Open Bug 528034 Opened 10 years ago Updated 12 days ago

[tagging] user should be able to control the order (priority) of tags.

Categories

(Thunderbird :: Mail Window Front End, enhancement)

enhancement
Not set

Tracking

(Not tracked)

People

(Reporter: bugzilla, Unassigned)

References

(Depends on 1 open bug, Blocks 1 open bug, )

Details

(Keywords: uiwanted, Whiteboard: [gs])

Attachments

(2 files)

User-Agent:       Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1.5) Gecko/20091102 Firefox/3.5.5 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)
Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1.6pre) Gecko/20091110 Shredder/3.0pre

Order of tags defines tag priority. If a message has multiple tags, tags with highest priority wins and defines color of message.

=> The has to be to control the order of his tags.

This functionality could be added to the Options > Display > Tags preferences dialog via [Move Up] and [Move Down] buttons:

+-------------------------------------+
| 1 Work             |    [ Add ]     |
| 2 Personal         |   [ Edit ]     |
| 3 Computers        |   [ Delete ]   |
| 4 Politics         |   [ Move Up ]  |  <-- NEW button
| 5 ToDo             |  [ Move Down ] |  <-- NEW button
| 6 Important        |                |
+--------------------+                |
|                                     |
|                    [OK ] [ Cancel ] |
+-------------------------------------+


Reproducible: Always
ascii art created by Peter Lairo  (see bug #342065 comment #9)
Severity: enhancement → normal
Summary: user should be able to control the order of his tags. → user should be able to control the order (priority) of tags.
manual workaround described here:
http://azariatech.com/Joomla/General-Tech/changing-tag-order-in-tb2-aka-reorder-tags-in-thunderbird-2.html

Page claims that one can only reorder the first nine tags.
This is not a dupe of bug #368084 as that bug is about changing the association of shortcut for tags. One way is to reorder tags, but there are other - better - means. As bug #368084 comment #15 clearly states "(User-defined) ordering of tags and shortcut key association are two entirely different things that must be kept apart"

This bug is about the lack of user control over tag priority.
Keywords: uiwanted
There seems to be an add-on ("mailtweak") that can tweak thunderbird. Among other things, it allows to change the order of tags.

http://mailtweak.mozdev.org/tweaks.html#tagtools

I habe not tried it yet.
Another good idea comes from the "mailtweak" add-on: To share tags between profiles, on has to be able to export and import them.
Severity: normal → enhancement
Status: UNCONFIRMED → NEW
Component: Preferences → Mail Window Front End
Ever confirmed: true
QA Contact: preferences → front-end
Blocks: tb-tagsmeta
This is a nice administrative tags UI that allows for
- ordering of tags
- exporting/importing tags (when migrating a TB profile)
- defining a "tag pool" (whatever that is :-)
Use Case "semantical tagging"

User describes content of mails using tags. Tags do not have a priority. Sort order is lexical.


Use Case "project management"

User uses tags to assign mails to project, todo lists, queues. Tag priority is defined by the user. Sort order is done according to priority.
Depends on: 436017
New UI suggestion:

+---------------------------------------+
| 1 Work             |    [ Add ]       |
| 2 Personal         |   [ Edit ]       |
| 3 Computers        |   [ Delete ]     |
| 4 Politics         |                  |
| 5 ToDo             | [x] sort lexical |  <- NEW
| 6 Important        | [ Move Up   ]    |
+--------------------+ [ Move Down ]    |
|                                       |
|                    [OK ] [ Cancel ]   |
+---------------------------------------+

List of tags represents priority of tags. Highest priority is at the top of the list.

Checkbox "sort lexical" is checked: list is kept in lexical order. New tags or renamed tags get inserted according to lexical order. As such tag priority is according to lexical order.

