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moderated To improve the Address Confirmation email #suggestion


john@...
 

The text in the Address Confirmation email implies that the act of replying to the email is all that is needed to complete a subscription request.  This works for Public groups, but not so much for Restricted groups.  I think it is important to set clear expectations for the applicant, to avoid potential upsets because they didn't understand what they needed to do.  I'd like to see the address confirmation email sent to those applying for an account / membership made more explicitly informational.  Below I have two sample proposals, one if the address confirmation email needs to be the same for everyone; a second if it is possible to customize the email a little more.
Thanks - John
 -----------------------------------------------------------------
If everyone needs to get exactly the same email:
Strengthen the subject line:
Subject: Reply required to confirm your groups.io subscription

Hello,

Thank you for your interest in Groups.io and the group groupname@groups.io. To complete your subscription, please reply to this email.  This confirms the request came from you, and not someone simply trying to use your email address.

If you did not request - or do not want - a subscription to this group, please accept our apologies and ignore this message.

If groupname@groups.io is a public group, this will complete your group subscription process. 

If groupname@groups.io is a restricted group, requiring as moderator to approve of your subscription request, you may be sent an additional email from the group moderators immediately following our receipt of your reply to this email.  If so, please follow the direction provided in that email. 

Cheers,
The Groups.io Team

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ideally, the address confirmation email could be a bit more customized:
Subject: Reply required to confirm your groups.io subscription

Hello,

Thank you for your interest in Groups.io and the group groupname@groups.io. To complete your subscription, please reply to this email.  This confirms the request came from you, and not someone simply trying to use your email address.

If you did not request - or do not want - a subscription to this group, please accept our apologies and ignore this message.

Test: if public group:
As groupname@groups.io is a public group, this will complete your group subscription process. 

Test: if Restricted group with an active "Pending Subscription"  "Member Notice" 
groupname@groups.io is a restricted group, requiring a moderator to approve your subscription request. You will be sent an additional email from the group moderators immediately following our receipt of your reply to this email.  Please follow the direction provided in that email.  A group moderator will respond to your request.

Test: if Restricted group with NO active "Pending Subscription"  "Member Notice" 
groupname@groups.io is a restricted group, requiring a moderator to approve your subscription request.  A group moderator will respond to your request.

Cheers,
The Groups.io Team


Tom Vail
 

I agree with John, with a couple of additions.

 

As he said, the wording of the default message is misleading/wrong and should be corrected.  Replying to the message does not activate the account if it is a restricted group.  This is misleading the user, and likely at a time when they are new to Groups.io, leaving them asking why their membership did not get activated.  To me this is not something that is a “let’s consider for the next release,” but an error which should be fixed.

If they do “reply” to the initial email they get a response that says “If any of the groups you subscribed to require approval before joining, you will be notified when that happens.”   That assumes they understand the difference between “confirmed” and “approved.”  Which I would submit is not very likely for someone new to Groups.io.

 

Additionally, if they click on the “Confirm account” link, it can be even more confusing because they are taken to the confirmed page, but they still need to be approved if it is a restricted group, and there is nothing on that page about the approval process.  Then if you click on the group you just joined, it takes you to their “home” page, but still says nothing about the approval process.  Only when you click on one of the side tabs do you get the “Your subscription has not yet been approved.” message.  There should be a separate page for public and restricted groups.

I agree also that different messages should be sent out depending on the type of group.  And having a very short and sweet response if there is an 
active "Pending Subscription" in place gives the group the ability to guide their users through the process they have in place.  Maybe a better option is to send out an email to just confirm the email address, and then once that is received, send out the group’s Pending Subscription message. This would present a more logical flow for the user and give more control of the communication with their users.

For what it is worth,

Tom


 

Tom,

Replying to the message does not activate the account if it is a
restricted group. This is misleading the user, ...
Actually it does activate the account. An account is not the same as a membership.

What it doesn't do is approve their membership in (aka subscription to) your group. I think what you're looking for is to have that distinction more clearly made.

