Many open source project have mailing lists a preferred way of communication. If i just sign to the mailing list via my g-mail account i will see ~100 messages per day that are not threaded but just a plain list. What is the preferred way to work with mailing lists so i can see a tree-view of threads and replys?

  • 4
    This is why I hate mailing lists :P
    – Earlz
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 22:15
  • 1
    I don't like them, too. But they are a default way of communication for lots of open source projects. So i want at last to know how to handle them a non-painfull way :)
    – grigoryvp
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 8:14

3 Answers 3


This is the job of your email client. Each mail sent contains an id, and it is the job of the email clients of the participants to include that id in a header field so your client can recognize it and produce a tree view.

The web interface to gmail is better suited for two person correspondance as it creates a list instead of a threaded view. You may want to use a separate client for threaded lists. Personally I like Thunderbird but your taste may differ.

  • Will Thunderbird automatically arrange mailing list messages into threads or i will need to configure it? Maybe it's some instructions available how to configure thunderbird for mailing lists?
    – grigoryvp
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 4:47
  • It has worked for me without effort on the lists I subscribe to. Note that the icon for switching threading on and off is not easily recognized.
    – user1249
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 8:53
  • I can't see any icon for switching threading in my latest Thunderbird installation under MacOS :(. Maybe you have a screenshot of this icon? ^_^
    – grigoryvp
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 10:28
  • Swirly thing - kb.mozillazine.org/Icons_-_Thunderbird_2#Thread_pane_2
    – user1249
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 11:03
  • Under OS X, the default Mail application is also a good choice for mailing lists. It has the added benefit of good Spotlight integration.
    – user1249
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 11:05

I usually create a separate folder for each mailing list. Then, if your mail client can show tree of threads, just enable this feature. If you're interested in any particular message - you can create an alert or a filter, that will highlight interested message.

  • Is it possible for gmail to show tree of threads? Or i need to use another mail client? Maybe you can recommend one?
    – grigoryvp
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 20:05
  • I don't think so.
    – Sorantis
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 20:11

I create a rule to automatically put mail from each list into its own folder.

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