Topics

moderated Remember last message read #suggestion


Eric di Domenico
 

I would like a visual indicator of which messages are new since the last time I visited the group website.


Duane
 

This has been requested many times before.  It was added to the TODO list almost 5 years ago, https://trello.com/c/m1HaX8DC/18-keep-track-of-read-unread-messages-on-the-website.  At present, the only way to keep track is to let your browser tell you if you've read a message or not by changing the link color.

Duane


 

On Tue, Sep 3, 2019 at 4:30 PM Eric di Domenico <eric@...> wrote:
I would like a visual indicator of which messages are new since the last time I visited the group website.

This is a very apropos question given the point of development of the app. I need to flesh this out this week, and I could definitely use y'all's feedback. So, here we go.

- A visual indicator would require us to remember and track what messages you've read. 
- A desired feature of the app would be to be notified when there are new messages, which also requires us knowing which messages you've read.
- Also, some email providers (cough... charter.net... cough... cox.net... cough... comcast.net) like to delay or block messages from us at random times. For unknown reasons.
- Also, HTML digests are often not handled consistently or nicely.

I see two ways of addressing some/all of the above. The easy way and the comprehensive way.

Easy Way:

We track a high water message number per subscription. That's the most recent message you've seen in each group. Going to the message archives instantly sets this high water number to the most recent message. This lets us send out notifications when new messages come in and display topics in bold when there are new messages. You would see these bolded topics/messages when viewing the archives on a group-by-group basis (ie https://groups.io/g/beta/topics). It does not let you mark some messages as unread. It does not let you read some topics and keep others as unread. It does nothing about inconsistent displaying of digests. It's easy to implement and fairly straightforward for users to understand (I think).

Comprehensive Way:

We basically re-invent the inbox. Give everyone a groups.io email inbox, but only for group email. One way of doing that would be to add a second set of message delivery options, to control what's delivered to your groups.io inbox. As an example, you could set your existing email delivery setting to no mail, and your new groups.io inbox delivery setting to 'single' or 'digest'. Then only read your messages in your new groups.io inbox on the web or in the app. There would be a new part of the website, which would be your inbox. We could display digests really nicely. This is the most flexible, but also the most complicated solution (both technically and to understand by users, I think).

Thoughts? Is there another path I haven't thought of?

Thanks,
Mark


 

This is a very apropos question given the point of
development of the app. I need to flesh this out this
week, and I could definitely use y'all's feedback.
Mark -
Would either message be affected by reading messages from two or three different machines? I primarily use a desktop box, but occasionally use a laptop or an Android. Just thought I'd ask.

Dano


 

On Tue, Sep 3, 2019 at 7:33 PM D R Stinson <dano@...> wrote:

Would either message be affected by reading messages from two or three different machines? I primarily use a desktop box, but occasionally use a laptop or an Android. Just thought I'd ask.

No, we'd remember regardless of how/when you accessed things. This is better than trying to rely on the browser to change the color of links of messages you've visited, as that doesn't apply across machines.

Thanks,
Mark 


 

Mark,


Thoughts?

Among the questions I see with the Comprehensive Way is how to count when a message is read, particularly in the case of Expanded view. But even for Topics, do you count all the replies as read when one opens the topic? Maybe it would be possible within those views to track whether each message body was ever displayed, but that seems real finicky, at least on the web interface.


We basically re-invent the inbox. Give everyone a groups.io email inbox, but only for group email

Hmm. I was going to suggest that it replace https://groups.io/topics but it can't without providing another way to find and unmute muted topics. Maybe that's solved by adding Muted to the Tools/Filter drop-down in the group's Messages/Topics lists. Or maybe one simply has both /topics and /inbox (but that's probably confusing too).


One way of doing that would be to add a second set of message delivery options, to control what's delivered to your groups.io inbox.

That's probably not so bad if you simply create a new section, almost duplicating the Email Delivery section. Call it Web Delivery perhaps. In it you could (I think) leave out the Plain Digest choice. I was thinking that the Advanced Preferences (except for Max Attachment Size) would apply to both Email and Web Inbox, but maybe that would be too limiting for some.

