Topics

locked Preventing Reply to Group/Sender mixups


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 09:28 am, David P. Dillard wrote:
However, he may want to include a text based version of the same reply method as well as the color coding as the use of color for system commands is not ADA compliant as visually impaired, color blind and blind users cannot interpret the colors, making their use in such a context a violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabiliies Act).

 I just want to hasten to add that Mark has definitely been sensitive to accessibility issues (not that I'm implying that you're saying he's not been).

I have simply presumed that what is generated is generated in such a way that screen readers will announce things correctly and, under the web interface and using the latest version of NVDA the "Reply to Group", "Reply to Sender," and "Discard" buttons are all announced correctly.

I think I may have just found a bug with the web interface but I don't know if it's an NVDA bug or a Groups.io web coding bug, or something else.  What follows will only be meaningful to someone who is familiar with screen readers and, specifically, NVDA terminology regarding modes a user can be in with regard to a webpage.  Right now I'm in browse mode, but everything is behaving just like I'm in focus mode as far as letting me type in this box.  However, if I try to use the 'b' command to jump to the buttons while in browse mode it obviously does not work because I'm still being allowed to type in this compose box when in browse mode so the letter 'b', when typed, is not taken as a command.  I've tried toggling between browse and focus modes to see if that would make me able to use the usual single letter navigation to get to the three previously mentioned buttons, but no dice.



 

Whenever I send a response to someone offlist, I make sure that they know it by starting off every such message with, "This is private (offlist) response."

As a side benefit to a UI that has "choose recipient first, compose second," a private message could automatically start with that header or something like it. Because another problem I've seen is that when people receive an offlist response, they VERY OFTEN don't realize that it's offlist. That includes myself. Gmail still groups the response into the message thread, even if offlist, and I sometimes FREAK OUT when I see what someone has "posted," until I realize they haven't really posted it but actually sent it to me privately. Sometimes, I'll even go the group to try to respond via the web and it takes me some time before I realize their message is not there

So I see a potential huge advantage in the proposed change.
--
J

It's dumb to buy smart water.


David P. Dillard
 

Thanks so much for the positive feedback to this post.

I think a great deal in terms of this mistake being made depends on what each individual does in handling email. Keep in mind that many of the people posting to discussion groups reply from their email message and not from the web discussion group online. The owners on the discussion group network can control what is seen by someone replying to a message on the website of in this case Groups.IO. I do not believe the same owners control the message that comes up when a poster uses the reply mechanism within an email from a group within the inbox of their email account.

I am using Alpine, the newer version of Pine out of the University of Washington that Temple University makes available to users of the corporate Gmail account provided to students, faculty and staff at Temple.
This is what I see here is this message in my Alpine box.

Use "Reply-To:" address instead of "From:" address?

Since Alpine email is text based, no images, icons or the like, I will not see any colored dots.

I must chose here between the two options and then the software formulates my message and I can change the recipients and modify the message until I send it. No colors here. If I use TU Mail (Gmail) instead, I can click on the word REPLY and that is my only reply option. I will need to change my recipients manually if I do not want those that Gmail selects. In other words, I suspect that any changes that Mark makes may only completely effect replies made from the web page on Groups.IO for the discussion group in question. That said, if Mark can get Gmail to return your Groups.IO messages to your account as incoming mail that lands in your sent mail box, I would not be surprised by anything he can do to make systems work better for Groups.IO users. In thinking this over, Mark could embed these options in the email message that comes into my box from a Groups.IO list. However, he may want to include a text based version of the same reply method as well as the color coding as the use of color for system commands is not ADA compliant as visually impaired, color blind and blind users cannot interpret the colors, making their use in such a context a violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabiliies Act).

Therefore there is much more to this than ability to read plain English. Users in a hurry may not read the plain English at all and act without knowing what their action is doing. They may be seeing variant instructions from on the web in the email message itself, unless they are clearly in the text of every group message received by email. Also without the word only, reply to sender is ambiguous. The user may assume that this link will add the sender to the list of recipients in the case where the sender has a no mail restriction for group email and not a restriction to send ones reply to the sender and no one else. This is not English reading ability, this is perception of a statement that is somewhat ambiguous. The bottom line is that anything one can try to reduce the occurance of these errors is worth trying, but it is unlikely that these mistakes will stop cccuring completely. Everyone enjoy this longer holiday weekend.


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

On Sat, 2 Jul 2016, J_catlady wrote:

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).


Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 09:15 am, J_catlady wrote:
"Deletion" is not really deletion. Locking a thread doesn't have a bearing on this that I can see.

I'm not arguing against, potentially, additional safeguards.  Based on my own decades of experience I have found the following to be true, and have come to believe it far more than I did when I first encountered it:

                            Nothing can be made foolproof because fools are just so damned ingenious.

