Topics

moderated New notifications proposal #misc

 

Hi All,

I've started working on notifications again. I had not been very happy with my last proposal, from before the Yahoo Groups apocalypse. I think I've come up with a better solution. Please let me know what you think of this:

  • Every notification gets a hashtag. This is already the case with #cal-invite and a few others, but, for example, the moderator notifications don't currently have associated hashtags.
  • Users have been able to mute hashtags since the beginning, which means no email. Now, also make it so that users can check a box to turn a hashtag into a web/app notification.

So, walking through a few examples:

  • Pending subscriber notification. It's currently an email sent to individual moderators, controlled by an option on your subscription. It gets a hashtag, say #pendingsub. Now, moderators can mute that and/or turn it into a web/app notification (and the option on your subscription goes away).
  • Calendar invites. They have the hashtag #cal-invite, and the emails are sent to the group. People can mute those, and now they can also turn them into a notification. The invites still get sent to the group and still appear in the archives and people can still reply to them.
  • Chat messages. These don't currently have any notifications. So, a new hashtag would (perhaps) be #chatmsgs. It would be an email sent to people who are subscribed to a chat and who are not currently logged into the chat when the message was sent. People could instead/in addition to turn it into a notification.

This has an advantage that people could now get notifications on any group hashtag as well.

I would modify the existing Hashtags group sidebar to add the ability to turn on/off notifications.

Some notes:

  • As I add additional group notifications (like some database/file/photo changes that people have been asking for), that means more notifications will appear in the group archives.
  • I haven't thought about whether we'd need some sort of aggregation option.
  • I haven't thought about how to decide what appears in the new Notifications feed.

Please let me know what you think.

Thanks, Mark

Dave Sergeant
 

Can we optionally turn these off? For many of us hashtags are just
superfluous fluff at the end of message subjects. I can filter things
with my email filters, I don't need hashtags as well.

Dave

On 18 May 2020 at 13:20, Mark Fletcher wrote:

- Every notification gets a hashtag.

http://davesergeant.com

 

On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 1:28 PM Dave Sergeant <dave@...> wrote:
Can we optionally turn these off? For many of us hashtags are just
superfluous fluff at the end of message subjects. I can filter things
with my email filters, I don't need hashtags as well.

There are currently no plans to add the ability to turn off hashtags.

Mark 

Robert Oshel
 

I agree with Dave.  Let us avoid hashtags if we don't want them.

  Bob


On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 4:28 PM Dave Sergeant <dave@...> wrote:
Can we optionally turn these off? For many of us hashtags are just
superfluous fluff at the end of message subjects. I can filter things
with my email filters, I don't need hashtags as well.

Dave

On 18 May 2020 at 13:20, Mark Fletcher wrote:

> - Every notification gets a hashtag.


http://davesergeant.com




Steph Mathews
 

No hashtags please?  Thanks!

 

Have a blessed day!  Steph

 

From: Mark Fletcher
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2020 3:20 PM
To: main@beta.groups.io
Subject: [beta] New notifications proposal #misc

 

Hi All,

I've started working on notifications again. I had not been very happy with my last proposal, from before the Yahoo Groups apocalypse. I think I've come up with a better solution. Please let me know what you think of this:

  • Every notification gets a hashtag. This is already the case with #cal-invite and a few others, but, for example, the moderator notifications don't currently have associated hashtags.
  • Users have been able to mute hashtags since the beginning, which means no email. Now, also make it so that users can check a box to turn a hashtag into a web/app notification.

So, walking through a few examples:

  • Pending subscriber notification. It's currently an email sent to individual moderators, controlled by an option on your subscription. It gets a hashtag, say #pendingsub. Now, moderators can mute that and/or turn it into a web/app notification (and the option on your subscription goes away).
  • Calendar invites. They have the hashtag #cal-invite, and the emails are sent to the group. People can mute those, and now they can also turn them into a notification. The invites still get sent to the group and still appear in the archives and people can still reply to them.
  • Chat messages. These don't currently have any notifications. So, a new hashtag would (perhaps) be #chatmsgs. It would be an email sent to people who are subscribed to a chat and who are not currently logged into the chat when the message was sent. People could instead/in addition to turn it into a notification.

