find File" a couple of times per day.

Apart from the retrieval strategy (to put it politely), there is a practical reason to control inbox size. Big inboxes take a lot longer to load than slim ones. Likewise a desktop full of icons and/or a prolific Start menu hierarchy take a lot longer to boot up than a desktop with fewer icons and a smaller folder hierarchy. The systems check every link each time you boot.

In my view, a huge inbox or a cluttered desktop are self-defeating. You won't find what you are looking for in all the clutter, and you miss the ability to browse things that are in the "pending" category because they become invisible. As well as "packrats" who keep everything in inbox or desktop, there are also "squirrels" like me who carefully store things away, then forget where they stored them. :rolleyes:


April 22nd, 2013, 03:00 PM
I suspect that my email volume is higher than my spouse's, but I have many folders in pretty well-defined categories. She basically has inbox and trash (set to automatically empty on end-of-session, which I would never do). If I'm subscribed to a mailing list, I'll set up a filter or even a new account for that list.

I find that trying to work with her email setup is very frustrating. I've offered to set up her email, but she says that it isn't important.

Rick, same thing with my desktop. I use LXDE for mine--no fancy animation. I make folders for the launchers if there are several related applications.

Maybe I'm just OC and she's a free spirit...

April 22nd, 2013, 03:21 PM
I have something like 80K emails. My stuff is organized as it comes in (mostly email lists, ebay notices, forum notices, real email, spam, attachments, important stuff, deals, etc). Everything gets read as it comes in and spam junk gets deleted. I keep mail for years because sometimes I end up looking for something and space is cheap.

April 22nd, 2013, 04:45 PM
Packrat. But I run my own mail spool on my own hardware, so I don't care. :)

DOS lives on!!
April 22nd, 2013, 05:04 PM
I've currently got no unread emails in the inbox, and 380 unread (but quite old, and I know the content) emails in the archived folder.

April 22nd, 2013, 05:05 PM
Well, my online emails only go back to 1997 (wonder why my Novell Developer login doesn't work any more?)

Before that, it was CIS and UUCP. I don't have any easy way to convert that stuff to Thunderbird, so it stays offline. Then there's the BBS email...

April 22nd, 2013, 06:01 PM
My email archives go back to 1997. I used to have email from 1993 to 1997 but I lost it somewhere along the way (in my mid-20s I didn't deem it worth saving). I also used to have my BBS QWK email from 1990-1993, and various text logs of BBS chats, but those are all lost to history.

My inbox is very much like a game of tetris; grows and shrinks at different speeds with the goal of keeping it empty. Most of the time I can keep it at bay, but occasionally it gets too large (50+ unread emails) and I just have to give up, file them in a folder called UNHANDLED, and try to kid myself that I'll get to them someday. My UNHANDLED goes back to 2003 and has 1000+ in it.

April 23rd, 2013, 06:27 AM
187 unread, 12,696 total and little organization. At the same time I also have 4 email accounts going into that one, but the 3 smaller ones don't get near the mail the main does. The 187 unread are all the chain emails people sent me at one point. They stopped after I didn't send them anything back. If there's one thing I hate, it's a chain email. If there's one thing I hate more than a chain email is a chain email with a thousand different people's emails in it.

April 23rd, 2013, 03:53 PM
A lot of people don't realise that email clients (eg Thunderbird) have a simple filter utility so that you can direct unwanted emails directly to trash, or to a junk folder for review, or to any named folder, filtering by source or by keyword. I probably add another spam email sender address about once a week to my Thunderbird junk filter. It's less trouble than fine-tuning complicated heuristic spam filter settings on my server. The server filter catches the obvious spam, then I manually add nuisance sources to the client filter.