Topics

locked Preventing Reply to Group/Sender mixups

 

Hi All,

I'm bringing this to a new thread. It was suggested that when replying to a message on the website that, to reduce the chance of a reply to group/sender mixup, that you should have to select what type of reply you want before you actually can type in the reply. That is, the Reply link under a message would somehow have to be changed force you to pick Reply to Sender or Reply to Group before the reply box came up.

Do you think this would help with Group/Sender mixups? Do you have other ideas on how to reduce these mixups?

Thanks,
Mark

Maria
 

Hi Mark

I really LOVE the way it is now. I think the green and blue buttons, with"reply to group" or "reply to sender" written on them are simple and self explanatory.

They also mirror what's on the groups.io digest/individual emails as well as Y! digests/individual emails. So the process of replying and selecting who to reply to feels exactly as it does on the digest and individual emails. I love that consistency.

I actually think that the way it is in Groups.io is much clearer than in Y! where the "To" header on the interface is set by default to either group or sender based on the group preferences and in order to bypass the default you have to expand headers and use the drop down menu to select a different recipient. We get people replying accidentally to sender or group with that method ALL the time and I know I've received a lot of feedback that doing it that way (like Y! has it set up) is confusing/tricky.

So, when I saw the way groups.io has it set up I was so relieved that it would be crystal clear.

I love the way you have it now: it feels like the individual emails, it feels like the digests, it feels simple and clear. I've gotten the same feedback from others in our test group I've shown this too and there was relief that finally it would feel simple.

I'm sure whatever you come up with will be simpler and better than Y! but I did want to share that the way it is now feels good to me.

Maria


 

My group had almost no mixups before we transferred over from Y!G. Since transferring, the mixups are constantly occurring (a bit less now than at the very beginning after the transfer, but they are still significant). So I don't think everything is as crystal clear to the group members as it may seem to us.

I'm not suggesting reverting to what Y!G does. I'm just saying, as I said when I agreed with Jennifer, who broached this idea, that it seems more intuitive to click "reply to (whoever)" before composing your message, rather than after. I'm sure there's a way to do that without being as clumsy as yahoo is about it.

The blue and green buttons may help, but my gut feeling is that they will help only marginally. It still seems a weird selection order.

-- 

J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

p.s. In email, you don't first compose your message and then fill in the addressee(s). Addressing someone first and then writing the content is the normal, accepted, conventional order of communicating online.

On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 5:44 PM, J_catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:

My group had almost no mixups before we transferred over from Y!G. Since transferring, the mixups are constantly occurring (a bit less now than at the very beginning after the transfer, but they are still significant). So I don't think everything is as crystal clear to the group members as it may seem to us.

I'm not suggesting reverting to what Y!G does. I'm just saying, as I said when I agreed with Jennifer, who broached this idea, that it seems more intuitive to click "reply to (whoever)" before composing your message, rather than after. I'm sure there's a way to do that without being as clumsy as yahoo is about it.

The blue and green buttons may help, but my gut feeling is that they will help only marginally. It still seems a weird selection order.

-- 

J

It's dumb to buy smart water.



--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

...and offline too, for that matter. We have in our heads who we're writing to. We don't compose s message and decide afterwards who we're talking to. Everyone who's ever written an offlust message knows this very well. Or a letter. So normal, usual order (choose the addresses first) fits what we do in our heads. Choosing afterwards is unintuitive, surprising, and at minimum, takes some getting used to.

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 1, 2016, at 5:48 PM, J_catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:

p.s. In email, you don't first compose your message and then fill in the addressee(s). Addressing someone first and then writing the content is the normal, accepted, conventional order of communicating online.

On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 5:44 PM, J_catlady <j.olivia.catlady@...> wrote:

My group had almost no mixups before we transferred over from Y!G. Since transferring, the mixups are constantly occurring (a bit less now than at the very beginning after the transfer, but they are still significant). So I don't think everything is as crystal clear to the group members as it may seem to us.

I'm not suggesting reverting to what Y!G does. I'm just saying, as I said when I agreed with Jennifer, who broached this idea, that it seems more intuitive to click "reply to (whoever)" before composing your message, rather than after. I'm sure there's a way to do that without being as clumsy as yahoo is about it.

