locked Preventing Reply to Group/Sender mixups AND quoted messages #bug


Jennifer Christian
 

Mark -

Wow, 108 messages have accumulated on this topic while I was away,  I do not have the time/patience to read all of them before I opine -  so please forgive me if this is super redundant.

In my view, it is customary/natural (and therefore imperative) for me (the writer) to choose/specify FIRST to whom I am writing,  then to write the message, and then send it off.  And of course, I must have an option to change my mind about who will receive my message -- after I actually compose it. The default option could either indicated by the FIRST choice offered to me -- or even (if I neglect to pick an option) be pre-set by the moderator. 

I like the words "private reply to sender" or "reply only to sender" instead of "off-list" -- because the latter is a term of art.  The reason why we need to make these changes is that our group members are (a) naive, and/or (b) humans prone to carelessness.    I also prefer the two color idea, although because I am using neither mobile nor the "test version", I can't see them.  Anything that helps users stop and think before they do something stupid is good.  

And here's a second item.  Mark -- I tried to insert a quote from your message in this posting -- after having composed most of my text.  This time, having been previously burned, I remembered to copy my text before trying it.   And .... after I clicked "Insert Quoted Message", your original message appeared plus the single word "undefined"  on the line below it -- and all of my typed text had disappeared.  So I pasted in my copied text.   Unfortunately, that quoted text bug is NOT 100% fixed yet. 

Happy 240th Birthday USA!!!
(I think I will bake a birthday cake for tomorrow's dinner, although a blueberry pie is also in the running.)
Jennifer


 

On Sun, Jul 3, 2016 at 09:11 pm, Jennifer Christian wrote:
In my view, it is customary/natural (and therefore imperative) for me (the writer) to choose/specify FIRST to whom I am writing,  then to write the message,

This. ^^^ From the person who originally proposed the change...

In my view this is not "just a UI" issue. It goes deeper. PM'ing is an action distinct from "reply" and should be treated as such. 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

What is usual/customary varies by context.

It has never, in my very wide experience, been possible to choose who one is writing to in the way one chooses who one is composing an e-mail message to in the context of a web forum.  Regardless of the fact that Groups.io is a hybrid platform, people can an do have expectations that the web forum side will behave as a conventional web forum does and the e-mail side will behave as a conventional e-mailing list does.  Attempts to hybridize these two are not well advised because there is such a long history of "what's conventional" in each.

PM-ing is, absolutely, distinct from reply and it always means that one has chosen who one is sending a private message to via the mechanism to do so itself.  Most often this is using a click-through link to a person's profile, where a PM link/button exists, or sometimes things are set up such that the userid shown on posts will serve as its own PM trigger (this is a relatively rare exception).

A reply button on a web forum means, and only means, reply to the forum itself.  It has never meant "reply to the sender" and I can't find another forum that supports this.  Messages to sender are always done via Private Message, though exactly how that private message is conveyed to the recipient can vary between in-site messaging systems, e-mail, or e-mail notifying the recipient that a private message exists on an in-site messaging system.

These conventions have been in place for decades now.   They are not new.  Anyone who's been using either a web forum or an e-mail list knows them with regard to the environment in question.  Anyone who is a newbie really needs to learn them as a part of their education process.

There is zero need to reinvent anything here.

--
Brian

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


 

Brian,

Agreed. Discussions of what is "customary" on my part have had to do with attempts to aligning the current hybrid mechanism with what are customarily, psychologically, and actually two separate, distinct mechanisms and functions: "reply" to a forum post and "PM" and individual. I have mostly resigned myself to the fact that Groups.io will not make them totally separate and they will continue to coexist as (supposedly) one function. So I am trying to explain that psychologically, we as humans think of them as two separate things, and the decision of which one (meaning: reply to individual, or reply to group - using the current language) is ALWAYS made first. We don't compose a general message and then thinks, "Hmmmm, should I send this to a certain person or to everyone?" No. If we're planning to send a private reply, we say to ourselves, "I'm going to message X privately, and tell him certain things that want only him to hear." That is a separate action, a completely separate mindset. 

But I fear these are never going to be separated to the extent I personally (and I think, you also?) think they should be (I'm not talking about physically separated - the UI comes later - I'm talking about the architecture), so I'm trying to come up with something that satisfies people's desires for pretending that they're the same.

The other issue that always comes up in this discussion is the fact that in Groups.io, as in Y!G before it, a group might have "reply to sender" as its default. That needs to be taken into account. But it should be a triviality to do that while still honoring the fact that the two actions  (reply to group vs PM) are really distinct.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

J,

            I get what you're saying.  This is interesting because, in a completely unconnected context I was just talking about outliers, and your description of what Y!G and the current incarnation of Groups.io are both doing are just that:  outliers.

            They both buck what is a clear general convention, and just because this whole conversation has ensued it shows me just how problematic that decision really is.

            If ever there were a clearer demonstration that there should not be a mechanism that allows "compose first, choose recipient later" in a web forum context these two threads are it.