You are correct that locking a thread is not directly relevant, I was just throwing it in because it is a power that I, as a non-moderator, know that moderators do have.  I also agree about deletion if a group is both e-mail and forum, and I presume all groups.io groups are.  Which raises an interesting question (if it's not already possible, I don't know):  Can a group on Groups.io be set up to be strictly e-mail list, strictly online forum, or hybrid?   If not, that might be something to consider as a later upgrade.  It would also make the deletion option much more relevant for "online forum only" format - as one can expunge the "official record" relatively quickly - often before most group members even see something if the request to moderator comes in and is acted on in very short order.

As a final note, when it comes to posting you might be surprised just "how average" I've been over the months in terms of making the "Send to Group" rather than "Send to Sender" mistake.  I can state, unequivocally for myself, that having clear visual relief between the buttons for each purpose now has had a positive impact in preventing my doing that on at least one occasion.

Brian - also "handwritten" due to sig bug



Duane
 

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 09:07 am, Brian Vogel wrote:

             For moderated groups I would presume that the moderator
has not only the power to lock a given thread, but to remove it, or to remove
individual posts.  If not, this is something that should be implemented.

Brian
Moderated or not, the owner (or properly permissioned moderators) can do all of those things on a group.

Duane


 

Brian,

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 09:07 am, Brian Vogel wrote:

you can't say that something that's visually more distinctive "won't work" until its tried.

 I'm not saying it won't work. I'm saying it sounds to me like another band-aid. It certainly can't hurt. If I were Mark, I would roll this out immediately and STILL consider the option being discussed here. 

 while it may be "modifiable" will never be solvable.  

Of course not. We're talking about fallible human beings. But we want to make it as unlikely as possible for them to make a mistake. i don't think the present UI does that.

anyone who is even thinking about posting anything that even might possibly expose something involving someone else, that is private, and that could precipitate legal liability really had ought to be thinking about that and responsible for their own actions.  

Of course they should, and I think for the most part, they do. (Legalities are not a problem in my own particular group, BTW, but that's irrelevant.) All the more reason for the system itself to make it harder for them to make a mistake. People are always going to be fallible. You're making my point for me. :-) The system should help them out. 

For moderated groups I would presume that the moderator has not only the power to lock a given thread, but to remove it, or to remove individual posts. 

Even in unmoderated groups like mine, mods can always do this. But the posts are still in every email subscriber's email inbox. "Deletion" is not really deletion. Locking a thread doesn't have a bearing on this that I can see.

--

J (handwritten signature;)



Brian Vogel <britechguy@...>
 

P.S.  I think the wording on the "Send to Sender" button should be changed to "Private Msg to Sender Only" or "Private Msg to Sender" immediately, if not sooner.  Definitely before the roll-out.

I've never liked the "Send to Sender" and I do think, particularly for newbies, it's vague.

I even think that "Reply to Group" is better than "Send to Group" for the button intended for that purpose, but that's already been taken care of.
--
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 08:23 am, J_catlady wrote:
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?

 J,

           First, you can't say that something that's visually more distinctive "won't work" until its tried.

           Second, given my years and years on all sorts of forums I can tell you that this problem, while it may be "modifiable" will never be solvable.  The problem is that people just don't pay attention to what they're doing.  Even with "Are you sure?" type blockades I've seen instances of people replying in public when they didn't mean to because they *just* *don't* *pay* *attention*.

            Third, and it does not apply to you or your group, specifically, anyone who is even thinking about posting anything that even might possibly expose something involving someone else, that is private, and that could precipitate legal liability really had ought to be thinking about that and responsible for their own actions.  It's not that I don't believe in safeguards, but I have become convinced that most of this kind of thing is due to operator obliviousness (and I hasten to add that's not always stupidity).

             What I'd actually love to see implemented is a "call back" option, not unlike one can use in Gmail, where one sets a delay of one's choosing, up to 30 seconds (I think) - it's been a long time since I set mine, where an "Undo Send" link is presented as a float-over after sending something, unless you send something else within that time, they don't stack.  I haven't used this often, but I've used it often enough over the years to recognize its value.  Most times I have a, "&%#*, I didn't mean to do that!!," reaction it happens within a second or two of hitting the button.

             For moderated groups I would presume that the moderator has not only the power to lock a given thread, but to remove it, or to remove individual posts.  If not, this is something that should be implemented.

Brian



Maria
 

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 08:27 am, J_catlady wrote:
That would be a PITA. In our group (and perhaps most groups?), the default is "reply to group."  

 Yeah it would be a PITA and we'd never opt for it      in our moderated groups. It was just a thought for groups where there may be serious legal implications with a mistake group reply. Because any solution will bring with it the possibility of human error. So if there are no mods to catch that in pending, maybe an extra optional feature for those groups is something to think about. 

Maria




 

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).



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


 

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."  



 
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?



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


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


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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


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


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


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
 

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