Why can't I turn off conversation threading in gmail; it's fatal for my business!

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  • Updated 4 years ago
Emails of information for non-related clients are clumped together because they come from the same source, making it easy to miss new, important info emails and impossible to dump all the duds without also deleting the few important ones. If conversation grouping can't be turned off and on by the user or eliminated, I have to dump Gmail, as have many others I saw on another website who also bitterly complained about this threading feature (bug?)
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  • frustrated

Posted 7 years ago

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isaaclea123

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This is a terrible feature to have forced on users. I have missed peoples emails from an online buy/sell site because they all come from the same source. They all get lumped together and I had no idea I had multiple new messages.

I'm shocked that it can't be disabled. I'm spreading the word, gmail sucks
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paulmihus

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gmail sucks just because it's forcing me to use conversations view
wake up google
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vucliriel

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It's been over THREE YEARS and we are exactly at the same place we were then...

Google has grown beyond reason into a monster just like Microsoft. The weird thing is, they could EASILY turn this option off. But that would go against the designer's wishes, so the user is forced to live with the consequences.

Verdict? I hope it teaches everyone a lesson: To stay as far away from Google's web based software distribution model as possible. Because getting involved with Google means relinquishing total control on how you work with your data. The minute Google decides the interface needs "improving", you will have no other choice but to use what they serve you.

And if the way they have treated the lack of such a primary option as turning conversation mode on or off is any indication, the future looks very grim indeed.

At least, with Microsoft's software distribution model, a user still has the choice to NOT 'upgrade' to their defective-by-design bloatware. Using Google Apps, you have forfeited that fundamental right, because they decide for you what you will be using.

Welcome to Big Brother, buddy! Ain't 'Cloud Computing' great?

NOT!
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vucliriel

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Problem solved on September 29, 2010 :)
Remember this date, Folks!!!

THANK YOU, GOOGLE, FOR LISTENING!!! :)
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I would save the problem is now solved. My account has been upgraded to disable conversation view as of today. Thank you Google for finally listening and allowing us to have a choice.
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dlong500

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Holy cow! I see the option as well now! It's under Settings->General.
Will wonders never cease... Thank you, thank you, thank you Google. Now I can let all of my clients who wanted to disable CV know that they can!
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vucliriel

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I can't belive this! The very next day I make my diatribe about Google not caring, being a monster and they FINALLY make this optional!!!

I'M DELIGHTED!!!
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dlong500

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As Deb mentioned above, Google just added the ability to disable conversation view today.

While I would agree that this particular problem is now solved, I would add one final comment for any Google employees still watching this topic. Now that conversation view can be disabled, it would be tremendously useful if we could also sort by sender, subject, date (including reverse sort). That would truly make Gmail an enviable platform in all respects.
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vucliriel

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YES! I second that motion! with column sorting Gmail is bound to become the best again

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE! :)
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wykananda

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Yeah! I'm very happy for all those who have been looking for this.

GMail rocks! Yahoo sucks!
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even in celebration, wykananda, you are a bit of a dick. I prefer yahoo mail, even with conversation threading off, and i am VERY happy it is now gone.
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wykananda

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"Hook, line, and sinker" ;) Yahoo is the best! Long live Yahoo! Yahoo!....umm.....Yahoo!
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linka.fox

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Thank you, gmail!
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prof.rui.teixeira

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YES. Thank you, gmail. At last.
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prof.rui.teixeira

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YES. Thank you, gmail. At last.
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Problem solved but I do agree with the next step needs to be sort by sender and subject line. Google is listening which is the important piece to remember. Loving Google apps even a little bit more today.
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vucliriel

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YESSS! It took three years, but we finally got it!!!

Finally, after so many years seeing software software usability go down the tubes, an Upgrade that is worthy of the name!!!

THANK YOU GOOGLE, AND BLESS THE GOOD SOUL WHO ACTUALLY LISTENED TO OUR PLIGHT!