            It violates the principles that have been well and accurately discussed in regard to having made a choice regarding the "who" before composing the "what" and introduces a level of ease to screw-up that is frequently seen to be happening.

            What's even worse, and I've been very clear about my opinion on this, is that the proposed solutions are anything but.  Trying to buck well established cultural practices that go well beyond any one site and the current place and time is a mistake.  It generates confusion and frustration when "unwritten rules" that one can generally "use in one's sleep" are jettisoned for interfaces that are wholly unnatural to a given context.  Reinventing the wheel for the sake of reinvention, well . . .

            I don't know how or why anyone who's been "around cyberspace" and these sorts of venues for any period of time could convince themselves otherwise.

--
Brian

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


 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 09:07 am, Brian Vogel wrote:
They both buck what is a clear general convention,

Yes, and the general convention is not *just* a convention for convention's sake.  It has become a convention because of a good reason: the psychological and functional reality that "reply" and "PM" are two separate actions.

I think the reason Groups.io and Y!G both "buck" that is because (a) they're hybrids (mailing list and forum), (b) Y!G has always been poorly designed (understatement), and (c) people are now used to Y!G and Groups.io is (to some extent) modelled on it.

To be groundbreaking, Mark could ignore (c) and do what makes more sense to human beings and the way they think. Make them separate.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


Maria
 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 08:27 am, Brian Vogel wrote:
A reply button on a web forum means, and only means, reply to the forum itself.  It has never meant "reply to the sender" and I can't find another forum that supports this.

Brian

by web forum, you don't mean  Y! Groups, Google groups, big tent, or even craigslist, I assume.

I hear what you are saying about traditional web forums that lack a mailing list function. But I think it's useful to remember that potentially a large chunk of those who come to groups.io will come here from the above mentioned platforms. Reply to sender has always been an option there and on Craigslist is even exactly what reply means.

Maria


 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 09:20 am, HR Tech wrote:
by web forum, you don't mean  Y! Groups, Google groups, big tent, or even craigslist, I assume.

Y!G is not a good role model (I think we can all agree on that), I personally stay away from Google groups, I've never used Big Tent so I don't know (I do know groups that have moved away from it and into Groups.io), and craigslist is not a counterexample. All it does is send a (non-replyable) notification that a post has been added to the forum.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


Duane
 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 09:07 am, Brian Vogel wrote:


Trying to buck well established cultural practices that go well beyond any one
site and the current place and time is a mistake.
So how did those practices become "standard? I think it's because someone decided to use an unconventional way of doing things and it caught on.

Duane


 

They became standard because they fit the closest with the actual functionality, which evolved to fit the way humans think and communicate. Private message vs forum reply. Different animals. My opinion.

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 4, 2016, at 9:26 AM, Duane <txpigeon@gmail.com> wrote:

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 09:07 am, Brian Vogel wrote:


Trying to buck well established cultural practices that go well beyond any one
site and the current place and time is a mistake.
So how did those practices become "standard? I think it's because someone decided to use an unconventional way of doing things and it caught on.

Duane


--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 09:26 am, Duane wrote:
So how did those practices become "standard?

 Completely irrelevant to the fact that they are "standard."   I'm not attempting to give a history lesson, but to point out that there are certain deeply ingrained conventions that really do not require reinvention, at all, because:

1.  They are incredibly widely known.

2.  They are used by most without conscious thought at this point.

3.  They do the required job beautifully.

As to Maria's assertions about Google Groups, here's a screen shot taken mere seconds ago.  It says all that needs to be said:

The options given when you hit the "Post Reply" button are Post and Discard.  The act of choosing to reply strictly limits what the nature of that interaction is.  I used Google Groups for a number of years, have been away for quite a while, and what pops up when I dropped in today is pretty consistent with what was there when last I haunted those environs.

I did not claim that absolutely, positively no one else uses what Groups.io is using now, but they are, indeed outliers.

Craigslist is not a web forum in any conventional sense of the word.  Google Groups proves my point, and we already know what Yahoo Groups does.

I'm also, like on the last thread, now out on this one.  For those who want to reinvent a wheel that definitely does not need it, knock yourselves out making your case.  Mine is based on convention, ingrained, well-known and widely employed practice, and complete utility for purpose in the environment under discussion.  There's nothing else I can say nor any stronger case I could make.


--
Brian

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


 

And I'm agreeing but simply adding that there's good reason for the convention.:-)

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 4, 2016, at 10:31 AM, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 09:26 am, Duane wrote:
So how did those practices become "standard?

 Completely irrelevant to the fact that they are "standard."   I'm not attempting to give a history lesson, but to point out that there are certain deeply ingrained conventions that really do not require reinvention, at all, because:

1.  They are incredibly widely known.

2.  They are used by most without conscious thought at this point.

3.  They do the required job beautifully.

As to Maria's assertions about Google Groups, here's a screen shot taken mere seconds ago.  It says all that needs to be said:

<googlegroups.jpg>

The options given when you hit the "Post Reply" button are Post and Discard.  The act of choosing to reply strictly limits what the nature of that interaction is.  I used Google Groups for a number of years, have been away for quite a while, and what pops up when I dropped in today is pretty consistent with what was there when last I haunted those environs.