This has an advantage that people could now get notifications on any group hashtag as well.

I would modify the existing Hashtags group sidebar to add the ability to turn on/off notifications.

Some notes:

  • As I add additional group notifications (like some database/file/photo changes that people have been asking for), that means more notifications will appear in the group archives.
  • I haven't thought about whether we'd need some sort of aggregation option.
  • I haven't thought about how to decide what appears in the new Notifications feed.

Please let me know what you think.

Thanks, Mark

 

Donald Hellen
 

Mark . . .

On Mon, 18 May 2020 13:20:06 -0700, "Mark Fletcher"
<markf@corp.groups.io> wrote:


- Every notification gets a hashtag. This is already the case with #cal-invite and a few others, but, for example, the moderator notifications don't currently have associated hashtags.
- Users have been able to mute hashtags since the beginning, which means no email. Now, also make it so that users can check a box to turn a hashtag into a web/app notification.
I don't know what the fascination is with hashtags, but let's not
force it upon everyone just because some people like them. If I
misunderstood your post and it's an optional opt-in sort of thing,
then I doubt my members (many older ones) would have any problems if
it doesn't happen in their groups.

Donald


----------------------------------------------------
Some ham radio groups you may be interested in:
https://groups.io/g/ICOM
https://groups.io/g/Ham-Antennas
https://groups.io/g/HamRadioHelp

Glenn Glazer
 

On 5/18/2020 13:42, Mark Fletcher wrote:
On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 1:28 PM Dave Sergeant <dave@...> wrote:
Can we optionally turn these off? For many of us hashtags are just
superfluous fluff at the end of message subjects. I can filter things
with my email filters, I don't need hashtags as well.

There are currently no plans to add the ability to turn off hashtags.

Mark 

Understood, but if there are plans, please count this as another vote for turning off hashtags.

Best,

Glenn

--
PG&E Delenda Est

Virus-free. www.avast.com

Bruce Bowman
 

Like many, I wasn't enamored with hashtags when I started out using groups.io. They seemed pretty superfluous.

But as I looked into them further, I came to realize that they are a very powerful feature that allows us to customize the behavior of our groups in a manner that cannot be achieved in any other way.

  • Are people receiving digests or daily summaries not getting their calendar reminders in a timely fashion? Set the Special flag on the the #cal-reminder hashtag and they go out immediately.
  • Don't want old group guidelines cluttering the message archive? Set the #guidelines topic duration to one month and after that, they disappear like magic.
  • Don't want chat notifications to go out as emails? Set the "no email" flag on the #chat hashtag.
  • Don't want regular subscribers sending administrative notices? Set up an #admin hashtag that's usable only by moderators.
  • Want to initiate a polarizing discussion and moderate the responses? Add a hashtag with the "moderate" flag set.
  • Want to force people to reply directly to you, overriding the group setting? Set up a hashtag with "reply only to sender" and groups.io will block attempts to do otherwise.
I do understand why folks wouldn't want their group to become a hashtag-fest...I don't either...but you don't have to let subscribers create them.

Oh well. I'm running out of steam, and not entirely sure where I was going with this. I guess I'll close with the suggestion that those who are looking for a listserv-type experience could just turn off the calendar, polls, and chats. 

Regards,
Bruce

 

I personally love the hashtag idea for this (but am not saying that you should not provide the ability for turning them off for people who don't want them).

However, I want to push here again to make notification options match permissions, even though it's somewhat of a separate issue.  For example, don't provide a #pendingsub notification option to a moderator who does not have permission to approve new members; don't provide a #pendingmessage notification option to a moderator who does not have permission to approve messages; etc. Currently, it looks like I can check those boxes in groups where I am a moderator but have limited permissions, and not those.

