Update: Trä pointed to the relevant bug: Bug 86845 - Sort order for mail/news not configurable by default.

In reply to my offer of free Thunderbird technical support, I've gotten a few queries from people asking how to get rid of certain annoyances they have with Thunderbird (out of the box), or whether these peeves have been "fixed". Some of these I did manage to resolve, the rest turned out to be also my own peeves with Thunderbird that I didn't realize I had until I was asked.

One reader asked:

Is there any hidden pref, or any way to make EVERY imap folder sort by Date with newest at the top, instead of the default which is newest at the bottom?

Exactly the same problem I had (I have 7 IMAP email accounts in Thunderbird at work), exactly the same problem I had tried to solve a long while back (to no avail). I've checked Google, Bugzilla, and Thunderbird's pref.js but these didn't turn up anything useful. It can't be true that no one else finds this a problem. If you know that this can be changed somewhere or has already been logged into Bugzilla, let me know by leaving a nice little comment.

Coincidentally, on the same day, a colleague asked me how to sort messages in a folder by thread and then by date. Which of course can be done by clicking on the "Thread" icon (click it again if the chronological order is not in the direction you want). But this also only applies to a single folder which is a pain in the ass if you have to do the same for each other folder.