The blue and green buttons may help, but my gut feeling is that they will help only marginally. It still seems a weird selection order.

-- 

J

It's dumb to buy smart water.



--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.


--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

Maria
 

I'd be curious to see how much of an issue this is when the new green/blue buttons roll out.

While It's not the way one goes about composing an email, when I am on the web interface, I am thinking more "forum" than "email". In forums you generally compose and then click send. Groups.io has the added benefit of being able to reply privately, and doesn't make you jump hoops to send a PM via a profile link, like many other forums do... So, I wasn't even looking at it from an email behavior POV. When I am on the web interface, I feel I am in a forum not my email client.

I just love that the reply options are the same as the ones in digest and html emails and with the group one being green and with the reply arrow icon, my eye goes there first. I am so comfortable with it and it feels so easy on mobile too that it's hard to see it wit the eyes of someone who has never seen it before.

I will say that I have looked  at the buttons and wondered if maybe they should say "send to group" and "send to sender" as that would be more accurate perhaps,  but "send to sender" sounds weird.

Maria

 

I'm saying I'm "thinking email" or anything having to do with email specifically. I was using that as an example of how we customarilu communicate in any medium: you first think of whom you are writing to, and then you write the content. When I compost a message that I mean to send to someone offlist, I know that immediately, before I even start writing, and it feels odd to first click "reply" and only later to click "reply to sender" (or "send to sender" - I don't think it makes much difference). It makes me slightly nervous, when I click "reply," that it will somehow go to the whole group even if I know I have the option later. It is psychological. 

Am I right that your group, Maria, has not transferred over yet? So you haven't experienced the uptick in mixups that my group has. It might be premature to conclude that they won't happen. 

I think that's all I can say about this. I don't have any more arguments that I can make.

--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

 

Weirdly, this message came in five minutes ago by private email from a group member: "Subject: messages. God I hope I'm not getting these messages screwed up and responding in the wrong place. It's getting confusing."

And *now* I'm out of here. 


--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.

AQ <aq2sw3@...>
 

I think it needs to be up to the group whether is a choice for the sender
or the choice of the group owner where replies are sent. In some groups,
it is important for messages to go only to the sender, while in others private
messages would be unwelcome. In other groups, it can be up to the sender
to decide with no group preference indicated or required.

Maria
 

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 05:48 am, AQ wrote:
I think it needs to be up to the group whether is a choice for the sender
or the choice of the group owner where replies are sent. In some groups,
it is important for messages to go only to the sender, while in others private
messages would be unwelcome. In other groups, it can be up to the sender
to decide with no group preference indicated or required.

This is already available in group settings. Mark recently also added an option to have groups set to send replies ONLY to group or ONLY to sender, rather than offer both options.

Or are you suggesting that members should be able to by pass group settings and opt out of private replies? I've seen one interface where that's an option.

However, the feedback request here is related to a suggestion that was made to change the web interface so that it would require the author to make the decision of who the reply is going to ( in groups that have the option of reply to group and sender) before being able to compose the reply and then click a send button when the reply is written.

Currently, we have 2 reply buttons  ("reply to group" reply to sender") and the selection of who to send your post to can be made essentially during the "send" step after you've written your reply on the web interface.

The suggestion to require a choice a priori was suggested as a way to try to prevent mix-ups in who you may accidentally send your message to - when you have both choices available.

This thread is to get feedback about that and other ideas to prevent mix-ups in reply behavior where both reply to group and reply to sender are available.

Maria



David P. Dillard
 

There are a couple of observations that I would like to share regarding this issue that pull in opposite directions.

I am a mail receiving member of many professional and interest discussion groups in which I am just a member. There is no doubt that the mistake of sending to the whole group instead of one member does occur. It is, however, on the lists I am on an infrequent occurance. It may happen a few times a year, so I do not see this as a critical issue. One method of prevention is to check where the message is going and spot this error before it leaves your device.

