Topics

moderated web-based questionnaire for restricted groups a pressing issue #suggestion


 

Hi Mark,

I think this is on the todo list but I am pushing for a bump in priority: GMF is virtually *swamped* with new group owners flummoxed and dismayed by not having the same kind of web-based questionnaire for prospective membersthat they had in Y!G. They are being advised to use the pending member notice to send an email questionnaire, but, as in my group, these get lost a significant percentage of the time in at least one other group; and even when they're received, having an email-based questionnaire can be a significant disincentive to join a group, compared, say, to FB groups, and sometimes people are just put off by them. (I won't compare it to Y!G because of all the problems there, including with the CAPTCHA (sp?), but that's what it's being compare to over and over again in GMF by new members.)

Hoping this can happen sooner rather than later.

J

--
J

 

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


 

Hi J,

On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 8:41 AM, J_Catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:

I think this is on the todo list but I am pushing for a bump in priority: GMF is virtually *swamped* with new group owners flummoxed and dismayed by not having the same kind of web-based questionnaire for prospective membersthat they had in Y!G. 

Can you refresh my memory? I thought Y! Groups only had a single text box where you could enter a reason for joining, and that you couldn't specify the question. And that reason was just emailed to the owners and not stored anywhere. Is that true?

What my vision has been is to use the database feature to be able to define a proper questionnaire. The results would be stored with the member and could be referenced/searched on. Some/all of those answers could also be made visible to the other group members. Also, I want to be able to use the database to define extra fields for each member, so that moderators can track information. But I haven't been able to properly map all this out in my head and figure out how it should work. And I was thinking it'd be a premium group feature.

Thanks,
Mark 


 

Mark,

Yes, that was sloppy language on my part. Y!G only has the textbox, but at this point, even that would be better than nothing. I do remember your plan for the questionnaire and having it go directly into a database. I don't care at this point whether or not it goes directly into a database - although that would be really nice  - and I don't think anybody else does either, at this point. They are all just clamoring for a way to get some information from a prospective member besides having to do sit and wait for an emailed questionnaire that possibly never arrives (and you never know whether it does or not). 

I think making the fancy implementation (database, etc.) could be a premium feature, but I think it's not a good idea to make at least some form of this a basic feature. Maybe just the textbox. Of course I haven't thought it through either, but I would be - as always lol - willing to lend my opinion if you sketch something out. :)

I feel like there is urgency here, just to get *something*. 
--
J

 

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


Drew
 

I don't mean to hijack this thread about web-based questionnaires but it seems appropriate to mention that a simpler solution for obtaining info from potential subscribers would be to allow comments to be passed to owners via the +subscribe email address. That is how YG worked. I suspect some former yahoo users do include comments in their subscribe email but there is no indication to them that their comments go nowhere.

Lacking comments in the subscribe email we have to resort to overly complicated instructions on our group page to obtain required info. Example:

"Send an empty email to the +subscribe address and we will contact you with a request for the required info. Alternatively, send the required info to +owners address and we will send you an invitation which you will then need to respond to in order to become a subscriber."

It would be so much easier to simply state:

"Send required info to XXX+subscribe@groups.io."

I realize the premium account allows direct add but that still leaves the problem of comments in subscribe emails being ignored and having to engage in multiple email exchanges in order to process required info.

Drew

On 02/14/18 12:40, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Hi J,
On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 8:41 AM, J_Catlady <@J_Catlady <mailto:@J_Catlady>> wrote:
I think this is on the todo list but I am pushing for a bump in
priority: GMF is virtually *swamped* with new group owners flummoxed
and dismayed by not having the same kind of web-based questionnaire
for prospective membersthat they had in Y!G. Can you refresh my memory? I thought Y! Groups only had a single text box where you could enter a reason for joining, and that you couldn't specify the question. And that reason was just emailed to the owners and not stored anywhere. Is that true?
What my vision has been is to use the database feature to be able to define a proper questionnaire. The results would be stored with the member and could be referenced/searched on. Some/all of those answers could also be made visible to the other group members. Also, I want to be able to use the database to define extra fields for each member, so that moderators can track information. But I haven't been able to properly map all this out in my head and figure out how it should work. And I was thinking it'd be a premium group feature.
Thanks,
Mark


 

Most of our members subscribe via the web.

