I’ve spent some time this evening culling stuff I don’t read out of my e-mail setup: I’ve disabled mail delivery (and unsubscribed for lists that don’t support this) for a large number of lists, and for those I wish to remain on for archival purposes but don’t currently have very much interest in reading, I’ve cut them out of my .newsrc. This has reduced my total Gnus unread count from around 32k to 5k; note that this is only for the last six months of e-mail, too! Admittedly Gnus inflates counts (my inbox has 830 messages in it but Gnus reckons there are 4676) but it gets unread figures right most of the time.

Now that I’ve done this I would also like to start being more liberal with catchup and marking entire threads as read. For the mailing lists that remain (a mere five or six), I intend to look at the subject, see if I care and if not viciously mark it as read. It is time to put an end to my careful true unread/read flags; I’ve traditionally taken care to make sure that things are unread unless I read them properly, because I’ve never had cause to actually make use of this information and it only slows me down. I want to get better at processing large amounts of information in order to get more out of it rather than focusing on a few posts that aren’t actually that important.

There are a lot of other ways that Gnus can help me with all this. Atm I have different settings for my three types of mailbox: my inbox, which is special and which Gnus handles the archiving of using expiry; RSS feeds which Gnus clears out automatically and normal mail boxes which get archived on the server-side by archivemail. I would like to unify this so that Gnus is doing everything; I can work on that over the summer. This will also allow for easier searching.

But I can’t let Gnus do everything because I still need to store everything in Maildirs managed by offlineimap and a local dovecot instance, because Gnus is utterly useless at storage.

Another cool feature I hope to check out once I’ve retrained myself with the above is adaptive scoring (Gmail Priority Inbox? Pah!). For now I shall be using the poor man’s approach, which is getting dovecot’s sieve implementation to mark certain stuff as read.

I would also like to increase the breadth of the content I have coming in; there are things I am interested in/would like to look into more I’m not subscribed to blogs about (such as US politics). But this can wait until after I’ve got the hang of these new reading habits.

(yes, I know that ‘listservs’ is a name of non-free software but I’ve always really liked the term and it’s not really software that’s used much anymore)