[This mail started as some off-topic rambling in my reply to the
notmuch-reply script. So that's why it starts on one topic and ends
somewhere else entirely.]

I'm currently avoiding any locking failures with notmuch commands by
running "notmuch new" manually, (rather than from a cron job). And it
occurs to me that running "notmuch new" manually has a certain
benefit---it allows me to bring in a chunk of mail, and then process all
of that (either by replying, or setting aside to a particular project or
"todo" tag, etc.) without getting distracted by other mail coming in.

It almost makes me want to just run "notmuch new" something like once
per day.

But then, of course, there are times where there are important messages
I need to get to quickly, or fast-moving threads where I need to reply
several times throughout the day.

But I do have particular mailing lists that I don't want to read more
than once a day, for instance. If I wait until I have about a days worth
of mail in those lists, then I can deal with them very efficiently,
(just scan all the subjects, read a thread or two and the "* -inbox" the
rest). This gets a lot less efficient if I have to deal with those lists
on a regular basis throughout the day, (particularly before we have
support for "muted" threads).

So I'd like to be able to deal with important messages as they come in,
but postpone bulk stuff.

But I also notice that there's a bad tendency I have if I try to do this
postponing manually. Mail starts collecting in one of these bulk-list
folders, and I start training myself to ignore the folder, then it gets
huge, (which discourages me even more from looking at it, etc.). [*]

So I want better support from notmuch to tell me what things deserve my
attention, so that I can avoid training myself to ignore things. I think
what I want here is the ability to set a threshold on a particular
folder based on number of messages or date. Something like: "Don't show
me this folder at all until it has more than X messages or until the
oldest message is at least Y hours old".

[*] A similar, (but more dangerous), problem occurs with manually
postponing things into a "todo" folder. If I just added a bunch of
things to my todo folder then I have a tendency to think, "I don't need
to look at that---that's got a bunch of things I just decided to
postpone". But then I forget that I put some things in there previously
that really need my attention now.

I know that what I really want instead of "todo" is a way to express the
reason I'm postponing a message. There's probably some resource I'm
missing that I need before I can deal with it. Perhaps that's:

  * I can't decide on this until I'm with co-workers and can talk about
    this.

  * I can't resolve this until I'm at the office with the right hardware
    to test.

  * I need to remember to do something with this when I'm at home.

  * I need a nice block of "discretionary time" to be able to give this
    topic the attention I want to.

  * I need to look at this message again on this Saturday.

So what I really want to do is to tag things based on those criteria,
("office", "magic-hardware", "home", "discretionary", "2010-02-27"),
which I can at least do now.

But what I'm currently missing is a way for the folders based on these
tags to only appear at the right times, (when the resource is
available).

When the messages appear at the wrong times, it just trains me to ignore
things, and that's when I start forgetting things and let things fall
through.

No concrete proposal here, but just some musings on the kinds of issues
I'd really like to be exploring with notmuch, (once we can get past all
these little things like maildir flags, keybindings, failed HTML
rendering, missing FCC support, etc. etc. etc.).

-Carl

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