On Feb 14, 2018, at 10:37 AM, Drew AF2Z <@af2z> wrote:

I don't mean to hijack this thread about web-based questionnaires but it seems appropriate to mention that a simpler solution for obtaining info from potential subscribers would be to allow comments to be passed to owners via the +subscribe email address. That is how YG worked. I suspect some former yahoo users do include comments in their subscribe email but there is no indication to them that their comments go nowhere.

Lacking comments in the subscribe email we have to resort to overly complicated instructions on our group page to obtain required info. Example:

"Send an empty email to the +subscribe address and we will contact you with a request for the required info. Alternatively, send the required info to +owners address and we will send you an invitation which you will then need to respond to in order to become a subscriber."

It would be so much easier to simply state:

"Send required info to XXX+subscribe@groups.io."

I realize the premium account allows direct add but that still leaves the problem of comments in subscribe emails being ignored and having to engage in multiple email exchanges in order to process required info.

Drew




On 02/14/18 12:40, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Hi J,
On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 8:41 AM, J_Catlady <@J_Catlady <mailto:@J_Catlady>> wrote:
I think this is on the todo list but I am pushing for a bump in
priority: GMF is virtually *swamped* with new group owners flummoxed
and dismayed by not having the same kind of web-based questionnaire
for prospective membersthat they had in Y!G. Can you refresh my memory? I thought Y! Groups only had a single text box where you could enter a reason for joining, and that you couldn't specify the question. And that reason was just emailed to the owners and not stored anywhere. Is that true?
What my vision has been is to use the database feature to be able to define a proper questionnaire. The results would be stored with the member and could be referenced/searched on. Some/all of those answers could also be made visible to the other group members. Also, I want to be able to use the database to define extra fields for each member, so that moderators can track information. But I haven't been able to properly map all this out in my head and figure out how it should work. And I was thinking it'd be a premium group feature.
Thanks,
Mark


--
J

 

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


Judy F.
 

It has been some time since I was active on this beta group although I have read most of the posts. 

The process that is currently used on our buying and selling group is the individual joins the group and they are pended.  An email message is sent to them requesting required information that is listed in the message and that needs to be returned within 48 hours.  If I don't get it in that time, the pended request is denied.  Those email replies are kept in an approved folder and can be referred to at any time if needed. 

I agree that whatever method is used, that it applies to all groups, regular and premium.  At some point, I would like for someone to explain to me exactly how the method that is in the queue will work so I can determine if it will work in our situation and I'm sure others.

Thank you,
Judy F.
SW Florida - USA


Marina
 

On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 09:40 am, Mark Fletcher wrote:

What my vision has been is to use the database feature to be able to define
a proper questionnaire. The results would be stored with the member and
could be referenced/searched on. Some/all of those answers could also be
made visible to the other group members. Also, I want to be able to use the
database to define extra fields for each member, so that moderators can
track information. But I haven't been able to properly map all this out in
my head and figure out how it should work. And I was thinking it'd be a
premium group feature.
The detailed questionnaire/database project sounds very interesting but, as far as I am concerned, I'd be happy with a plain space where prospective members must state their reasons for joining the group.

Thank you for all the work on Groups.io,
Marina


Dave Sergeant
 

I agree, the plain space box which Yahoogroups offers is the way to do
this. Having the person wishing to join to fill in a detailed web
questionnaire or respond by email to a 'pending' email just slows
things down. If they can say 'Fred, G4XYZ, member' in that box at the
time they join we can approve it immediately.

Dave

On 19 Feb 2018 at 2:13, Marina wrote:

The detailed questionnaire/database project sounds very interesting but,
as far as I am concerned, I'd be happy with a plain space where
prospective members must state their reasons for joining the group.

http://davesergeant.com


Drew
 

And I'd be happy if new subscribers could simply pass that information to owners in an email to the group's +subscribe email address. Currently comments included in emails to the +subscribe address simply vanish without warning.

Requiring potential subscribers to fill out a web form or send a separate email to the +owner email address, or waiting to receive and respond to a Pending Subscription email, etc., is needless complication.

Drew

On 02/19/18 05:13, Marina wrote:
The detailed questionnaire/database project sounds very interesting but, as far as I am concerned, I'd be happy with a plain space where prospective members must state their reasons for joining the group.
Thank you for all the work on Groups.io,
Marina


Patty Sliney
 

I think this is a great feature to add, Mark.  We used the Comments section in the membership application heavily for my lists, mainly based on my list demographic.  We use it to help screen out list spammers.  Yahoo Groups has the option to make that comments section mandatory to complete - you can't submit the membership application without filling out the comments section - with a checkbox for "mandatory" I think.  It helps us a lot.  We ask in our list description for a "list-specific" comment, and not a general comment, so we can screen out list spammers.  Most of the time, folks understand that.  Sometimes we have to prompt them for a more specific comment, but this is really an important feature in the application form for my groups.  Having a customized questionnaire is a "nice to have", but that comments field for us is a "need to have".