Checkbox is unchecked: user can change priority by moving tags up or down in the list. New tags are appended to the end of the list. Renamed tags keep their position (and priority). 
Problem: Arranging tags in long lists (> 20) will be awkward.
Summary: user should be able to control the order (priority) of tags. → [tagging] user should be able to control the order (priority) of tags.
Duplicate of this bug: 646453
IMO, this bug presents highly valuable ideas for the modernization of Thunderbird's desolate legacy tagging system.

Comment 7 is crucial as it points out the two major shortcomings of the current tagging system. [...]

Some conceptual and UI details still need to be clarified (on which I'll try to comment later), but this is going in the right direction!
(In reply to comment #8)
> | 5 ToDo             | [x] sort lexical |  <- NEW

Does "sort lexical" mean "sort alphabetically"? If so, it should probably say "sort alphabetically" to be more widely understood.
Yes, I wanted to say  "to sort alphabetically".
OS: Windows XP → All
Hardware: x86 → All
Version: unspecified → Trunk
Administrative Tags UI
Feedback in reply to attachment 412060 [details]

1) I think the "sort lexical" aka "sort alphabetical" option should better be included in the main UI, where it applies, e.g. as a column header, to avoid confusions. The checkbox cannot be used for sorting the administrative list, as this would be non-intuitive UI. Column headers of the grid must be used for sorting the list alphabetically or according to rank/priority or shortcuts.

2) The administrative List needs another column (independent of ranking/priority) for defining the keyboard shortcuts. We need to disentangle position in the list from shortcut assignment, so that non-adjacent entries (e.g. in the alphabetical list) can get a shortcut. Furthermore, top-listed entries, when in priority sorting, are not necessarily the most frequently used ones to deserve a shortcut, on the contrary. Assigning an already assigned shortcut to another tag will simply remove it from the former.

3) For ux-consistency, if other actions all have a button, changing the shortcut must also have its button.

4) The tabular grid with the tags details should be more direktly responsive, SeaMonkey does this quite well: Strings should be in-place editable, the colors clickable, Shortcuts have a dropdown etc., all right from the grid without pressing extra buttons.

This is certainly not complete yet, just trying to push it a bit further and explore more.
I'm not a big fan of the UI you're proposing in screenshot #2, and I think you're pushing it in the wrong direction.

Firstly, it would be _far_ simpler to just drag and drop the tags into the order you want, and by doing so, you could remove several of the proposed buttons.

Secondly, separating the shortcut key from the rank seems to me like we're adding complexity for not much benefit.  And what happens when someone decides to use "a" as a shortcut key?  Will it tag and archive the message at the same time?  Restricting the user to "0-9" seems fairly arbitrary.

I know you haven't asked for a drive-by UI-review, but in the spirit of trying to prevent you from wasting a lot of effort going down an unfavourable path, I would give your latest proposal a ui-r-, for what that's worth.

Thanks,
Blake.
Blake,

thanks for the drive-by UI-review :)
it can help to clarify things

(In reply to comment #14)
> I'm not a big fan of the UI you're proposing in screenshot #2, and I think
> you're pushing it in the wrong direction.

I'm basically pushing it in the direction where SeaMonkey has already pushed it (please do try their UI!), and in directions that eliminate the current insufficiencies of the UI. Otherwise, it's a draft and I am open for improvements, as long as they don't reproduce current problems. 

> Firstly, it would be _far_ simpler to just drag and drop the tags into the
> order you want, and by doing so, you could remove several of the proposed
> buttons.

Yes, drag and drop would be very helpful. However, we need to provide ways for keyboard users to achieve the same action without mouse. I don't like the buttons very much, either, but then we need find keyboard alternatives!
Maybe we could have sth. like Alt+Cursor-Up and Alt+Cursor-Down for changing priority of list items when they have focus and the list is currently sorted by priority. However, I am not sure how we could/should communicate those shortcuts in the UI. Any suggestions?

> Secondly, separating the shortcut key from the rank seems to me like we're
> adding complexity for not much benefit.