Maybe a better option is to send out an email to _just _confirm the
email address, and then once that is received, send out the group’s
Pending Subscription message. This would present a more logical flow
for the user and give more control of the communication with their
users.
Please explain how your proposal differs from how it works now. The Pending message is deferred until after the person replies to that initial message, or clicks through the link to Confirm their account.

Shal


 

On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 08:34 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
The Pending message is deferred until after the person replies to that initial message, or clicks through the link to Confirm their account.
That's true only if the person applies via email. If they apply via the web, both are sent out at once - and (as may be recalled in a prior thread about this) I personally would prefer that to happen in both cases, for symmetry.
 
--
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


Tom Vail
 

Shal,

You used 3 terms here, which to the uninformed, could well be used interchangeably...account, membership, subscription.  You know this system well, and obviously, are doing a good job in trying to help.  But put yourself into the position of a Yahoo Form member who just got moved to Groups, and likely doesn't even really understand why (even though they have been told Yahoo is imploding) nor understand anything about Groups.  You can not expect them to understand the difference in terms without some explanation.  So you are right, I think the distinction between them need to be explained more clearly for the user, especially during the initial process for the new user.

It sounds like from your note that the system was intended to send the Pending message after the person replies to that initial message. That would help in the process greatly, but as J pointed out, that is not the way it works for a web application. Resolving that will go a long way in resolving this whole problem. But as John mentioned above, it would be nice if the message they received was customized to the group they were becoming a member of, and even nicer if we could add to or modify that message since it will be the first message they receive from Groups.

Peace,
Tom


 

On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 07:07 am, Tom Vail wrote:
3 terms here, which to the uninformed, could well be used interchangeably...account, membership, subscription.  
I 100% agree that this is very confusing and is crying out for clarification somewhere. Actually, the "Definitions" section of the Help pages (which I helped write, or in some cases, edited after seeing a draft by others) has a definition for "Account," but not the other two terms. So adding those might be a start.
 
as J pointed out, that is not the way it works for a web application.
This has been discussed at some length in another thread, where I personally argued that the two notices should be sent simultaneously for both web and email join requests. Apparently they are sent simultaneously for web requests but sequentially for emailed requests in case the emailed request was spoofed. I think Shal was agreeing there that this is not a high risk (although I may be misremembering and I don't remember the details - it was a recent thread and would be easy to find), and as I recall he was agreeing that the pending notice could be sent simultaneously in that case, as well. From my point of view, they should either be sent simultaneously in both cases or sequentially in both cases. It's the lack of symmetry, including and especially in what the group moderator sees about a join request, that bothers me.

it would be nice if the message they received was customized to the group they were becoming a member of
This is referring to the confirmation email, right? The confirmation email does include the group name, which I think is enough customization. It is customized TO the group, but don't think the email should be customized BY the group. I think it should be uniform. Here's what it looks like (barring formatting):

Hello,
Thank you for your interest in Groups.io and the group [GROUP NAME]. To complete your subscription, please reply to this email.If you did not request - or do not want - a subscription to this group, please accept our apologies and ignore this message               Cheers,The Groups.io Team
--
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


Tom Vail
 

I 100% agree that the terms should be defined in the help pages, but I also think there should also be a short explanation in the initial email.  Maybe something like this (suggestions in bold and/or strikethrough):


-------------------------
Hello,

Thank you for your interest in the [Group email address replace group email address with group title] group at Groups.io. If you did not request or do not want to join [Group email address title], please ignore this message.

The next step is for you to confirm your email address to activate your account with Groups.io.  This will not activate your membership with the [group title] group if they require your membership to be approved by a real person.  You will receive an additional email from them with more details once your email address has been confirmed.  

There are two ways to interact with Groups.io groups:

     If you only want to send and receive email messages from [Group email address title], reply to this email to confirm your email address and activate your membership.

  • Messages will be sent to you at [their email address] 
  • Send messages to [group email address]

     If you want to use the resources and read messages on the [group title] website, please click on the link below to confirm your email address, set up a password, and choose other subscription settings:

      [Comfirm account link]

If you have any questions, please contact the [group title] group moderator at [group moderator email address].


