Speaking of editing the title in Gmail


#1

Continuing the discussion from Tangents: how off-topic is too off-topic?:

Hey, what was the design there, anyway? Editing my Gmail titles is a daily habit for me, and I was irritated when they made it so much more difficult a few months ago. The only thing I find more irritating about this newer version of Gmail is when I open a particular Gmail reply chain with several (that is, more than five) recipients and I want to change a bit of the content (sending the same kind of email notification about a different episode of the TV series I work on, for example), which is doable but a pain in the ass now, and I want to remove a chunk of the recipients with the ol’ highlight & delete. Of course, now I can’t do it that way; I have to manually remove each recipient by clicking each x one at a time.

Who thought this was a useful change?

Anyway, it’s Google’s problem, not yours. Just thought I’d ask if you knew the thinking behind the change you mentioned, since it’s not obvious to me. My father-in-law works at Google, so I should probably bitch at him about it.

Heh… it occurs to me that this post is too off-topic for the “How off-topic is too off-topic” thread. I remain perfectly in character!


#2

Mostly because Email is ancient, and matching titles is the only working way to “group” emails together like GMail does.

Editing the title breaks the grouping, so they want to discourage that from within the interface. If you are going to edit the title of an email reply, you need to have a really good reason to want to do so.

You can turn off gmail’s threading by setting “conversation view” to off in the settings, via the gear icon.


#3

Huh. I thought there’d be more to it than that. I get that editing the title breaks the grouping, but I figured I should be able to do that if I want without jumping through a hoop or two. In the absence of actual email templates, I habitually use older emails as templates for newer ones with updated information. (Skip this next exemplary paragraph if you don’t actually care about the example; I won’t mind.)

For example, part of my job is scheduling ADR sessions for actors from whom we need looped lines of dialogue. I usually arrange these sessions through the actors’ management, and I send confirmation emails including the date and time, a map of the studio, the stage number we’re using, and the phone number on the stage. There are five different stages we can use, and a near infinite number of different actors and dates/times, so I’ll usually call up an old email from the last time we used a particular stage (so the new email confirmation will include the right stage and phone number), edit the date and time and actor name and recipients, and send it on its way without having to retype the whole thing. Similarly, I need to send two different versions of the show’s credits out. One version goes to a few dozen recipients, but then there’s another subset of people who get both versions. The email text is essentially the same, but the attachments differ, so I used to copy the text of the previous episode’s Final Credits email, Reply To All for the big version, edit the text and send, and then do another Reply To where I’d remove all the recipients and change the attachment. Since I can’t remove a large pile of recipients anymore (only one by one), it now takes me longer since it’s slightly faster to just Forward the email and cut out all the addresses now cluttering up the header, and then edit the text, change the attachment, and send, rather than redoing it from scratch.

All this was easily doable under the old Gmail, but now they’ve made it harder and/or more irritating. Oh, well. I imagine somebody must be better served by the new setup, but it ain’t me.

Thanks for the insight.


#4

Right so when you edit the title in GMail, you are saying “I want to break the grouping of these emails”. So if that’s what you want to do, do that.

And you can disable “conversation view” in settings as well to remove all grouping if you want a flat list of all your emails with no grouping by title.


#5

Oh, I know. I like the grouping fine as it is. They just make it slightly harder to use old emails as templates for new ones unless the recipient list and the title remain unchanged. I thought it was Rude and Impertinent to change that without asking me if I wanted them to. :wink:


#6

Perhaps save them as drafts? GMail is complicated enough now there are a zillion ways to do things. Plus GMail Labs, some of which are interesting…


#7

Yeah, maybe drafts would be the way forward…


#8

I use drafts all the time, most often as a note-keeping service.


#9

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