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All About ‘Clutter’ – Home Run for Microsoft Office Graph

We all receive email that we may have signed up for (such as a blog posts, newsletter) and that isn’t exactly junk, but is less probable to get our attention. Clutter uses the intelligence of Office Graph to see how important (or unimportant) this email is to you. It learns over time your levels of importance, then uses that analysis to separate the clutter from other inbox items.  You can quickly scan the clutter, mark individual items as “not clutter,” and take action on the rest of it, such as deleting it all. And if you don’t like the feature, you can turn it off.
Statement from office team – “Clutter learns from your actions to determine the messages you are likely to ignore,” . The underlying idea is quite simple: Microsoft wants to leverage the knowledge it gains about your daily work activities to automatically filter out emails that don’t immediately need your attention.
The flow works something like this : First emails considered as SPAM are rejected before its delivered to your mailbox. Then if a message lands in the inbox, it gets routed through the rules, and eventually Clutter does its magic. As a result, Clutter will get smarter over time, by learning your prior actions with similar messages, and determining the type of content and even how you are addressed in the message. This means the Clutter experience is personalized to each individual, based on their actions and their preferences.
Here is a two step process to turn ON Clutter for your Office 365 inbox. Remember it’s a individual user setting, and currently no way to automate the process for multiple users.

Clutter01

Clutter02

After turning ON Clutter, you should receive a welcome email similar to this

Clutter03

We’ve seen how you get this feature for your inbox, now let’s dig a bit deeper to understand the various facts which may help you.

SOME INTERESTING & FUN  FACTS

  • Available to all SKU’s

  • Clutter works in all clients (in terms of moving messages to the clutter folder and learning from your behavior), though it currently requires OWA to turn it on.

  • Clutter is only a feature on individuals mailboxes.

  • Not available for Office 365 groups mailbox.

  • In order get the Clutter feature earlier, enable your Office 365 tenant to receive First Release.

  • It is an Exchange feature, not a client feature. That means in mobile or desktop no special client is required. They will see Clutter emails in their Clutter folder. The items will not show up in their Inbox. Clutter is available in all mail clients that can display and sync folders from your mailbox. i.e. Smartphones, tablets, etc.

  • If the user is not reading the Yammer notification emails, then Clutter will see that they are not important to that individual and will move them out of the inbox into the Clutter folder. You will need to drag the Yammer notification email into their Inbox folder, and then Clutter will learn that messages from Yammer are important and will leave them in your Inbox in future.

  • Clutter is a user preference feature, similar to electing to use conversation view. No current plans to add clutter specific admin controls, however Microsoft is looking at how to add broader tenant rollout controls.

  • Clutter is trained approximately once per day. Moving items out of Clutter is learned during the next training cycle.

  • You can train Clutter from your phone.

  • Clutter looks at the folders at the Exchange level, independent of client.

  • Clutter is only available in online version. It is not planned for next version of Exchange Server. Clutter requires rapid feedback to fine-tune the machine learning which isn’t possible in an on-prem deployment and also requires additional server processing resources that would impact the sizing for the on-prem server.

  • Q: What is the processing order between Junk Mail, Clutter and custom rules?
    A. Junk Mail first, then custom rules, then Clutter. (AFAIK)

    Q: Can we have a rule which force something to go to clutter / not go to clutter?
    A. Yes, but if you force a message into Clutter it won’t go through the Inbox and therefore won’t be considered as a signal for learning your preferences

    Q: Can we have a rule which operates on e-mail which does arrive in Inbox/Clutter only?
    A. All rules operate on inbound mail destined for the Inbox unless redirected by a rule. Clutter currently applies after all server-side rules. Clutter is not aware of client-side rules. There is a trick that allows you to force an item to not go through Clutter processing. You can create a rule which moves the item to a folder or your Inbox and Clutter won’t be processed on messages which that rule applies to. You can’t control the order in which rules and Clutter run. Today Clutter will always run after your last rule.

    Q: Can we create a rule and specify when it should be processed (before/after Junk Mail, before/after Clutter)?
    A. No

  • Q: I added clutter yesterday afternoon and now most of my mail goes to clutter?
    A: Check for – If you get a lot of circulars and non-personal email that could be regard as clutter. Possibly most email in your inbox was left marked unread before enabling Clutter

  • Q: Does Clutter learn from the Content / subject of an email to classify?
    A: Yes. Move the Internal communication email into Clutter and leave the Sales email in your Inbox and all will be well.

  • Rules vs Clutter

    If you want to apply that level of precision, use rules. Or turn them off to let Clutter do its stuff… but accept that all of the messages will go into a single folder.
    Clutter only learns from your choices, as everyone prioritizes their inbox differently.

  • Diff between JUNK and CLUTTER

    As an example Clutter can learn which internal distribution lists you read and which ones you don’t and will move the ones that you don’t read to Clutter. Junk Email doesn’t do that. You can think of junk email as being something that is not personalized – junk for one person is junk for others. Clutter on the other hand, is highly personalized – it’s the set that you tend to ignore, but others may not. junk is something that you really do not want to see in the future. Clutter is email that you will probably want to look at, but not as a high priority activity.

  • If you are one of those users who select multiple messages and mark them as read then clutter will not learn from any signal. You need to either leave messages unread or move them to Clutter folder (via drag drop or right click move to clutter) or yet delete them as unread to generate a clutter signal. Microsoft is looking at improvements for the model that will learn from users who mark everything as read.

  • If you are using Clutter nothing has populated the folder then try moving some messages to the Clutter folder and it should get signals.

  • Clutter only works on emails which are going to your Inbox. If a rule moves the email first then Clutter won’t move it or train on it later.

 
Source: Office 365 Community Network; Microsoft.com; Office Blogs

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