Cheers,
The Groups.io Team
---------------------------

I would suggest that the email above be the first one sent and the group's Pending Message be sent AFTER the email has been confirmed.  If you send both at the same time, one is likely to be ignored plus the pending message allows the group to communicate what they want to their members.

What J noted as the "confirmation email" is really the initial email sent.  I just tested it, and the email I got back after confirming the email address looks like this:

---------------------------
Hello,
 
Thank you for confirming your account. You will now receive messages from the groups you are subscribed to. If any of the groups you subscribed to require approval before joining, you will be notified when that happens.
 
Cheers,
The Groups.io Team
---------------------------

While this is okay, I would again suggest there be a different message go out for restricted groups, so they know what to expect.  And as J suggested, the group title be added to the message as well.   Also, the message says "You will now receive messages from the groups you are subscribed to" while is true, they will only be receiving this message while confirming their email address from their first group.  So maybe a better way to say it would be:  

      You will now receive messages from the [groups title], as well as any other groups to which you subscribe. 

Peace,
Tom


 

On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 10:56 am, Tom Vail wrote:
You will receive an additional email from them with more details once your email address has been confirmed.  
The suggestion to include more info in the confirmation email is good, but the additions are goofy. First, the above is not true if the person is applying via the web, because in that case, the pending notice is sent at the same time, not "once your email address has been confirmed."

Second, whether or not they interact with the group via the web or via email has nothing (zero) to do with whether they apply to join via the web or via email. Your add about that makes it sound like there is a connection when there's not.

I could go on. I think the simpler, current message is superior to a bunch of additional text that is erroneous and/or confuses more.
 
--
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


Tom Vail
 

J,

I think you need to reread my suggestion.  It says:

"I would suggest that the email above be the first one sent and the group's Pending Message be sent AFTER the email has been confirmed.  If you send both at the same time, one is likely to be ignored plus the pending message allows the group to communicate what they want to their members." (emphasis added)

I was not talking about the way it works now, but the way I suggest it should work.

As to the "goofy" comment, I'll let that slide.  But, there is a fine line between not enough and too much information/text in developing user interfaces.  My point is that IMHO there is not enough at this point.

Peace,
Tom


 

On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 11:57 am, Tom Vail wrote:
I would suggest that the email above be the first one sent and the group's Pending Message be sent AFTER the email has been confirmed.
But this IS the way it works now for join requests via email. I think Shal has already pointed that out. (And I personally don't like it and have already complained about it in a former thread, requesting that the behavior be the same in both cases - web requests and email requests.)

If you send both at the same time, one is likely to be ignored 
That IS the way it works now for join requests via email. I don't know whether "likely to be ignored" is right or not. You may be right. I personally don't care which way it's done, as long as it works the same way for both web and email join requests.

My point is that IMHO there is not enough at this point.
We can agree on that.
 
--
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,

That's true only if the person applies via email. If they apply via
the web, both are sent out at once -
I completely forgot about that detail, thanks for the reminder!

and (as may be recalled in a prior thread about this) I personally
would prefer that to happen in both cases, for symmetry.
Right. I agree with symmetry, but would do it the other way (defer until after confirmation in both cases).

Shal


 

On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 12:19 pm, Shal Farley wrote:
I agree with symmetry, but would do it the other way (defer until after confirmation in both cases).
I'm fine with that as well.

But I still see a problem with either method, namely: once the person already has a groups.io account, it is confusing for the confirmation email to refer to their interest in groups.io in general, rather than only to the specific group. In fact, as was also discussed in the prior thread, the confirmation email in days past was sent out ONLY if the person as yet had no account. Now it is sent anyway, in order to refer to the specific group. But I think the reference to groups.io as a whole, and the creation of an account, should be left out if the person already has a groups.io account.

