Are you a piler, filer, or purger?

Are you a piler, filer, or purger?

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When we looked into how people used email, we found some interesting patterns. It turns out that there are generally three types of people when it comes to email: pilers, filers, and purgers.

Which are you?

  • Piler: “I generally don’t put email into a folder or archive. I don’t delete it. I just let it pile up in my inbox."
  • Filer: “I generally categorize messages by moving them into folders I’ve created or assigning labels to each message.”
  • Purger:  “I generally delete email after I’ve read it.”

Different strokes for different folks. It’s a fun engineering challenge to build an email service that works well for all three types of folks.

Here’s a bit of data on how pilers, filers, and purgers tend to manage the email in their accounts.

Table comparing how pilers, filers, and purgers handle email.

Source: Microsoft internal

And a chart that will give you a sense as to what percentage of people are like you.

Pie chart showing percentage of people in each category

Coming up next – did you know that Hotmail has keyboard shortcuts? Did you know that you can choose between Outlook shortcuts and Gmail-compatible shortcuts? Pretty geeky, huh? I’ll talk next about how we think about those features that we geeks love and that most people never use.

Dick Craddock
Group Program Manager, Windows Live Hotmail

7 Comments
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  • I am Filer sometimes and purger most of the times.

    I noticed one thing now in WLM is "Now i don't see any option to move new mails into new folders.

    However The old filters works well and mails are moving correctly into appropriate folders.

    May be i don't know where to go and apply filters, if any one have any clue on this please let me know.

    I am also interested in knowing the overall Windes Livemail architecture as well to undrstand the scalability requirements. It will be great! if you can write an article on this as well.

  • thljcl
    7 Posts

    I'm a purger. I don't keep things I don't really need. We all need to conserve resources, don't we?

  • I am a filer! And I love it!

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    I am a filer for Live Hotmail and a piler for Live Mail. Sadly, with Live Mail going away for Win XP, I will become a purger.

  • Albert
    94 Posts

    I am definitely a filer (13+ folders to keep things neat, used to have more but after some cleaning sessions I narrowed it down to a more selective order of folders). My Inbox also has a max of 20 rule, so I definitely cringe when I see other people's inboxes go into 10s of pages. Anyway, I am VERY happy you guys look into this kind of behavior, it must certainly be important when designing future uses of the product.

  • I don't delete my e-mail so I'm not a Purger.  I archive it so I'm not a Piler.  But I don't keep my archives organized so I guess I'm not a Filer either.

  • A340-600
    13 Posts

    I'm a Purger, but only in Windows Live Mail (using POP3). On the webmail end, I either keep a copy of the message I deleted in WLM or delete it also.