You realize of course that once you do this people will want to be able to log in using their Groups.io Inbox rather than an external email address. A use for the long-fallowed User Name perhaps, promoting it to the Account section of the Login tab? But that's a whole other topic I suppose.

Shal


Noel Leaver
 

> Thoughts? Is there another path I haven't thought of?

Since the comprehensive solution involves providing much of an email system, is there a way of front-ending it with a dedicated and private email system you host?

Noel



 

Mark,


Comprehensive Way:

We basically re-invent the inbox.

Two further thoughts from sleeping on it. Nightmares perhaps. Folder management and the meaning of Delete.

The original Gmail view of the Inbox was an an ever-growing stash of messages w/o folders or delete. They believe(d) that search is a better way to find things than keeping a tidy inbox and folder tree. Eventually they relented to user expectations and label/folder duality ensued. So I'm fairly convinced that giving users a personal inbox will bring on the expectation of having folders to stash things in. I'm not sure if that expectation can or even should be resisted.

The other part of keeping a tidy Inbox is Delete (Gmail eventually relented on this too). This one I think is far more likely to cause trouble. Not that it is a lot of work to implement, but that it has a far different impact in one's Inbox than it does in a group's Messages archive. It was rare, but there were occasional instances (in Yahoo Groups) where a newly appointed moderator would "catch up" on the group's messages, deleting them as they read them. Oops. It was a conceptual matter of mistaking the group's Messages for a personal Inbox. Having personal Inboxes within the Groups.io interface breaks the very strong distinction between personal content and group content in a way that might lead to mistakes of that sort. Everywhere the help or user manual (or GMF) talks about deleting a message there would have to be clarification about where you are deleting it from. Whereas now there's an inherent clarity to the concept that everything on site is group content.

That last is enough for me to think it may be better to take the Easy Way out.

Shal


Bruce Bowman
 

Mark -- Is the app going to be only a customized mail client that only bypasses the problems of SMTP email delivery and read-tracking? Is it going to REPLACE normal email delivery? I don't see how we can track anything if people are allowed to switch back and forth.

Is it going to provide all of the other web functionality, too?

At this time I am totally unclear on what the app is supposed to do...and not do. By presenting three different (and largely incompatible) user interfaces I am concerned we could end up with a spaghetti-bowl of use cases that will be very difficult to untangle.

Regards,
Bruce


 

Bruce,

Mark -- Is the app going to be only a customized mail client that only bypasses the problems of SMTP email delivery and read-tracking? Is it going to REPLACE normal email delivery?

I think it is more like a replacement for the mobile web experience; one that can push notifications to your device's notification system.

I don't see how we can track anything if people are allowed to switch back and forth.

Same as today: what happens to messages delivered to your email service is completely unknown to Groups.io.

By presenting three different (and largely incompatible) user interfaces I am concerned we could end up with a spaghetti-bowl of use cases that will be very difficult to untangle.

Yup.

[in GMF, or from support] "When you say that you posted that message on your mobile device, did you mean through your email app, your browser app, or the Groups.io app?" Hopefully though the latter two won't be "largely incompatible" apart from features (like notifications) which the web browser experience doesn't support.
Shal


Chris Jones
 

On Wed, Sep 4, 2019 at 12:30 AM, Eric di Domenico wrote:
I would like a visual indicator of which messages are new since the last time I visited the group website.
This thread seems to have moved away from the original query into "email presentation", so can I ask in what way does the existing Your Groups / Manage My Subscriptions page, or the Feed page not meet your requirements?

Chris


Jeremy H
 

My thought - perhaps a variant on the 'groups.io mailbox' concept - would be to build on the 'All Topics' view (https://groups.io/topics) but for messages ('Your messages'):
  • Comprised of messages (starting position would for all a subscriber's groups, and based on what's in the groups.io database)
  • But only for those groups they want included - based on flag set in group delivery options ('Include this group in Your Messages View?') - dynamically?
  • Sensitive to a read (i.e. displayed)/unread flag as to what displayed (all or unread only?). Also with perhaps a 'discard' option ('read and I don't want to see again')?
  • And sensitive to mute options (based on topic/hashtag) 
My two pennyworth..

Jeremy.