 

On Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 09:25 am, Patty Sliney wrote:
that comments field for us is a "need to have"
I would characterize it that way also.
 
--
J

 

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


Al Ludwick / NN4ZZ
 

All of the groups I manage are for Amateur radio ( aka Ham radio).  It would be nice to include a simple question that they could answer and provide the reply to us in the application message.

If you are a ham radio operator, please provide your call _______ or a short note about why you would like to join our group ____________________________________.

That is all we need to see,  Other groups might like to ask a different question. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
al (at) NN4ZZ (dot) com


Douglas Swearingen <dougiebehr@...>
 

Hello Al,


Someone might have already commented on this.  I have a restricted group.  My outgoing request for information before approving a member of my group, is posted whenever someone subscribes.  This is set at Admin --> Settings --> Member Notices, then click the dropdown for type of messages and I selected Pending Subscription.  So far all the messages to new subscribers have gone out.  I do know from posts here there have been some groups this does not always happen.


Doug




From: main@beta.groups.io <main@beta.groups.io> on behalf of Al Ludwick / NN4ZZ <al@...>
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:11 AM
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] web-based questionnaire for restricted groups a pressing issue #suggestion
 
All of the groups I manage are for Amateur radio ( aka Ham radio).  It would be nice to include a simple question that they could answer and provide the reply to us in the application message.

If you are a ham radio operator, please provide your call _______ or a short note about why you would like to join our group ____________________________________.

That is all we need to see,  Other groups might like to ask a different question. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
al (at) NN4ZZ (dot) com


Al Ludwick / NN4ZZ
 

Hi Doug,
If i create a “pending subscription” message, my understanding it that it is sent out separately and a reply may come later or not at all.   And the owner/moderators would need to wait to get the reply and keep track of it.   And coordinate and decide when to make a decision on the application.

Is that correct?

If so, my preference would be to present the question when the user first asks to join and include the reply in the approval email.  That way it would be just one event to review the request including the reply and immediately approve it in most cases. 

Does that make sense or am i misunderstanding something?

Al / NN4ZZ


On Mar 22, 2018, at 11:13 AM, Douglas Swearingen <dougiebehr@...> wrote:

Hello Al,


Someone might have already commented on this.  I have a restricted group.  My outgoing request for information before approving a member of my group, is posted whenever someone subscribes.  This is set at Admin --> Settings --> Member Notices, then click the dropdown for type of messages and I selected Pending Subscription.  So far all the messages to new subscribers have gone out.  I do know from posts here there have been some groups this does not always happen.


Doug




From: main@beta.groups.io <main@beta.groups.io> on behalf of Al Ludwick / NN4ZZ <al@...>
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:11 AM
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] web-based questionnaire for restricted groups a pressing issue #suggestion
 
All of the groups I manage are for Amateur radio ( aka Ham radio).  It would be nice to include a simple question that they could answer and provide the reply to us in the application message.

If you are a ham radio operator, please provide your call _______ or a short note about why you would like to join our group ____________________________________.

That is all we need to see,  Other groups might like to ask a different question. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
al (at) NN4ZZ (dot) com


Douglas Swearingen <dougiebehr@...>
 

Hello Al,


To my knowledge your understanding of "Pending Subscription" is correct.


As for tracking Pending Subscription messages in my group, we do not track them.  That is we do not track these outgoing messages as far as keeping track of everyone that receives the message.  Years of experience has taught me, less than 60% of those sent the messages ever reply back.  That is okay though.  My group is a Chronic Pain group and we request a pain related reason for joining. 


I do not know of a current way to present the question when the user first asks to join.


I do not think unless Mark makes some changes to user requests to join a group that is possible.


Maybe someone else in the group, GMF or Beta can add to this.


Doug




From: main@beta.groups.io <main@beta.groups.io> on behalf of Al Ludwick / NN4ZZ <al@...>
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2018 9:59 AM
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] web-based questionnaire for restricted groups a pressing issue #suggestion
 
Hi Doug,
If i create a “pending subscription” message, my understanding it that it is sent out separately and a reply may come later or not at all.   And the owner/moderators would need to wait to get the reply and keep track of it.   And coordinate and decide when to make a decision on the application.