(Related to this, but not a notification in the strict sense, are owner messages. I can turn those on or off in any group in which I'm a moderator, but I think those should be considered permissions issued by the owner, or by a mod with permission to grant the permissions, with notification options to go along with them - in other words, as a "low-level" mod in any group I can elect to receive or not to receive owner messages, but I think that should be my choice only if I have the corresponding permission.)

In general, I want notification options to be limited to permissions.

I would also like to see a list of what will constitute a notification. Do you have any handle yet on what will be the complete list of options? Because there have been a lot of new ones requested over a span of years. In addition to files, photos, and database uploads or edits, I would like to have a notification option for the modification of a wiki page, for example.

--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu

 

And to add to that (as I've mentioned in the past): If and when possible, tailor each moderator's view of the activity log to match their permissions. (You could further restrict the view to their chosen notifications, but I would stick to limiting it to the permissions. That way they could still view actions in the log that they did not elect to receive notifications for.)


On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 3:26 PM J_Catlady via groups.io <j.olivia.catlady=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
I personally love the hashtag idea for this (but am not saying that you should not provide the ability for turning them off for people who don't want them).

However, I want to push here again to make notification options match permissions, even though it's somewhat of a separate issue.  For example, don't provide a #pendingsub notification option to a moderator who does not have permission to approve new members; don't provide a #pendingmessage notification option to a moderator who does not have permission to approve messages; etc. Currently, it looks like I can check those boxes in groups where I am a moderator but have limited permissions, and not those.

(Related to this, but not a notification in the strict sense, are owner messages. I can turn those on or off in any group in which I'm a moderator, but I think those should be considered permissions issued by the owner, or by a mod with permission to grant the permissions, with notification options to go along with them - in other words, as a "low-level" mod in any group I can elect to receive or not to receive owner messages, but I think that should be my choice only if I have the corresponding permission.)

In general, I want notification options to be limited to permissions.

I would also like to see a list of what will constitute a notification. Do you have any handle yet on what will be the complete list of options? Because there have been a lot of new ones requested over a span of years. In addition to files, photos, and database uploads or edits, I would like to have a notification option for the modification of a wiki page, for example.

--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu


--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu

Duane
 

On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 03:20 PM, Mark Fletcher wrote:
Please let me know what you think.
At a glance, it appears that most of this is geared toward notifications which could be enabled or disabled by each person for the web/app.  I think appending a hashtag would be cleaner than inserting some type of information, such as [PendingSub] in the subject line of the notification message (or inserting a line into the message as an explanation.)

Thanks,
Duane

 

Mark,

I'd like to maintain a clear semantic and operational distinction between messages, which post to the group's archive and are sent to members in accordance to the Email Delivery and Advanced Preferences panes of their Subscription settings, and notices which do not appear in the group's archive and are sent to members based on events and other factors (including, for moderators, the Notifications pane of their Subscription).

By those definitions the existing Calendar notifications (#cal-invite, #cal-reminder, and #cal-notice) are actually messages.

  • Calendar invites. They have the hashtag #cal-invite, and the emails are sent to the group. People can mute those, and now they can also turn them into a notification. The invites still get sent to the group and still appear in the archives and people can still reply to them.

So when you say "turn them into a notification" here you mean something different - you mean make them available through the notification viewing system (web/app). Presumably they would also receive them by email unless they muted the associated hashtag.

I think this hybrid situation for calendar events (being both messages and now possibly notifications) is probably appropriate. They may be the unique example of a notification that ought to be sent to the entire membership.

  • As I add additional group notifications (like some database/file/photo changes that people have been asking for),

Wiki!

  • that means more notifications will appear in the group archives.

Or maybe not - we can argue about whether Notify Members on Upload File and those new ones ought to be treated as hybrids like the calendar events. Maybe it is time to make them notifications available to members only as an email (unless muted) or in the web/app notification viewer. Or maybe that choice is given to the group admins by allowing a new No Archive hashtag option.

Users have been able to mute hashtags since the beginning, which means no email. Now, also make it so that users can check a box to turn a hashtag into a web/app notification.