NO. Rank (specifying importance/priority/systematical list order) must be independent of the shortcut keys, that's two entirely different concepts (cf. my postings elsewhere, e.g. Bug 368084 Comment 15). For some users these might coincide, for others they will diverge. My most important tags (highest rank) might be for those emails from the boss that always get highest priority, and they might actually be very *few* (lots of things with highest priority never works!), so they *do not* need a shortcut. On the other hand, I might get a *large* number of mails with *lower priority*, for which I *do* need the shortcuts. In such cases, rank 1 does NOT need a shortcut, but rank 1 might need one. Actually, a rank/priority sorting UI where you can push list items around will eventually break any UI where the first few slots automatically get the shortcut. Each time you push an item into one of the first few keyboard shortkey slots, one existing keyboard shortcut will be lost, and many other keyboard shortcuts will change.

Seriously, let's stop the historical nonsense where the first 9 slots automatically get the shortcut. That works for closed sets of 5 tags, but no longer for an unlimited number of tags. If you want an independent UI for assigning shortcuts to any non-adjacent tags in my prioritized list, like a dialogue or something, please make suggestions. However IMO, *that* would add unnecessary complexity where we can just have the shortcuts as another column in the main administrative grid.

Blake, please look at this with "semantic tagging" in mind. The user can create as many tags as he pleases, to describe the content of an email and help retrieve it through tag search. So there might be 100 tags or more. Many users may not even bother to sort these by priority once we allow creating and assigning tags by just typing them in (like in Firefox, delicious, and lots of other tagging systems). Semantical tags are most naturally sorted alphabetically. Again, the first few in the alphabetical sequence are by no means always the same few that should have the shortcuts.

> And what happens when someone decides
> to use "a" as a shortcut key?  Will it tag and archive the message at the same
> time? Restricting the user to "0-9" seems fairly arbitrary.

It is not aim of this bug to change the available shortcut keys. Currently, we have 0-9 as shortcuts. That's what I'm working with, not more, not less. However, the UI proposed in Screenshot 2 (attachment 524775 [details]) will easily handle any set of custom keyboard shortcuts that we allow the user to assign.
Otherwise, there's notorious Core Bug 57805 (since 2000) with little hope of being fixed any time soon.
(In reply to comment #15)
> My most important tags (highest rank)
> might be for those emails from the boss that always get highest priority, and
> they might actually be very *few* (lots of things with highest priority never
> works!), so they *do not* need a shortcut. On the other hand, I might get a
> *large* number of mails with *lower priority*, for which I *do* need the
> shortcuts. In such cases, rank 1 does NOT need a shortcut, but rank 1 might
> need one. 

Typo fix: In such cases, the tag of rank 1 does NOT need a shortcut, but rank *12* might need one. So the tags with keyboard shortcuts will be non-adjacent, no matter if the list is alphabetical or sorted by rank/priority.
I like your ideas very much. Especially the "responsive" design suggested in comment #13.

The "sort alphabetically" checkbox is not really needed.
- if tags are displayed in tabular form, one could just sort by column "tag name"
- one might be able to right click on the table and select "rank alphabetically"
- Sorting can also be done when the UI provides a tag list to the user in order to tag messages. See Bug #381961.
I think this bug is in danger of feature creep. The priority right now should be to let users rearrange the order of the Tags. Period. 

This would already achieve two huge benefits: (1) Tags can be ordered as the users wants them (and not in the order they created them) and (2) the order can also be used to define which shortcut keys belong to which Tag.

I suspect most users don't have a huge number of Tags (e.g., I'm an advanced control-freak user and I have 10 Tags). They can easily enough rearrange them alphabetically by hand.

BTW: I just went through the ridiculously tedious process of rearranging my Tags by editing the prefs.js file as described here:

http://azariatech.com/Joomla/General-Tech/changing-tag-order-in-tb2-aka-reorder-tags-in-thunderbird-2.html
See Also: → 522212

Just had the problem my new tag defined changed my already "wellknown" hotkeys of other defined tags because it insert itself in-between...

It looks like all is clear now and discussed about 10 (!) years now: can you get it done please? This would really be of help for many users...

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