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Re: [VM] message labels & usage pattern

From: Uday Reddy
Subject: Re: [VM] message labels & usage pattern
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 21:00:16 +0000

I do something similar.  I used to use two specific labels "*" and "~"
(roughly with the meaning "important - needs action" and "temporary - can be

Now there is a \flagged attribute which is somewhat standard.  It is used by
IMAP servers and Thunderbird etc.  So, I have switched from the "*" label to

The reason for using these single-character labels is that I can fit them
easily in message summaries without wasting too much screen real estate.  I
use a single character attribute/status indicator (as opposed to the
4-character VM standard attribute columns), which have the following
  N  =  new
  U  =  unseen
  D  =  deleted
  !  =  important/flagged
  *  =  also means important
  ~  =  temporary
The following summary-function creates these indicators.

(defun vm-summary-function-D (m)
  (cond ((vm-deleted-flag m) "D")
        ((vm-new-flag m) "N")
        ((vm-unread-flag m) "U")
        ((vm-flagged-flag m) "!")
        ((member "*" (vm-labels-of m)) "*")
        ((member "~" (vm-labels-of m)) "~")
        (t " ")))

One could also use color-coding of summary lines instead of status
indicators.  See the "Summary Faces" section of the VM manual for the
pre-defined summary faces that could use.  You can also define additional
summary faces of your own quite easily as well.

> Basically, in going through mail I'll find something I should reply
> to, but maybe not immediately.  What I've been doing is adding a
> message label of "todo_{X}_{Y}" where X/Y may be a calendar date.
> Each day I come into the office, I can create a virtual folder of
> "todo_{today}", and see what I've put off and am on the hook for (at
> this point I'm not too concerned about year).  A minor functionality
> point is it would be nice to create a virtual folder of labels
> matching a regular expression.

I think that, in the long run, it would be a better idea to add additional
date attributes to messages.  One could be some kind of an alert/action
date.  Another could be an expiration date (after which messages get
deleted or archived).

> First thing I noticed is that deleting a label from all messages does
> not delete that label from the folder (all labels show up as possible
> completions).  So I've got a growing set of labels.  Is it possible to
> delete the label from the folder?

I could add some functions to clean up ununused labels.  I will put it on
the wish list.


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