I'm not at all sold on this.

I think it may be annoying/confusing to have the notification controls lost amid the sea of message hashtags. I'd rather have the list of them in one place, one easily read list, with the checkboxes to Show in Notification and Mute in Email as columns to that list (ok, maybe also Duration for Mute). I specifically would not want to have to find and click on a button for each one among the difficult to scan hashtag tiles and go to a confirmation page just to change it, as one currently does for changing the Mute status of a hashtag. Yuck.

So, if the Hashtags page had a separate tab on it for the notification-control hashtags, and the items on that tab were presented as a list rather than an array of tiles, I'd be much happier with this.

(Someone is bound to think of it, so I'll just say it: perhaps tiles or list should be a viewing option on both tabs of this page.)

It would also be fair to say that I don't like the idea of notification controls as hashtags at all, and I'd rather see the list of them as a new tab in the Subscription page - since they are individual and not group settings. Though I do see that attraction to try and leverage the power of all those hashtag settings for notifications.

This has an advantage that people could now get notifications on any group hashtag as well.


Oh. Now I really don't like this. Unless maybe there's still the separate tab for event-driven hashtags/notifications versus ordinary message hashtags. Or a list filter at least. And the ability to view the hastags in a compact list rather than tiles.

  • I haven't thought about whether we'd need some sort of aggregation option.

I think "yes". Perhaps a control much like Email Delivery for messages, but specifically pertaining to notifications. It could go in a panel at the top of the Notifications tab of the Hashtags (or Subscription) page.

There may also be a need, at a finer level, to consolidate notifications if a person is making multiple sequential actions of the same type (like file or photo uploads).

  • I haven't thought about how to decide what appears in the new Notifications feed.


I'm confused. Isn't this whole discussion about how a user chooses what to be notified about? Or do you mean something else by "feed"?

Shal
(I may have started rambling, it is getting much too late.)

 

I use and like hashtags on my group's messages. I don't need hashtags on group notifications, but I can live with them if necessary (I'll just ignore them).

What would be infinitely more useful for group notifications is a change to the subject lines for mods who receive notifications via e-mail. Here's an example of what I mean:

Somebody applies to join my group. I receive an e-mail:
Subscription Approval Needed - xyz@... applied to support@tanyackd.groups.io
That's absolutely fine. Works great for me. Amongst other things, I can sort applications alphabetically if i want to.

One of the other mods approves them, often while I'm asleep. I get:
New Subscriber To support@tanyackd.groups.io

I may get up in the morning to five or ten of these. I have to plough through my inbox matching the applications with the approvals. How much easier would it be to see:
xyz@... has joined support@tanyackd.groups.io

Similarly if somebody leaves I get:
Subscriber has left support@tanyackd.groups.io

How much easier to get:
xyz@... has left support@tanyackd.groups.io

Thank you for your consideration.

Helen

Marina
 

When we moved over from YG, we welcomed the possibility of turning our old compulsory but often misused message tags in compulsory hashtags and let the system take on some moderation duties. One of the positive sides of GIO hashtags is that we were able to set them in our language.
Everyone is perfectly fine with our present hashtags system.
I am afraid that having more hashtags, in English, appended to messages would only confuse my members and be of very little use. So, if possible, please make the notifications hashtags an option.

Regards,
Marina

Dave Sergeant
 

On 20 May 2020 at 2:22, Marina wrote:

So, if possible, please make the notifications hashtags an option.
And one of the disadvantages is getting hashtags created automatically.
We have all sorts of innocent messages that happen to have a # in the
subject line appearing in our hashtag list. I have just deleted a #the
hashtag!

Dave

http://davesergeant.com

 

This morning I arose to see my wish has already been granted! So much easier to look at my inbox now and see at a glance whether I need to log into groups.io immediately to approve pending members or if it can wait an hour or so.

Usual excellent service from groups,io! Many thanks, Mark, you're amazing.

