UPDATE, 27 October 2010: Google has finally answered our request!. As of Oct 27, you can now have this feature as part of Labs for Gmail. See the official post on how to add Delete and Go Next in your Labs settings. Thanks Google for listening and thanks to Mr ITF for the heads up, not to mention today’s best laugh (click that link – it’s adorable; it will brighten your day).

I would say the thing that drives me nuts the most about Gmail, is the fact that every time you delete a message, you’re kicked back out to the message list. Google, taking a page from Microsoft, has decided to do your thinking for you and take this option off the table because you really shouldn’t delete emails. But if I know I will never want that message again, I delete it. And am stuck back out at the message list. This, more than anything has stopped me from adopting Gmail.

It turns out there is a ‘Delete’ and go to next conversation Greasemonkey script that will do just what I’m looking for, but recent Gmail upgrades broke that script. So out of luck again. [Update, June 22, 2009: this script has been fixed. Check it out.]

Over at JimsTips.com, Jim suggests using Gmail Keyboard shortcuts (Gmail Help article) deleting with the # key, which does kick you back to the message list and then using the ‘k’ key to move to the next message and the ‘o’ or <enter> key to open the message. The thing I dislike about that is that it is three page loads when it should be two (in other words, why do I have to see that damn message list?).

So my similarly kludgey, but somewhat more elegant solution (or maybe not) is to:

  • Turn on keyboard shortcuts (in Settings -> General).
  • Create a label named ‘Delete’ (or ‘aaDelete’ if you want to be sure it is at the top of your label list).
  • When reading a message, type ‘l’ (that’s a lower-case L) to bring up the label list.
  • Hit the downarrow key once to select my top aaDelete label at the top of my list
  • Hit the ‘k’ key to move to the next message.
  • When I’m all done, I can view the messages deleted aaDelete and select and delete them all.

Yeah, stupid, crappy, cumbersome way to do it. I know. Tell Google.

Now if only they would come up with a proper way to view all unlabeled messages, but my solution to that is reasonably workable, if a bit cumbersome.

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