In other words, the confirmation message, when starting to be used for specific groups, added the reference to the group. But the reference to groups.io as a whole was (wrongly, I feel) left intact rather than having two versions - one to confirm interest in a groups.io account if it doesn't already exist, and another to confirm ONLY interest in the particular group if the person already has an account.
 
--
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


 

Tom,

You used 3 terms here, which to the uninformed, could well be used
interchangeably...account, membership, subscription.
True. But I don't see that as a problem with the initial message text itself.

It sounds like from your note that the system was intended to send the
Pending message after the person replies to that initial message.
That's what I thought at the time, but I'd forgotten. So I stand corrected on that point, with respect to the web "Apply For Membership In This Group".

But as John mentioned above, it would be nice if the message they
received was customized to the group they were becoming a member of,
I'll agree that more context is better for the user; and particularly that customization for the difference in what happens next for an open group versus a restricted group would be helpful.

and even nicer if we could add to or modify that message since it will
be the first message they receive from Groups.
I would not expect that to be permitted. Any time first contact is made with an email address Groups.io has to be concerned that the message not be perceived as Spam - or worse actually contain spammy content.

So in this context even including the group Title text may run the risk of including content that may trigger spam filters.

Shal


 

Tom,

The next step is for you to confirm your email address to activate your account with Groups.io.  This will not activate your membership with the [group title] group if they require your membership to be approved by a real person.  You will receive an additional email from them with more details once your email address has been confirmed.   

I know what you're trying to get at, but I don't think that is any clearer than what's there. Setting aside for the moment my concern over including the group's title text, how about:

Hello,

Thank you for your interest in the [Group email address replace group email address with group title] group at Groups.io. If you did not request or do not want to join [Group email address title], please ignore this message.

There are two ways to interact with Groups.io groups:

     If you only want to send and receive email messages from [Group email address title], reply to this email to confirm your email address and [submit your membership application if the group is restricted, else activate your membership].

[Once your application is approved by the group's moderators: if the group is restricted]

  • Messages will be sent to you at [their email address] 
  • Send messages to [group email address]

     If you want to use the resources and read messages on the [group title] website, please click on the link below to confirm your email address, set up a password, and choose other subscription settings:

      [Confirm account link]

If you have any questions, please contact the [group title] group moderator at [group moderator email address].


Cheers,
The Groups.io Team
The if the group is restricted statements are not intended to be included in the notice, rather they indicate optional text that would be governed by the Restricted Membership checkbox of the group.

That last, about contacting the group moderators, might need to be omitted or at least conditional upon whether any moderators of that group have opted to receive messages from non-members. It would be cruel to give that advice if none have.

Shal


 

J,

But I still see a problem with either method, namely: once the person already has a groups.io account, it is confusing for the confirmation email to refer to their interest in groups.io in general, rather than only to the specific group.
In recently joining groups by email, using an address that already has an account, I received a much shorter confirmation notice (in plain text):

Hello,

Thank you for your interest in Groups.io and the group main@shalstest.groups.io. To complete your subscription, please reply to this email.

If you did not request - or do not want - a subscription to this group, please accept our apologies and ignore this message.


Cheers,
The Groups.io Team

I don't recall specifically whether the group was restricted or not at that time, but to your point while the reference to Groups.io may be superfluous I don't think it is confusing. Particularly not for someone that already has an account and so has some experience with the distinction between Groups.io (the service) and shalstest (the group). 

I suppose it could be rephrased as: "Thank you for your interest in main@shalstest.groups.io, a group hosted by Groups.io."

Shal


 

Shal, my test account received the same message. I think it should be shortened as you suggest, to avoid confusion,
--
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


Tom Vail
 

Shal,

I like where this is going.  Your suggested text looks good.  (Although of course mine is better 😀)  If the spam thing is a concern because there is no email address, how about using both the title and the address in just the first sentence?  ie: 

    Thank you for your interest in the widget group (main@widget.groups.io) at Groups.io.  ...

I would think that would help pass the spam filters.