Helen

 

Some time ago I asked fot notifications to the moderators when someone uploads a file, a photo, a database.
Will this be considrered in the notifications overhaul?
Victoria

 

Hi Shal,

On Tue, May 19, 2020 at 02:12 AM, Shal Farley wrote:

I'd like to maintain a clear semantic and operational distinction between /messages/, which post to the group's archive and are sent to members in accordance to the /Email Delivery/ and /Advanced Preferences /panes of their Subscription settings, and /notices/ which do not appear in the group's archive and are sent to members based on events and other factors (including, for moderators, the /Notifications/ pane of their Subscription).

By those definitions the existing Calendar notifications (#cal-invite, #cal-reminder, and #cal-notice) are actually /messages/.

As are the file upload notifications. We've already got this mix of messages and notifications. What that also means is that the message archive is also the activity feed for the group, the place where a member can go to see everything that has happened in the group (yes, ignoring for the moment notifications that do not yet exist, like wiki updates). For better or worse, this is also how Facebook Groups is structured. I think the concept of an activity feed is important for the group, and if we end up pulling all the notifications out of the message archive, then I think we would need to create a new activity feed view somewhere.

  • Calendar invites. They have the hashtag #cal-invite, and the emails are sent to the group. People can mute those, and now they can also turn them into a notification. The invites still get sent to the group and still appear in the archives and people can still reply to them.

So when you say "turn them into a notification" here you mean something different - you mean make them available through the notification viewing system (web/app). Presumably they would also receive them by email unless they muted the associated hashtag.

Yes, that's correct. Muting would just be another form of notification control.

I think it may be annoying/confusing to have the notification controls lost amid the sea of message hashtags. I'd rather have the list of them in one place, one easily read list, with the checkboxes to /Show in Notification/ and /Mute in Email/ as columns to that list (ok, maybe also Duration for Mute). I specifically would not want to have to find and click on a button for each one among the difficult to scan hashtag tiles and go to a confirmation page just to change it, as one currently does for changing the Mute status of a hashtag. Yuck.

I've added a new list view to the group hashtag page, and that preference is remembered automatically. I'm definitely open to suggestions for how to better structure that page should we go the hashtags-for-notifications route, including adding bulk operation controls.

I have tried to think of other ways to do notifications, and I have been unable to come up with anything better or more straightforward. Take #cal-invite messages, for example. If the notification and hashtag muting settings are separate (and in separate areas of the site), you'd end up with some duplicate functionality. If I want nothing to do with #cal-invite messages, I'd have to mute the hashtag, and then I'd also have to go and make sure I'm not receiving any notifications about them.

Also, adding hashtags to existing moderator notifications makes it a little easier to identify which notification is which when changing the notification setting.

I'm definitely open to considering other ideas, but I haven't been able to come up with anything else that feels as straightforward as this.

Please let me know what you think.

Thanks, Mark

 

Hi Mark,

Sorry for the late and lengthy reply.

We've already got this mix of messages and notifications. What that
also means is that the message archive is also the activity feed for
the group, the place where a member can go to see everything that has
happened in the group ...
I may not be the best person to speak to this point, as I primarily keep up with my groups via email. Someone who primarily uses the web pages might have an opinion about whether it is best to see these all in one list, or in separate lists. I always agitate for message filters, so maybe for this too...

I do suspect that having additional notifications mixed into groups' messages section will strongly amplify the call for an ability for a member to see the group's messages with muting/following choices applied. I don't happen to like how that's handled in the home ("Your Groups") pages, I'd prefer it be a remembered filter checkbox in the Messages and Topics pages, but again I might not be the best to speak to this affordance.

For better or worse, this is also how Facebook Groups is structured.
"Non sequitur. Your facts are uncoordinated."
-- Nomad

I think the concept of an activity feed is important for the group,
and if we end up pulling all the notifications out of the message
archive, then I think we would need to create a new activity feed view
somewhere.
I thought that was exactly what was intended. Together with a new home page for Notifications across all of a member's groups, parallel with the Topics pages (but without the need for the All, Muted, and Followed sub-pages). Also, a nit: calling it an "activity feed" instead of Notifications throws a red flag for me, in that overloads with the existing group Activity page under Admin.

