How To Use Gmail to Tame Runaway Mailing List Messages

I am on a lot of mailing lists. "How many?" You ask? I'm on 27 mailing lists as of right now. Most are low traffic so I can quickly scan the headlines and decide whether to read or remove. Some mailing lists are higher traffic and prone to extremely long (100 message) threads. These threads are rarely useful to me mostly because this exceptionally long thread count is pretty much only reached when 2 strong, anti-social personalities engage in a meaningless form of combat called Message of Attrition. Message of Attrition is like the arm-punch game you played as a kid. You know, the one where you punch someone in the arm, then they punch you in the arm. The cycle continues until one person realizes the sheer stupidity of the exercise and quits. The quitter walks away feeling intellectually superior. The 'winner' walks away feeling physically superior.

Is this the first you've heard of Message of Attrition? Can't say I blame you, I made up the term a few moments ago, mostly because I had a sentence that needed a clever ending.

So anyways, I used to get really annoyed by these long pointless message exchanges, mostly because I'm afflicted by a form of neurosis called InboxMustBeAtZeroitis. This condition affects countless numbers of our society and causes them to occasionally trigger a compulsion to unread/delete/read all email the second it comes in. We're doing a fund raiser right now to help those poor souls with the condition. To donate, please hold your credit card up to the screen...

Thankfully, the GMail folks have provides a calming balm for InboxMustBeAtZeroitis in the form of Mute. Have you ever wished your remote control worked in real life? Have you fantasized at pointing your remote control at a stubborn red light when no one is using the green side? If so, then Mute is for you. Here's how it works:

  1. Simply open a message (or use the checkboxes to select several messages)
  2. Drop down the More Actions control
  3. Select Mute
  4. Say "serenity now" three times, and feel the calming peace return to your body...

There, wasn't that easy?

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7/7/09 11:35 PM # Posted By Barney

If you have keyboard shortcuts enabled, you can mute with the 'm' key, both within the message view (as your screenshot shows) and checked conversations on the main conversation list pages. I do the latter quite frequently when new threads start that I don't want to even look at ("hash() equiv in PHP", for example).

7/8/09 4:18 AM # Posted By Sarah Kelly

re: doesn't seem to be communicable--I keep trying to catch it, but my Inbox currently contains way too many items!