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Conversations in Gmail

posted Jan 14, 2010, 12:12 PM by Francois Tricot   [ updated Jan 29, 2010, 1:30 AM ]
Some reported confusion on our new email systems on the conversation system. Some of you sent by mistake unwanted text to someone, either Replying a conversation, either forwarding a conversation.
These ones are convinced that the system is buggy, which is not the case, however, it requires attention to details when you have a conversation which has sub-threads (private Reply, then group replies by others, etc)
At the end of this post I will tell you the best way to avoid mixing the sub-threads.


Anyway, you have full control of the forwarded text within a conversation before sending, you can review the text that has been included.

Following text, from Google explains the Conversations systems :

Gmail groups all replies with their original message, creating a single conversation or thread. In other email systems, responses appear as separate messages in your inbox, forcing you to wade through all your mail to follow the conversation. In Gmail, replies to replies (and replies to those replies) are displayed in one place, in order, making it easier to understand the context of a message -- or to follow the conversation.

When you open one message in a conversation, all of your related messages will be stacked neatly on top of each other, like a deck of cards. We call this Conversation View. In Conversation View, each new message is stacked on top of the ones that arrived before it, so that the newest message is always the one you see first.

To see all the messages in a conversation, just click Expand all.

The way I see it : a conversation is like a box on your desk on which all answers to an original message are put, independently of their recipients, sorted oldest to newest - top. Each mail generally contains the text of the sender + the text of the message that was used to reply/forward. It generally contains all the previous messages, sorted newest to oldest - down.

When replying/forwarding, you can scratch the copied content.

When you forward a message, follow this procedure:

To forward an individual message:

  1. Open the appropriate conversation and select the message to forward.
  2. Click Forward from the bottom of the message card.
  3. Enter the email address(es) to which the email should be forwarded, and add any notes in the message field. If the message has attachments, you can choose not to forward them by deselecting the checkbox next to the filename below the Subject field.
  4. Click Send.

To forward an entire conversation:

  1. Open the appropriate conversation.
  2. Click Forward all from the right side of the Conversation View.
Forwarding an entire conversation will add all messages from a conversation into a single message. Each message will be clearly marked, and will be listed in order from oldest to most recent.

Forwarding an individual message in the middle of the conversation :

Note that the text that will be included is the one you see (in this case : "Oui pas de soucis.") AND the text hidden under the two "- Show quoted text -" part. You may click on it to review the text before.

Once you clicked Forward in the drop down menu, you will get following screen : PLEASE REVIEW THE EMBEDDED TEXT BEFORE SENDING THE MESSAGE : check the scroll bar

The Forward All button is on the right of the screen, just above Translate conv.

How to avoid mixing sub-threads

If you receive an email that has been sent to let's say 10 and would like to reply privately to 2, then click the Edit Subject link and CHANGE the subject : your email will become a new conversation.

If you do that, the original thread will continue to group all replies by others and you to the whole group, and a new conversation will be created for your private reply.

See following screenshots on how to change the Subject :

After having clicked Edit Subject, the window becomes :