Topics

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


Nancy Funk
 

I hadn't seen this topic before, but as an owner of a group of people who meet in person with our children, I would love to have the ability to have a member questionnaire. As it is now when someone applies to our group we send them to a google forms application that needs to be completed before we allow them to join our group. So I've got to monitor not only the member request here on GIO, but also the google form and then transfer some of their info to a database here. It would be awesome to be able to have the full application process all in one place. The idea Mark stated earlier of having an application that allows owners the ability to decide what information to share to the entire group and what info to keep for mods eyes only is terrific. We were able to do this on BigTent, unfortunately, they are shutting down. While we love the simplicity of GIO, we do miss the ability to more fully screen our applicants without the use of another outside website. 


Marina
 

On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 10:26 PM, Nick Schweitzer wrote:

It would be helpful in our
group to have more information about a potential member besides their email
address, and a questionnaire (or even a text box) would go a long way to help
us in moderating new users!
I know that this feature is on Trello and I know that Mark has loads of different requests, but I am really looking forward to see it implemented. My moderators and I spend quite a bit of time soliciting prospective members to introduce themselves (as required by the Pending Member message).

Thanks,
Marina


 

I just wanted to add my own +1 to this request. It would be helpful in our group to have more information about a potential member besides their email address, and a questionnaire (or even a text box) would go a long way to help us in moderating new users!

Thanks,

Nick


Patty Sliney
 

Mark, I'd like to revive this old thread if I might, to see if having a Comments section (and the ability for the list owner to set it as a required feature for their list) in the Membership Request screen is on the list of things to add to Groups.IO?  That comments section in Y!G is used pretty frequently for list owners, as a screening tool.  I am hoping it's on the list of things you're planning on adding?  Thanks so much for considering this.

Patty S.


Chris Jones
 

On Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 10:35 am, J_Catlady wrote:
No. Email applications remain "hidden" until the member confirms. After confirmation, they appear as pending members as immediately as web applicants do 
That's not so bad from "our" perspective then.

Thanks.

Chris


 

On Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 10:07 am, Chris Jones wrote:
are you referring to applicants who do not already have a Groups.io Account? As I (mis?)read things "confirmation" only applies to those who do not have an account at the time of application
No. This is independent of whether or not they're already a groups.io member. As Shal just explained, "confirmation" for current groups.io members means "confirmation that they want to join the particular group." It needs (badly) to be reworded in all forms of communication.

If I have read things correctly web applications appear immediately while those by emails remain hidden pending the response.
No. Email applications remain "hidden" until the member confirms. After confirmation, they appear as pending members as immediately as web applicants do 
--
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 09:50 am, J_Catlady wrote:
How would that happen just by making the send manual? You still would not see applications originating from email until after they're confirmed.
Ah... are you referring to applicants who do not already have a Groups.io Account? As I (mis?)read things "confirmation" only applies to those who do not have an account at the time of application, and I assume that it is a protection against spoof requests. For myself I have no wish to see unconfirmed applications, but fully accept that others might think differently. 

However, "confirmed applications" by email that are invisible until the applicant has answered the Pending Subscription message are a different matter entirely. If I have read things correctly web applications appear immediately while those by emails remain hidden pending the response. If sending the P/S message was "manual" then automated P/S sending would be "off", meaning that email applications would be immediately visible.

I think..

Regards,

Chris


 

On Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 09:40 am, Chris Jones wrote:
We would at least see every application when it was submitted.
How would that happen just by making the send manual? You still would not see applications originating from email until after they're confirmed. That would have to be a change made by Mark. And once they're confirmed, I don't see any advantage to having to send the Pending Sub notice by hand. We can assume the system dutifully attempts to send it. Whether or not it reaches the person would be independent of whether groups.io sent it or we asked groups.io to send it via the tab.
 
--
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


 

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


 

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.


 

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:
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


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


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,


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
 

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 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


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".


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