Now keep up the good work and give us back Column SORTING!!!
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THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Dr. B

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If this works, I'll go back to Gmail though with a little trepidation about future responsiveness. At the same time, I do thank Google for responding. I hope as well, that they look beyond this particular issue and consider costumer product responsiveness in general so the whole organization holistically improves. Good will is a continual process, not one that only occurs in three year blips.
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vucliriel

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This new development has generated so much 'conversation' my inbox is filling as fast as I can read and manage the emails... I wish we could have a setting to turn it on for specific subjects such as this one now ;)
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@wykananda
I am not sure if you work for Google, but I find it strange someone who likes conversation threading would come to a support thread where people who do not like conversation threading are here to express to google why they would like the option to turn the F****ng thing off!

A lot of what you say about Yahoo is false, and I personally FAR prefer the new Yahoo calendar (beta) to google calendar.

Support on google is absolutely non existent. I have had several direct exchanges with yahoo.

Yahoo is developing new stuff all the time, not to the degree of google, of course, but I am happy to pay £10 a year for a yahoo mail plus account, and Im sure others are too.

Gmail has no features which are of any interest to me. I want a mail programme to have folders on the top left, messages to the right, and a reading pane below. Full stop. If google cannot provide that, I will go elsewhere, hence Yahoo.

Saying one should get used to the way Google works is, for me, like telling someone who has had an arm chopped off to get used to it, there are some advantages. YOU may not see it that way, but I DO.

But its weird you, who LIKE the way it is, would spend ANY time here. Its not like if they provide conversation threading as an option they would then be taking something away from YOU... so why are you here, you clearly disagree with all these people who want a thread-less mail option...

Mark.
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wykananda

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What the hell are you talking about? This thread has nothing to do with Yahoo. No offence but you are such an utter humorless dork. You take the bait every time. Are you ready to take it again....

Yahoo sucks!

We're waiting.....
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Its amazing... so many happy people here because we have been given the option to unthread messages. It has been difficult, screaming and not being heard, until now... and it has not been made any easier by people, like wykananda, who have spent more than an entire year, and DOZENS of posts, and god knows how many hours, trying his hardest to weaken our united resolve, and to try show how threaded messages are better etc.

Its great that we have managed to get this feature, despite that onslaught of pointless negativity... so well done people.

Mark.
PS, now to work towards getting gmail a half-decent interface, it is reeeallly ugly and primative at present, then there are the basics like no column sorting, no contextural menu on message list or in messages etc...
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wykananda

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None of your nonsense can change the simple fact that, get ready for it, ...... Yahoo sucks! ;)~
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I think Google did an excellent job, although I can't SEE that I have replied to an email. Am I missing something so simple ? I just want to look at this mess of email and know that I already replied.
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wykananda

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That's a good point Deb. It looks like there are still some important refinements Google needs to make on the non-conversation view.

So far it is Sorting and Reply/Forward Identification.
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vucliriel

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Eureka! now I see what you mean, wykananda. You just summed up why people like us (I was going to say "normal" but that now sounds too bigoted) have such a hard time with Conversation view altogether: It is simply just the visible part of Google's whole concept behind information management, and it is the way it is BY DESIGN.

Thank you for pointing it out, wykananda! I can now understand YOUR frustration with us ;).

In other words, people, wykananda has shown us in one simple sentence that Correspondence View it's not simply just a way to sort emails, it's a whole completely different way of managing information, and we just don't get it!

I bet you the others like me who hate this feature also positively hate the way windows file management has become, where information is truly stored in a random manner and one is supposed to find information based on a search query. In other words, you don't store your documents somewhere on your hard drive, but on some artificial location called "users\name\documents"and where your program parameters are not stored in some "c:\appname\app.ini"file, but in some obscure location such as "users\name\appdata\roaming\appname\app_config.dat" or some even more obscure location in the registry such as "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USBSTOR\Disk&Ven_Sony&Prod_DSC&Rev_1.00\D33D406C430F&0\Device Parameters\MediaChangeNotification"

Now I understand why wykananda and the people who have pushed for this paradigm like it so much and push it so vehemently, it's because they actually LIKE the whole concept, because their mind is ACTUALLY organized that way!

