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Should the private messages be copied in your notification?

Travel Forums System Talk Should the private messages be copied in your notification?

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1. Posted by Peter (Admin 5492 posts) 1y

Hey all,

We're making some adjustments to the emails we're sending out notifying of activity.

One question we're having is whether it's actually a good thing to send the entire private message in the email.

On the one hand having the message right there in the email is handy to quickly see what it says without having to log onto the site.

On the other hand, by including the full message in the email, people sometimes end up just responding to the notification email rather than going to Travellerspoint. Or they might put off responding because there's less immediacy. If they were logged in to Travellerspoint and in their message centre then it's much easier to just click the Reply button there. And finally, sometimes (rather rarely) spammers send private messages. Having these delivered by email makes some people think that Travellerspoint is sending those.

So, in short the proposal is to not show the full private message in the emails anymore and instead show a link to the message on Travellerspoint.

Let me know what you all think!

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4410 posts) 1y

I think the big risk with not including the message text is that the emails become very generic - and people new / irregular to the site won't actually realize they're real. There's an active subset of spammers who try to lure people to random sites with "You have X new messages" spam. How would google e.a. distinguish between those and our PMs if not through the included text?

I don't know if that argument is very strong, though. Lots of other forums don't include the PM text either, and that still works fine (afaik - though I don't use gmail, of course, so maybe it doesn't actually). Beyond that, I do have a strong personal preference to keep the current situation, though; unread PMs are a bit of a todo list for me - I already know what they say because of emails, but sometimes I just don't have an answer yet, or need to research a bit, or am just out of time - and then the unread count works as a reminder on further visits.

So... maybe a preference, defaulting to not including the text of the message, but with an option for those of us too set in our ways to want change, to get the current behaviour back?

[ Edit: Edited on 15-May-2013, at 01:43 by Sander ]

3. Posted by Peter (Admin 5492 posts) 1y

Hehe, my unread count just gets stuck at 20 and never whittles down. Obviously they are read, but in my email. Actually, that's another reason to require the click - so that the number there is a real number.

Preferences suggestion taken on board though. I think it might actually be time for an email preferences page on the site in any case. There's so many different ones going out now.

4. Posted by Peter (Admin 5492 posts) 43w

I'm reopening this old thread, because I feel like changing this again :)

Actually, I want to change it for the forum as well. I noted someone commenting on how annoying it is when the OP doesn't respond to threads after the first question. It seems to me that maybe we can improve this by forcing people to come on to the site to read the answer. Once they're here, the barrier to respond is much, much smaller. Plus, we might then be able to get them involved in some other threads which can only be a good thing for activity.

Same kind of applies to the private messages.

And yes, I'd consider an option to revert to the old method for those who really want it - though not sure whether I'd implement that at the same time since it is extra work of course.

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4410 posts) 43w

My position on PMs is still the same. I'd also turn off notifications altogether until they have the option to include the text - If I have to open the PM to be able to read it, I want to only do so when I know I have the time to respond to it - which is rarely. So I'll just see that I have any when I'm active on the site, and don't need my email inbox cluttered with useless notifications.

I don't use forum subscriptions, so there I don't have a preference. :) I do think, though, that even if I did use forum subscriptions, I would be okay with the change, since there's no concept of "unread" in forum messages anyway.

Something to consider, though: New Member gets spam reply to thread. Moderator deletes spam reply. New Member visits thread.
In the old situation, spam was frequently blatant enough that the new member could figure out what'd likely have happened to the reply. In the new situation, there'd be no way to know why a reply was deleted.
But then, you can't let spammers ruin everything...

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Dec-2013, at 00:13 by Sander ]

6. Posted by Peter (Admin 5492 posts) 43w

Leaving the PMs just for the moment, but I have made the change to the forums now. Let's see how well it works.

You're right about the potential for a deleted entry. Maybe a subtle "Entry deleted by moderator" note where the entry once was? It would be kind of nice if the email went straight to the entry that was posted and this would be problematic if one was deleted in between sending the email and the link being clicked.

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4410 posts) 43w

Hmm, such an "entry deleted" message might be interesting. If it's subtle enough, it could be worth a try. Maybe only make it show for the first x (12? 24?) hours after the deletion, so that it doesn't clutter endlessly, but still provides immediate benefit/visibility.

9. Posted by Peter (Admin 5492 posts) 43w

I'm thinking "Post x was removed by a moderator" . This way there's no ambiguity about which post was removed. I think it can be subtle enough to remain in place. Having a post number that remains the same for the post regardless of what else happens around it would actually have some side benefits.

10. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1044 posts) 43w

Quoting Peter

On the other hand, by including the full message in the email, people sometimes end up just responding to the notification email rather than going to Travellerspoint.

Would it be possible to change the way the PM is sent by email (from/reply to address), so any reply to the notification via email is received by TP servers and treated like a PM? (ending up in the inbox of the recipient)