As a unified list, it starts to break the names "Messages" and "Topics" for those pages - while the notifications are generally a consequence of some user activity, I've never thought of them as part of the group's ongoing discussion. I've always felt that the calendar and file upload notices be mixed into the group's user messages was kind of a kludge, done that way because we had no other way (tiptoeing around the "because Yahoo did it that way" precedent).

But you make a compelling case that the example we have of calendar reminders and notices (and file uploads) isn't terrible. At least not for calendar events. In fact I have found it useful to have the calendar messages prompt conversations in my groups.

In those cases the posting in the group is not obligatory: the person creating the calendar event decides whether reminders and notices are to be sent, as does the person uploading the file. Maybe that does make sense for new types too. Some files, some photos, some wiki pages, deserve to prompt group discussion, some don't.

I do know, that as a moderator, I want email notification of such things (calendar event creation, file & photo upload, wiki page creation / edit -- the whole gamut of member activity) regardless of whether the person taking the action chooses to announce it to the group.

As an experienced (and content-greedy) member, I'd also want the notifications for file uploads (and the new notifications) regardless of the opinion of the person who took the action. But I don't know how to do that while preserving the "Notify Members" function (specifically the default of not checking that box). Maybe that's an Advanced Preferences subscription option, to see all activity notifications and not just those that were marked "Notify Members".

I've added a new list view to the group hashtag page, and that
preference is remembered automatically.
I like it very much, thank you.

I'm definitely open to suggestions for how to better structure that
page should we go the hashtags-for-notifications route,
Maybe filter checkboxes to select whether Topic hashtags or Notification hashtags are to be selected for display. The default case (neither checked) would display them all. I'd like to move away from the Members list method (drop-list button to select the list filtering).

The hashtags for notifications route doesn't seem too terrible, given some tools mentioned above for controlling them. I haven't thought about how the various hashtag options a group owner can apply might be useful or problematic when applied to notification hashtags. There's a lot of power there, and maybe a few razor-blade edges to put guards on.

Shal
(glad I got back around to this while it is still daylight)

 

Mark,

In #25296 you wrote:
There is more work to be done with the notifications overhaul, including adding a whole bunch more notifications and figuring out where those notifications should live. I will continue that discussion in the New notifications proposal topic that Shal most recently responded to last night.

And in #25323 you wrote:
I think the biggest thing left to figure out about notifications is where they should appear.

I was originally envisioning a separate list of compact notification items, click one to be taken to the relevant action. Similar to that seen on other sites:
   
And yes, I recognize the irony of citing "f" after declaring them a non sequitur. In my defense that Notification UI seems to be in common on many sites. In terms of ease of learning and use there's something to be said for adopting a UI pattern that is likely to be already familiar to users. So long as it accomplishes what you need / want.

That was before you proposed the idea of merging notifications with messages and the hashtag mechanism. Putting what's essentially a replica of the email notification into the group's Messages list is a completely different point of view. It has some advantages, such as being an obvious springboard for discussion. Again the already existing example of events from the calendar: birthday and anniversary events are very popular conversation starters in my "social" groups.

The hashtag-based UI controls may be compatible the "bell" notification display. While notifications by email are perforce email messages with a Subject text and a body text, the items in the Notification list on the web could be pared down to the bare essential text needed to convey the information, and the entire area of the list item be a link to a relevant place (which would depend on what the notice is about).  It may not be needed or even desirable to have the text of the hashtag be part of the notification item.

With the "bell" display pattern I think one in the top-bar that shows a sum over all memberships, plus one in the left nav pane (just above or below Messages) for those specific to a given group, would be good.

With the "merged into messages" display pattern I think I would still want an easy to find a control ("filter") to select for display both messages (member content) and notifications, or only one or the other.

This will take at least one night's sleep to consider.

Shal