Personally, if I had to organize things in my house the way Google does (and post year 2000 Windows), I would NEVER find anything and it would drive me positively INSANE!

Surely, wykananda, you can now understand WHY we hate this so much!
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wykananda

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vucliriel, hard day at the office?

Myself, I prefer choice. I also believe that much of the suffering people go through in this world is a direct result of mistaking concepts to be somehow permanent. Clinging to this past imaginariness and ignorant to the friction that it causes with the present they will continue to externalize responsibility (blame) and repeat this insufferable cycle. However and hopefully, at some point, perhaps many lives later, a powerful glimpse or revelation may take place that will make them question "maybe I am not my thought. maybe what I call 'my thought' is actually a result of zillions of co-dependent sensory impressions that have very little to do, perhaps even nothing, with any ME. And that they are in constant flux only appearing to fit reality under certain also fleeting contexts and circumstances." Then, somewhat miraculously, the hardened crust of brain tissue they had so strongly fought to maintain against all futility will soften! They will stop having any desire to complain and wine about the constantly changing universe on blogs like this. They will let go of envy, hatred, anger, greed and all the other stupidities resulting from that previously hardened crusty brain. They will learn to joyously love and join hands with the infinite dance of the cosmos. And finally, they will come to be atoned with the rest of the human world in realizing ..... Yahoo sucks! :)
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vucliriel

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wykananda, you DEFINITELY are an alien... :D
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wykananda

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Ya, alright, I admit it. But you are wrong about one thing... I much prefer .ini files for preferences. I absolutely despise combing through that rat's nest called the Registry. Maybe if the Registry search function was as good as GMail's and you could open\copy an app's settings just by right-clicking on the app and selecting it from a menu...maybe.

G'night from a planet that orbits a small red star called Gliese 581 in the constellation of Libra. Only 20 light-years away - not so alien - not really.
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vucliriel

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Hey, you're not so alien after all... If you can thrive on liquid water, you're practically family ;)

Yes, I love ini files. The registry is a disaster. It's about time all the user preferences were stored in one place and transportable. Go on another computer, presto, it appears the way you want (provided it has the same software, of course - but that can also be made transportable!).

The problem i see with computing today is the trend towards computers as dumb terminals and users as clients instead of peers. In my opinion, we've regressed considerably since the heyday of personal computing, pre-1998.

For the fun of it I just fired up my old Toshiba 110CS, and it works as beautifully as when I first loaded it with 98SE. And lo and behold, it can read my old IBM microdrive. Maybe I'll be able to find a way to replace the clunky 80MB hard drive with that 1GB wonder and use it instead ;)
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Matt Fairchild

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"My account has been upgraded to disable conversation view as of today."

Is there something I need to do to upgrade my account or should the option just appear?
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wykananda

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Click on "Settings" in the upper right corner and in the first tab (General) you will see a Conversation View section where you can toggle it on or off.

Make sure to scroll down to the bottom and click on "Save Changes" when your done.
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vucliriel

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Hey Matt, that just sounded like "I just upgraded from Vista to XP" ;¬)
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Does not look like it has been rolled out to all accounts. My Google Apps email does not have the option yet in Settings.
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wykananda

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hmm, you could be right. Try flushing your browser's cache, then restart it and check 'Settings'. If it still hasn't worked, post a screenshot image of your 'Settings' window in a new post.
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You should not have to do that. Google's normal procedure in situations like this is a gradual roll out. Would love to have it in my Google Apps email like I have it in my personal gmail account. Google will get around to it I am sure. Thanks for the advice.
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wykananda

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Yes it's true that they do roll features out gradually and probably haven't got to you yet for some reason. But, FYI, the setting is available in all of my Google Apps accounts.
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vucliriel

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You have to be in "Standard View" to access this feature. I would add that although "Standard View" does not allow opening tabs like "Basic HTML" (another frustrating thing about gmail, why can't I open and email in a frame and still see it in a tree view?!), you should give it a try nevertheless, because it has become really fast.

