Currently marking a message unread hides the flags whether a message has been replied to, forwarded, or replied & forwarded. Please add 3 additional icons (with appropriate overlays on the unread icon) to indicate these 3 additional states.
These are values of a status in a lifecyle of the message, not message flags. It doesn't record the history of what happened to a message, just the status the message is, nothing more, nothing less. If you change it it's because you have a reason, otherwise don't do it :) (and there's plenty other ways to track messages: colors, tags, marks, score...)
IMO this request is not valid for any MUA.
Mr. Mones, I urge you to kindly ignore the wrong terminology used by a humble user if these indeed are not flags. However, I do indeed find myself marking mails as unread in some occasions (whether for right or wrong reasons, that shall be left open for judgement by those who know more). When upon doing it, the interface is naughty enough to hide the visual indicator that I may have previously replied to or forwarded or both, I do happen to curse myself in gentle terms and wish that the interface be so enhanced so as to enable me to view at a glance the information that seems to have been hidden away from me as a gift for breaking the cycle of life of a message that you so generously pointed out the MUA should follow and enforce. It is a humble request for enhancement sir. It will only help us naive users, for I hope I do have some company, and not take away from the experience of such an excellent MUA for the more informed ones.
I don't think this would be an enhancement or that would help anyone, instead will bring more confusion. Status of a message has a clear meaning, inventing more illogical statuses and several slightly different but very similar icons will confuse people: did I forward it without reading or did I forward then marked unread? Another icon to separate these? What about the people which may have it forwarded/unread several times? Overlay the numbers too?
If your users have a replied/forwarded message which need to get later, teach them to use tags, or put a mark, or color it red and use sort. Trying to reflect the history of user actions over the message is not the task of a humble icon.
Said that, you can still disagree and consider it an enhancement and leave this open, of course. No problem :)
Sir, I most humbly submit to you that you have just given me ideas for another dozen RFEs. ;)
Jokes aside, I think what you're saying is absolutely right when you say users should be taught to use other methods and mechanisms than marking a message as unread. Claws-Mail certainly provides numerous such ways.
However, MUAs allow people to re-set read status and I have found that many people use this out of habit since they have either created this mental workflow of using the read/unread flag from past usage of a MUA which did not provide such a mechanism, or because they currently are not aware of other possibilities, or sometimes simply because the cost of marking a message unread is cheaper than using a semantically or functionally better mechanism.
Thus, the fact remains that people mark emails unread after performing actions upon them.
So the intention of this RFE is to give higher priority to replied and forwarded statuses since they occur later in the lifecycle of an email message. Going back to "unread" for whatever reason should not hide the fact from the user that they have performed one or both of these actions.
Finally, you admitted it: "MUAs allow people to re-set read status."
Reset is what people expects when marking a message unread, not keep some other "flag" around, see all of the MUAs out there. Most of the people would see your "enhancement" as a bug.
No Ricardo, please don't just cherry pick the word "reset" and apply it without caution.
1. I don't care what other MUAs do. Just because everybody is doing it a certain way is no justification. Group agreement creates convention or mob, not necessarily the correct outcome.
2. If I was to accept your argument, then on reading the re-set-to-unread mail, the replied, forwarded, replied-and-forward should also be reset. They are not.
3. If I was to accept your argument, then MUAs should not even allow email to be re-set to unread because an email that has been read, has been read and this ability to mark mails as unread could be argued to be a bug. I won't make the argument since I don't accept your argument which could lead to this argument.
4. I'll stick to my argument in previous comment which explains the reasoning behind the RFE. The Replied, Forwarded, and Replied-and-Forwarded statuses of an email are important, and once they have been recorded against a message, should always be shown, irrespective of the read status of a message.
5. Here's a new one. What stops me from forwarding an unread message? It could even be part of a processing rule IIRC. So why should that status not be shown to me unless I mark that mail as read?
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I like the RFE; but rather than get into the verbal discussion, here's a visual argument for the proposal. HTH