On the other hand, sending to the group instead of one colleague can be embarrassing and even illegal. Consider a list colleague with whom you have had previous correspondence privately. He posts in general some question about cancer support services. In your response that you think is only to him but is to the group, you say something like "in the case of end stage renal cancer which you have, these are the best support groups to contact." You may have violated the HIPAA law (U.S.), especially if you are a practicing medical professional. Therefore in the "abundance of caution" world, this may be an important addition to the email protocols of a discussion group service. Another precaution is to forward messages and use precisely the address or addresses on wants to use. One would have to insert a wrong address for it to go to a whole group when using this method, somewhat less likely than picking the wrong option.

On the LegalMed and LNC Exchange (Legal Nurse Consulting) discussion groups these issues are deemed very important. Indeed LegalMed has no archive at all of its messages. Both frown heavily on discussing specific cases on the list as one does not know if that discussion will get to attorneys on the other side of a case. Hence another aspect of this issue is about who is using the list and what purposes it is serving for this to be an important or unimportant issue. You for some reason may only want Jane to know that you got a great new book about sewing, but the world as we know it today is not going to come to an end if the whole list finds out about your sewing book acquisition.



Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584
jwne@...

On Sat, 2 Jul 2016, AQ via Groups.io wrote:

I think it needs to be up to the group whether is a choice for the sender
or the choice of the group owner where replies are sent. In some groups,
it is important for messages to go only to the sender, while in others private
messages would be unwelcome. In other groups, it can be up to the sender
to decide with no group preference indicated or required.




Maria
 

I hear David's concerns about messages that go beyond just embarrassing and that could violate privacy. We have these concerns in our group too. This is one reason we moderate every single message. It's also how I know how many accidental replies to group we get (in our Y! group), they are obvious in our pending queue and our mods have a boiler plate message that's sent to the author asking them to verify if indeed the message was intended for the group or private as it would seem. This is how I know the way Y! has it isn't effective at preventing mix-ups all together. That boiler plate gets used often, as in 4-5 times each week. So lots to learn about the "wrong" way to do it from Y!'s overly complicated method which forces you to expand headers to have a choice to bypass the group default reply.

Our group is lucky to have mods though. How can we help groups that don't have them? Maybe in a group that can't have mods, and where there are potential serious legal issues if a reply goes to group, there could be an optional extra level of security that the admin can require users to agree to each time they select "reply to group"? I think mistakes will be made either way this interface decides to go, and if it's a real legal issue, and there aren't any mods, maybe those groups require more help from the system to help relieve them from any potential liability too.

We have a test group currently on groups.io, so while we haven't seen if the the way the reply buttons are here will reduce our instances of mix-ups in a large group, our test group hasn't yet expressed confusion or concern about the way they are set up now - but I've now asked them again to give this much more thought. It's a diverse group of users - seasoned users and ones with no experience of groups at all.

This morning I was showing this issue to someone who has never used groups before despite being old enough to have been around since they started. I showed them the way groups.io currently does it and the way Y! does it. Obviously the way Y! does it felt perplexing and complicated - no surprise. But what really floored me and it's worth sharing here as it would never have occurred to me, is that this person thought that the "reply to sender" was a reply online ( not a private offline email) but indented in the way that facebook allows you to reply to a comment so that only the author of the comment is notified of that reply and your reply comment has to be expanded in order to be viewed (or discourse also sort of has this where replies to a person are still online but collapsed in a thread). Wow! When I explained that, no, reply to sender was an offline email, I had to explain it 2x and it felt like a foreign concept to this person.

I wanted to share that because for those of us who are seasoned group users so much feels intuitive. Whereas this person was saying that it should say "Private message" or something else in order for him to "get" that it would generate on offline comment. I would never have thought of that. Maybe it's relevant - maybe it's not... but worth sharing.

Maria

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

Personally, I would roll out the new buttons and see if this helps.

This is an issue where there probably is no best answer because I see the same sort of issue in e-mail, for example, where many people don't get the difference between "Reply" and "Reply All."   I cannot count the number of times over the years where I have received messages that were clearly intended to be a straight reply to the e-mail message sender but that were sent out using "Reply All."  In a lot of those cases almost certainly from a dropdown button where the incorrect selection has been made or because the sender's habit is "reply all" as a rule and they accidentally didn't make a "reply" exception.

