[notmuch] hijacked threads can be confusing in notmuch

Bart Trojanowski bart at jukie.net
Sat Nov 21 18:18:34 PST 2009

I'd like to see how other people feel about a problem I just ran into.

I wanted to look at the 'notmuch count' patch that Keith Packard posted
a couple of days ago (as I am porting his folder mode to notmuch.vim).

I was unable to find it using notmuch because he happened to post 3
patches in one go.  It's pretty common git practice, and by no means to
I hold Keith responsible :)

In mutt it looked like this:

  [notmuch] [PATCH 1/3] Make mouse-1 click in search view show thread
  └─>[notmuch] [PATCH 2/3] Add 'notmuch count' command to show the count of matching messages
    └─>[notmuch] [PATCH 3/3] Add notmuch-index mode to display message counts

... and in the mutt threaded display the relationship between the three
messages is pretty clear.

Now consider what happens when I run notmuch search 'notmuch count'.  I
get this:

  Today 02:15 [2/3] Keith Packard; [notmuch] [PATCH 1/3] Make mouse-1 click in search view show thread (inbox unread)

This thread happens to look completely unrelated to my search at first
glance.  So naturally, I dismissed it.  I finally clued in what was
happening and came back to it after.

On a related note, one mail related pet peeve I have is when people
reply to a random email in their mailbox when they actually intend to
start a new thread.  Doing that would totally mess up someone using
notmuch.  They could get search results with threads which have no
relevance to their actual search... at least at first glance.

So is there something better that we could do when detecting hijacked
threads like this?  Is it safe to cut threads when you notice a topic
change?  Or maybe it would be better to just mark such threads in the
output of notmuch-search (either a boolean flag, or a count of topic

Anyone know how Gmail deals with this?


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