[Chandler-dev] [Proposal] Assigning an "Owner" to an item

Mimi Yin mimi at osafoundation.org
Fri May 16 11:31:55 PDT 2008

We have been grappling with the problem of how to assign "ownership"  
of items to people in Chandler for quite some time now. Many  
challenges lay in the way:

1. How does the concept of "ownership" interact with email addressing  

- Someone who sends me an email is often someone who is requesting  
that I follow-up with some kind of response, an answer to a question  
or some sort of action.

- Someone I send email to is often someone I'm expecting a reply from.

- Someone who sends an event invitation out is often the organizer of  
that event and the recipients are most often the attendees of that  

However, while there is often overlap, there isn't a clean 1:1  
mapping between from/to attributes in email and the notion of  
"ownership"... which means that there should probably be an owner  
attribute that exists independent of the email addressing fields.

2. What do users want to see in the "Who" column of the Triage Table?

- The hardest part of Chandlers "integrated views" that can display  
all different kinds of items is figuring out what attributes to  
display in a limited number of columns.

- Hence, the "smart" Who and Date columns.
- So now the question is, if we have some concept of "ownership", how  
does Chandler decide what attribute to display in the Who column:  
Owner? From? To? Created by? Edited by? Updated by?

I don't think you want to decide on an item by item basis, what  
attribute you want see in the Who column.

I also don't think it would be satisfactory to decide what attribute  
you want to see for the Who column as a whole because I think it  
really will be different depending on the item.

So the question is, when will people want Chandler to just "do the  
right thing" versus when are people going to want to have manual  
override powers?

I'm going to posit that "email" is when we're going to want Chandler  
to just "do the right thing". Meaning, stuff that

However, when/if you do decide to assign an "owner" to an item,  
you're going to want that "owner" to override whatever other "Who"  
attributes might pertain to the item.

Meaning, Chandler should decide what to display in the Who column  
when the who-attributes involved are ones that aren't *explicitly*  
assigned to the item by the user. However, when the user *does*  
explicitly assign an owner attribute, the owner attribute should win.


So here's the proposal:

1. Add new "Owner" attribute on the Note-Kind that is blank by default.

2. Who column displays attributes in accordance with the following  
- Owner, if there is one
- From, if incoming email
- To, if outgoing email
- To, if it's both incoming *and* outgoing email
- From, if it's neither incoming *nor* outgoing email
- Edited by
- Created by

3. I think we still want to keep the "transient" Who column behavior  
we have today where if an item is edited, sent or updated by somebody  
else, you see that information in the Who column so long as the item  
is considered "Unread". As soon as you've read it however, that  
information goes away and is replaced by whatever Who-attribute is  
supposed to appear based on the rules above.

Is anyone struggling with this problem right now? How are you  
assigning ownership to items?


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