Is that correct?

If so, my preference would be to present the question when the user first asks to join and include the reply in the approval email.  That way it would be just one event to review the request including the reply and immediately approve it in most cases. 

Does that make sense or am i misunderstanding something?

Al / NN4ZZ


On Mar 22, 2018, at 11:13 AM, Douglas Swearingen <dougiebehr@...> wrote:

Hello Al,


Someone might have already commented on this.  I have a restricted group.  My outgoing request for information before approving a member of my group, is posted whenever someone subscribes.  This is set at Admin --> Settings --> Member Notices, then click the dropdown for type of messages and I selected Pending Subscription.  So far all the messages to new subscribers have gone out.  I do know from posts here there have been some groups this does not always happen.


Doug




From: main@beta.groups.io <main@beta.groups.io> on behalf of Al Ludwick / NN4ZZ <al@...>
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:11 AM
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: Re: [beta] web-based questionnaire for restricted groups a pressing issue #suggestion
 
All of the groups I manage are for Amateur radio ( aka Ham radio).  It would be nice to include a simple question that they could answer and provide the reply to us in the application message.

If you are a ham radio operator, please provide your call _______ or a short note about why you would like to join our group ____________________________________.

That is all we need to see,  Other groups might like to ask a different question. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
al (at) NN4ZZ (dot) com


 

On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 09:07 am, Al Ludwick / NN4ZZ wrote:
my understanding it that it is sent out separately and a reply may come later or not at all.  
I just learned from Mark in a separate thread
https://beta.groups.io/g/main/message/16380

that when someone requests membership via email, the Pending Subscription notice is not even sent to them, nor is the moderator made aware of the membership request in any way, including a Pending member notice on the site or an email that there is a pending subscription requiring approval or EVEN a log entry that there's been a join request, until AFTER the pending member returns the Confirmation email to groups.io. This is different from when someone requests membership via the web: in the case of web requests, the Confirmation and the Pending Subscription emails go out at the same time, immediately upon the join request. and the moderator is immediately notified that there's been a membership request.

I don't understand the reason for this discrepancy (although I'm sure there must be a good one), but I think this two-step process in the case of join requests via email is contributing to keeping moderators in the dark about membership requests and whether or not the Pending Subscription notices have gone out or reached he person.  If the person has requested membership via email, moderators have no clue at all that there's even been a request until the person sends back the Confirmation email to groups.io. There's not even a log entry. You're completely in the dark. And the Pending Subscription notice has, in fact, not reached them - it hasn't even gone out yet.

I am reiterating here much of what I said in the thread above, but I think it bears on this thread, too, in that the process of sending, and the person receiving, the Pending Subscription notice seems far from ideal. Also, the fact that there exists a discrepancy between web join requests and email join requests gives moderators a false sense that they know whenever there's been a join request to their group, when actually they don't.

(This is made worse by the fact that the Confirmation email is sent, and a response from the person requesting membership via email is required, even if that person already has a groups.io account. Mark, I just tested this again and will send you details at support. My understanding was that Confirmation is required only of people attempting to join groups.io for the first time. So this seems like a bug, unless I have misunderstood Confirmation all of this time. If it is not a bug, and works as intended, that makes the join process even more problematic IMO.)
 
--
J

 

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


 

J,

... when someone requests membership via email, the Pending
Subscription notice is not even sent to them, nor is the moderator
made aware of the membership request in any way, ...
until AFTER the pending member returns the Confirmation email to
groups.io. This is different from when someone requests membership via
the web: ...

I don't understand the reason for this discrepancy (although I'm sure
there must be a good one),
Yup. The +subscribe email command may have been spoofed. If the person is logged in to the web site that's not a concern.

Back before Yahoo Groups implemented the same confirmation requirement it was possible to flood someone's inbox by subscribing them to a bunch of high-volume groups. All you needed to know was the person's email address, and how to forge From addresses (create spoofed messages).