As to the moderator's email address, I had not considered them not accepting email from the group.  (What kind of moderator does not communicate with their group?)  So yes that could be a problem.  I was just thinking of trying to give folks someone other than you for first level help with problems.  Maybe it could be conditional as well?

Peace,
Tom


john@...
 

This suggestion was a result of the following conversation:

https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum/topic/member_subscription_request/18124193?p=,,,20,0,0,0::recentpostdate%2Fsticky,,,20,2,40,18124193

I had asked why the "Pending Subscription" "Member Notice" could not serve the function of confirming ownership of the submitted email address.  Shal's reply was:

       That's because in the spoofed case you would be email-bombing an unexpecting person with your Pending notice. Worse, you might be a nefarious group owner doing that deliberately as a spam delivery mechanism.

I learned a lot in reading the replies above.  This is part summary and part suggestion. 

1.  To avoid the possibility of a "Pending Subscription" email being used as a spam delivery vehicle, it seems like a generic email/account confirmation message must go to the email address and be replied to before the "Pending Subscription" message is sent out for ALL subscribe-by-email, as well as for web-based subscription requests NOT originating from an existing, logged in groups.io account.

2.  The clarity of the generic confirmation email subject line would improve by using the words "email / account", which would also begin to link the two in the mind of the new user. There could be wording in the email letting them know that a either a click on a "confirm" link or an actual email reply are equivalent, and is necessary before their subscription request for GroupName can be processed.
Subject: Reply required to confirm your groups.io email address / account

3.  The real gist of the suggestion was (hopefully) to have this confirmation email show an awareness of whether the group was Public, Restricted with a Pending Subscription email (letting them know to expect the email and to do what it asks) , or Restricted with NO Pending Subscription email (letting them know to expect a response from a moderator). 

4.  Depending on the case in (3) above, language linking the words "subscription" and the Group Name would further help distinguish the meaning of account vs subscription.

John


 

Tom,

If the spam thing is a concern because there is no email address, how about using both the title and the address in just the first sentence? 

My concern about the title has to do with the arbitrary content which a group owner/mod might include in the title. Even if not intended as spam, words or phrases used in the title could be problematic.

    Thank you for your interest in the widget group (main@widget.groups.io) at Groups.io.  ...

Otherwise I like your phrasing. It will be up to Groups.io to decide if the possible risk outweighs the potential benefit of a clearer message.

As to the moderator's email address, I had not considered them not accepting email from the group.  (What kind of moderator does not communicate with their group?) 

It isn't so much "from the group" in that this message would presumably be from someone who isn't yet a member. And each owner/moderator has a control for that in their subscription page:



So yes that could be a problem.  I was just thinking of trying to give folks someone other than you for first level help with problems.  Maybe it could be conditional as well?

Well, not me, as I don't work for Groups.io. I like the idea of giving the person a contact address for the group; apart from that one caveat.

And of course, there's nothing Groups.io can do about an owner/moderator who either deliberately filter's +owner messages in their email interface, or neglects to make sure they don't get lost in Spam or elsewhere, but I'd say that's "on them".

Shal


 

John,

1. ... a generic email/account confirmation message must ... be
replied to ... for ALL subscribe-by-email, ...
This is kind of an aside, but I also think there's a case to be made that confirmation can be skipped for an email +subscribe command if email authentication techniques can be used to have a relatively high certainty that the command was not forged ("spoofed"). I think that's likely to be the majority of all subscriptions by email.

That would apply to all of the email commands; they currently require a confirmation.

3. The real gist of the suggestion was (hopefully) to have this
confirmation email show an awareness of whether the group was Public,
Restricted with a Pending Subscription email (letting them know to
expect the email and to do what it asks) , or Restricted with NO
Pending Subscription email (letting them know to expect a response
from a moderator).
I thought it was to customize the message to distinguish between groups with Restricted Membership versus those with open membership. That's the context of my suggestion.

I didn't consider the case of a group with Restricted Membership that does not set an active Pending Subscription notice. Fortunately, my suggested wording doesn't promise such a notice.

Shal