Forums are different because you never do address messages directly, yourself, like you do in e-mail and there is no way to tweak a reply to go to any specific person other than the original sender, via what in most other venues I haunt would be under a private messaging system but an individual e-mail message is used here, or to the group as a whole.  There is no mechanism, like in e-mail, where one could do a "Reply All"/"Reply to Group" and then edit out specific group members.  I hasten to add that I'm not proposing that this mechanism should ever be introduced.  In the context of an online forum the two options should either be to reply to everyone in public or to reply to the sender in private (if that feature is turned on).

I found the change in the test system to the tri-colored buttons at the bottom of the reply compose area to be a major improvement, and since it's been there I've not done a single accidental "reply to group" when I meant to "reply to sender."  That was not true when the options marched across in a monochrome line.
--
Brian

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.  ~ Bill Gray

Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 07:13 am, HR Tech wrote:
I wanted to share that because for those of us who are seasoned group users so much feels intuitive. Whereas this person was saying that it should say "Private message" or something else in order for him to "get" that it would generate on offline comment. I would never have thought of that. Maybe it's relevant - maybe it's not... but worth sharing.

 We were typing at the same time, and with no coordination between us, and the phrase "private message" showed up because, other than on Groups.io, there is not a single forum on which I participate that this is not the terminology used when an off-list reply, only to the sender, is being made.

It actually might be a good idea to change the wording on the "Reply to Sender" button to "Private Msg to Sender Only" or similar.  The fact that it goes via e-mail rather than a true PM system is irrelevant, at least to me.

Brian

David P. Dillard
 

Brian, this is the clearest wording I have seen

""Private Msg to Sender Only""



Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584
jwne@...




On Sat, 2 Jul 2016, Brian Vogel wrote:

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 07:13 am, HR Tech wrote:


I wanted to share that because for those of us who are seasoned group users so much feels intuitive. Whereas this person was saying that it should say "Private message" or something else in order for him to "get" that it would generate on offline comment. I would never have thought of that. Maybe it's relevant - maybe it's not... but worth sharing.



 We were typing at the same time, and with no coordination between us, and the phrase "private message" showed up because, other than on Groups.io, there is not a single forum on which I participate that this is not the terminology used when an off-list reply, only to the sender, is being made.



It actually might be a good idea to change the wording on the "Reply to Sender" button to "Private Msg to Sender Only" or similar.  The fact that it goes via e-mail rather than a true PM system is irrelevant, at least to me.



Brian


.


.

ro-esp
 

On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 05:22 pm, HR Tech wrote:


Hi Mark

I really LOVE the way it is now. I think the green and blue buttons,
with"reply to group" or "reply to sender" written on them are simple and self
explanatory.
"send to sender" and "send to group" are self-explanatory for those who understand english, but I don't see a green button.
Is that limited to the "mobile" version?

groetjes, Ronaldo

 
Edited

Brian,

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 07:15 am, Brian Vogel wrote:

since it's been there I've not done a single accidental "reply to group" when I meant to "reply to sender."

You're not the average Groups.io user. You've said yourself that you're not moderating a group here. If you were, you would be seeing this problem, and you'd see the people who do it chagrined and mortified that they sent a private message to the group, or that their message to the group "didn't go through" and then complaining to the moderator, etc.

(p.s. missing signature bug came back?)

EDIT: I think you were referring here to the blue and green buttons. I think the point still applies. I don't think rolling it out is the solution. Are you then going to do do some sort of statistics, and how long do you wait, before deciding it did (or did not) solve the problem and try the proposed solution instead?


 

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 07:13 am, HR Tech wrote:
an optional extra level of security that the admin can require users to agree to each time they select "reply to group"?

That would be a PITA. In our group (and perhaps most groups?), the default is "reply to group."  


Duane
 

The different color buttons are in the "test" version. You can change back and forth with "normal" using the page at https://groups.io/test You'll want to bookmark it if you use it because there's no link on the site.

Duane

 

David,

I agree with all of this. As for this:

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 06:21 am, David P. Dillard wrote:

It may happen a few times a year,

 In my group of only 150 members, it is happening several times a month (conservatively).