In these days of modern times I think Mark could safely remove the confirmation requirement for any +subscribe commands where the sender can be authenticated. Likewise for +unsubscribe and the other email commands.
https://beta.groups.io/g/main/message/14899

... but I think this two-step process in the case of join requests via
email is contributing to keeping moderators in the dark about
membership requests ...
One thing that Yahoo Groups does is log the +subscribe receipt itself, and then later log the receipt of the confirmation. In the Email Commands tab of the Activity log these would appear as (newer first):

Mar 24 12:53 PM ... Membership confirmed via email
Mar 24 12:49 PM ... Membership requested via email

And only on the confirmed event would an entry be made in the Membership tab of the log and the person added to the pending member list and the APPROVE notice sent to the mods and the Pending file sent to the member.

(Not that those are particularly well worded. Many mods of restricted groups have been shocked to see "membership confirmed" in the log for people they haven't approved - but that's not what happened. The later entry ought to have said "Membership request confirmed via email".)

(This is made worse by the fact that the Confirmation email is sent,
and a response from the person requesting membership via email is
required, even if that person already has a groups.io account.
That's because this is confirming that they sent the +subscribe command. It is unrelated to confirming their email address as part of getting their account set up.

So this seems like a bug, unless I have misunderstood Confirmation all
of this time.
It is confirming something different in this case.

Shal


 

On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 09:07 am, Al Ludwick / NN4ZZ wrote:

If i create a “pending subscription” message, my understanding it that it
is sent out separately and a reply may come later or not at all. And the
owner/moderators would need to wait to get the reply and keep track of it.
And coordinate and decide when to make a decision on the application.
When you get the reply, make a decision. If you never get a reply, you may ignore the pending member.

If so, my preference would be to present the question when the user first asks
to join and include the reply in the approval email.
You need to create a Pending Subsription member notice anyway because potential members can request subscription via email.


 

On Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 06:58 am, Shal Farley wrote:
Yup. The +subscribe email command may have been spoofed. If the person is logged in to the web site that's not a concern.
You assume the person is already a groups.io member and CAN log in. But if the person is not yet a groups.io member and they request membership via the web, they may not have entered their own or a valid email address. Why is the Pending Subscription notice not held until after they confirm in that case, also? Or is it, and it's just that Mark did not include this case in his write-up?
 
I think Mark could safely remove the confirmation requirement for any +subscribe commands where the sender can be authenticated.
This sounds a lot better.

One thing that Yahoo Groups does is log the +subscribe receipt itself,
That would help as well. It is vexing that moderators are not even informed, in any way, shape, or form, that the person has applied for membership. Sometimes we will hear, from outside the system, from someone telling us, or posting on some FB group, that they've "just applied and are waiting for acceptance." And then several days go by, and we hear and see nothing. Or we will see that they've posted that in some other FB group. Yet we have no knowledge or record of the request and don't know how to help them, or we think that something has gone awry. I am constantly having to repeat and repeat to people, "Check you inbox and your spam folder" and then repeat that "sometimes, emails from groups.io goes into spam folders." I don't like to blast that all over FB groups, or PM people about it whom I don't know (assuming that I have any way to reach them at all). At least if there were a log entry with the email address, we'd have knowledge that they applied and who they are, and that they applied via email and need to confirm.

Not that those are particularly well worded. Many mods of restricted groups have been shocked to see "membership confirmed" in the log for people they haven't approved - but that's not what happened. The later entry ought to have said "Membership request confirmed via email".
I agree that a lot of this is poorly worded. If I can get a precise sequence of events (including the "ignored" notifications to mods), I could make some overall suggestions. But obviously, I still lack some details of what's actually going on and why.

That's because this is confirming that they sent the +subscribe command. It is unrelated to confirming their email address as part of getting their account set up.
In that case, that particular email needs to be re-worded as well. It currently refers to the person's interest "in groups.io and xyz group," as if they're not already a member of groups.io (and I will not send Mark the example because I now see that this is working as intended, although I think the "as intended" part could use some tweaking, as we are discussing).


--
J

 

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


Chris Jones
 

On Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 08:38 am, J_Catlady wrote:
I agree that a lot of this is poorly worded. If I can get a precise sequence of events (including the "ignored" notifications to mods), I could make some overall suggestions. But obviously, I still lack some details of what's actually going on and why.
I'll second that. "We" have just set up a Pending Subscription message on a Group but I can envisage all sorts of confusion arising if we don't know anything if the applicant has applied by email and nothing turns up until such time as they reply to the P/S message.

I am beginning to wonder if instead of the sending of the P/S message being "automated but confusing" it became a manual operation initiated by a tab against the person's application notification. I know it means that moderators would (sometimes) have something extra to do but it might be preferable to the current rather opaque system. We would at least see every application when it was submitted.

Regards,

Chris