Keep it up people, we have to show the aliens at Google that human brains operate differently than theirs!
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wykananda

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I would like Google to add a couple more features to the non-threaded view.

1. As was mentioned by an earlier post, it would be a boon if this could be turned on/off on a thread by thread basis. It is primarily with "many reply-responses to a single subject" that conversation view loses its efficacy. If this ideal can't be achieved, then I would like the on/off option moved from the Settings menu to the main screen so it can be disabled quickly without the 2-3 extra steps.

2. Secondly, in non-threaded view, hovering the mouse over a subject line should pop-up a 'hint' window showing the contents of the email. This could save a lot of time.
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vucliriel

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Absolutely, and if Paul McDonald pf Google has his way, we'll soon get what practically every other email program has, columns that SORT and, who knows, perhaps even tree panes, like I have on my trusty 15 year old Norton File Manager!
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I was on the phone with Google on Wednesday when they were rolling these out. No later than Monday they should be available on all accounts. .
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wykananda

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Good to know. Thanks.
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@wykananda
I am not sure if you work for Google, but I find it strange someone who likes conversation threading would come to a support thread where people who do not like conversation threading are here to express to google why they would like the option to turn the F****ng thing off!

A lot of what you say about Yahoo is false, and I personally FAR prefer the new Yahoo calendar (beta) to google calendar.

Support on google is absolutely non existent. I have had several direct exchanges with yahoo.

Yahoo is developing new stuff all the time, not to the degree of google, of course, but I am happy to pay £10 a year for a yahoo mail plus account, and Im sure others are too.

Gmail has no features which are of any interest to me. I want a mail programme to have folders on the top left, messages to the right, and a reading pane below. Full stop. If google cannot provide that, I will go elsewhere, hence Yahoo.

Saying one should get used to the way Google works is, for me, like telling someone who has had an arm chopped off to get used to it, there are some advantages. YOU may not see it that way, but I DO.

But its weird you, who LIKE the way it is, would spend ANY time here. Its not like if they provide conversation threading as an option they would then be taking something away from YOU... so why are you here, you clearly disagree with all these people who want a thread-less mail option...

Mark.
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wykananda

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Nevertheless, Yahoo STILL sucks! Even Squirrel Mail is better.

And to make matters worse, YOU actually pay them money for it! That explains why you're so uptight about it.

You do seem to have learned how to copy and paste on a computer. That must have been a big accomplishment for you. You must be very proud of yourself.
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wykananda

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I've decided not to bug you anymore. I'm sorry I called you a humorless dork in that post back there, that wasn't very nice. I'm happy you enjoy Yahoo. I do find its aesthetics more pleasing than GMail's if not its performance. I find the "Outlook Express" paradigm can be easier for many too. I do find Gmail to be really excellent when I'm feeling "Power User" which is most of the time. As a central hub for all my email aliases, calendaring, chat and phone calling etc. I find I can really churn out the communications. This leaves me with extra time to make lightweight and sometimes incorrigible comments on sites like this.

Anyhow, sorry for irritating you.

Long live Yahoo and Gmail. May their beards grow long.
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SuezanneC Baskerville

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The control for switching between conversation mode and chronological order should be put in the main gmail message display window rather than stuck off in the settings.
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wykananda

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+1. Even better, add the option to toggle it on a thread by thread basis.
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ashok.dvd

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Finally but a perhaps a bit too late...I guess when they found large corporations were turning away from them..like the one I work for did, they decided to change..heh.