I did not claim that absolutely, positively no one else uses what Groups.io is using now, but they are, indeed outliers.

Craigslist is not a web forum in any conventional sense of the word.  Google Groups proves my point, and we already know what Yahoo Groups does.

I'm also, like on the last thread, now out on this one.  For those who want to reinvent a wheel that definitely does not need it, knock yourselves out making your case.  Mine is based on convention, ingrained, well-known and widely employed practice, and complete utility for purpose in the environment under discussion.  There's nothing else I can say nor any stronger case I could make.


--
Brian

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


--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


Maria
 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 10:31 am, Brian Vogel wrote:
As to Maria's assertions about Google Groups

Apologies. It's been a while since I used a Google group. Not sure if it's changed since then or my recollection was off. Realize craigslist is different but it came to mind as an example of where reply means reply to sender. 

My main point is that many of us are coming here from email based groups that featured reply to group and sender options, and perhaps, like me, not looking for a traditional web forum. 

Maria



Duane
 

The point of my thoughts is that "that's the way it's always been done" doesn't mean it can't be better. Since Groups.io is a whole new idea, I think it's worth trying new things, possibly some for the better.

Duane


 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 11:32 am, HR Tech wrote:
craigslist is different but it came to mind as an example of where reply means reply to sender. 

It does not mean that there. 


 many of us are coming here from email based groups that featured reply to group and sender options

What might those be besides Y!G? Google groups is eliminated from your list, craigslist eliminated from your list. So do you mean Y!G and Big Tent? I'm not familiar with Big Tent.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 11:32 am, Duane wrote:
Since Groups.io is a whole new idea, I think it's worth trying new things, possibly some for the better.

Exactly! Mark has the beautiful flexibility to make something that really works and avoid doing it some way just because Y!G does it that way.

The conventions that exist in almost all other forums are there for a reason. Brian said the reason doesn't matter. I think it does matter. It counters arguments like: "Just because everyone else looks both ways before crossing the street doesn't we mean we have to. It's just a stupid convention."  The conventions are there because they *make the most sense*.

Also: If there's going to be a separate PM function not within the context of forum posts, it could be invoked when someone wants to reply privately to a forum post. It would be the same action and would just be called into play (with different parameters/details). 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 11:32 am, Duane wrote:
Since Groups.io is a whole new idea, I think it's worth trying new things, possibly some for the better.

And if I believed that these ideas were "the better" rather than just excuses to overcomplicate things, I'd be right there praising them.  It is my considered, and strong, opinion that they are not.

Some things really do reach a point of maximum utility and attempts to change them make them worse.

Groups.io, contrary to a number off assertions, is very, very far from "a new idea."  A wedding of two very conventional ideas, and there are others that do this, too, is not revolutionary.  And that's no insult, either, just an observation of fact.
--
Brian

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


 

I think something else to keep in mind is that at this point, it's true that many people are coming to Groups.io from Y!G and have expectations that Groups.io will behave in the same half-assed way as Y!G. But as time goes on, the new members are going to be less and less people coming from Y!G, and the ways of Y!G are going to seem more and more of an anachronism and an "outlier," to use Brian's term. They will be, more and more, unexpected by and an annoyance to people used to forums.

--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 11:41 am, J_catlady wrote:
Brian said the reason doesn't matter. I think it does matter.

 J, we're talking about different reasons, that's why.

I was responding to the assertion, "I think it's because someone decided to use an unconventional way of doing things and it caught on."

I don't think those ways were "unconventional" at all, but very logical extensions of existing conventions that go back to paper and pencil days.  They follow, as it seems everyone agrees, the straight line that is, Pick Recipient [address envelope/inside address on letter] -> Compose message [write note letter, etc.] -> Send knowing precisely what is being sent, and to whom, based on the nature of the process itself.

The way I read you as saying, "I think it does matter," is because it's a logical sequence of events with a completely predictable outcome (with, perhaps, the exception of the recipient's possible reaction to something).   I agree with that absolutely, but I think that it's a result of a natural extension of longstanding human practice, not anything that's the slightest bit unconventional except as forced by new technology.  The underlying steps are, at their essence, the same as they were long before computers were ever involved.

[And before anyone gets picky, yes I do know that people often composed letters before addressing the envelope, but the first line after the date, e.g., "Dear X," already determines that X is the intended recipient.  That's known prior to putting pen to paper.]

--
Brian

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


 

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 12:33 pm, Brian Vogel wrote:
I think that it's a result of a natural extension of longstanding human practice,

That's what I'm saying, too. And to that I would add: the "longstanding human practice" is a result of human nature. Human nature ---> human practice ---> good software reflects both of those.
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. 

It's dumb to buy smart water.