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[Pan-users] Suggestions for increased usability (for me :)

From: Paul Hudson
Subject: [Pan-users] Suggestions for increased usability (for me :)
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2003 13:03:15 +0100

[Disclaimer: I'm a long time Xnews user, so some of these may well really be
whinges about Pan not being Xnews]

All this is for pan 13.93 on Windows.

I'm going to describe how I go about reading news to hopefully illustrate
why I'm asking for these things.

I use score files extensively, mostly to kill articles and occasionally to
score positively for those people whose every article I want to read. Within
one session, Xnews remembers my last score dialog settings (Kill/Watch,
expire/permanent etc). This makes adding another rule very quick and easy.

It would be nice if Pan did this. If Pan also remember the type of match
(is, contains, regexp etc) last used this would also deal with one of my
other comments, that regexp is the natural best type of match (most fixed
strings would work as regexps, and more experienced score file users would
want to add \bwhatever\b to subject matches at least). If it remembered, I'd
only have to set it once and Pan's default wouldn't need to change to keep
me happy :-)

I add a lot of score rules - currently, I'm finding it quicker to hand edit
the rules in the  Score file directly (because I can normally cut and paste
a rule with the right options and change the subject quicker than I can set
up the rule with Pan's score dialog).

I get rules wrong quite frequently and so it doesn't match the articles I
want. How do I edit the score file to correct the rule?  View article's
scores won't do it, because the score doesn't apply to the article because I
got it wrong.

(On Windows, the Open button for View Article's scores doesn't seem to do

I'd like to see a "Edit score file" menu/key.

For positive scores, I'd like to know when entering a group if there are any
matched articles. Xnews has an option to jump to the first article with (I
think) positive score, and "dings" the bell when this happens. I find this

Then I mark read individual articles I don't want to read

How do I mark a single article read without reading it, with the mouse?
There are two buttons on this laptop - the left reads it the right pops up a
menu without "mark read". I can set the option to have click select rather
than read, but most of the time I want click to read (Xnews has a column
that indicates if the article has been read or not - clicking the column
toggles this).

Probably equivalently, how do I select an article with the mouse without
opening it, when I've got click-to-read set

Xnews regards an article killed by a score rule as "read". This means the
number of unread articles in the group list reflects the number I need o
consider reading, which is better, I think, than Pan's "all articles not
explicitly marked read"

What's the reason that expand and collapse threads (X and CTRL-X) don't
toggle? I suspect I'm missing something obvious.

Getting into the micro-improvements here: Xnews doesn't list articles in the
group pane with no unread articles, by default (there's a toggle to show
them). Ones with nothing to read are uninteresting to me normally, so not
showing them reduces clutter.

Also, on Windows, Pan is pretty slow. Some of this I assume is debugging
code for a beta (true?), but it also redisplays a lot - you can see the
header list redrawing three or four times, sometimes, when once would seem
enough - is this an artifact of the GTK+ on Windows port, or something that
could be addressed in Pan itself?


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