Invite existing user to a topic

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #1

I’d like to be able to point out a current member to a forum post. I assumed that “Invite Friends to Reply” would be a good way to do this, but apparently I can’t enter an existing forum members address.

Is there a better way? Could the Invite Friends button be relaxed a bit?

Invitations to group-restricted topics
Share with a user via Message?
PM-User to Invite to Convo or Continue in PM
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(Bill Ayakatubby) #2

You could always refer to them using the @ convention, e.g. @watchmanmonitor. They’ll get a notification that they’ve been mentioned.

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #3

Thanks Bill,

I don’t want them to feel obligated to post by using an @BhaelOchon mention. Nor do I need everyone else following the topic to get extra notifications.

My goal is to have a simple, discreet way to let a us know that a post exists.


(Jeff Atwood) #4

Why don’t they just PM them a link then? Or email it directly to them if they are a close friend. Mentioning someone in a topic reply to get their feedback on a topic is pretty natural and an intended part of the design.

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #5

Why not? because inviting to an existing topic is easier for me.

A) Invite anyone I want:

  1. find the article
  2. click the invite button
  3. enter their email address
  4. done - I know the person I wanted got the right topic with a consistent message

B) Invites only work for new members

  1. Find the article
  2. determine if they are a member of the community or not
  3. click the invite button if I think they aren’t
  4. enter the email address
  5. get an error message
  6. copy the URL
  7. move back to my email client
  8. enter their email address
  9. think of a subject
  10. think of a message
  11. paste the URL
  12. hope that worked.

I think there’s a cuss word muttered somewhere around step 5, which is why I’m seeing what it would take to just invite anyone to a topic, member or not.

(Bill Ayakatubby) #6

I see this as a “PM this topic (or post?) to another forum user” button, limited to at least trust level 1–not an overload of the current invitation functionality.

I understand your frustration, but the invite system does a functionally different thing than what you want it to do. Its essential function is to get new people to join the forum.

Additional limiting factors:

  • Especially on a forum like this, I don’t know anyone’s email address but my own. Your proposed overload of the invitation function doesn’t address that situation. I’d still need to @-mention them or navigate to their profile and send them a PM.
  • The invitation function is only available to users who are trust level 2 or higher. See the following topic for information about trust progression: Understanding Discourse Trust Levels

I agree with @codinghorror, that if you want to discreetly notify someone about the topic without going outside the forum, the way to do that is through PM. To reiterate, I could get behind a feature suggestion for a “PM this topic (or post?) to another forum user” button, limited to at least trust level 1.

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #7

I see your point about not knowing someone’s email address. My resolve would be to allow both email addresses AND forum user names in that box.

It goes back to the box’s title: Invite Friends to Reply

By limiting that box to new members only, the buttons title should be: Invite non-community members to Reply

(Kane York) #8

Maybe more text is needed in the actual box, implying that it won’t work if they’re already registered for the forum?

(Jeff Atwood) #9

I find myself agreeing with @watchmanmonitor here, there is no real downside to extending the invite to work with existing users. It does make sense.

However it is a non trivial amount of work and I see it as a nice to have, not an essential missing function. You can always PM or naturally mention the user in a reply. So I honestly do not see us getting to this any time soon unless the community wants to submit a PR.

(Jeff Atwood) #10

I improved the copy cues here so it’s clearer that email is the mechanism for the invite friends button:

(icon on button, default text, email moved up in explanatory text, etc)

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #11

Maybe the better solution would be to replace “Sorry, we couldn’t invite that person. Perhaps they are already a user?”

with a button to send them a direct message?

that would actually be ideal anyway… give me a chance to say why I’m messaging them.

What I liked about my initial request was how easy (read allowing me to be lazy) it would be to encourage an existing member to post to the topic. Not having to create a full on email w subject line, etc, and getting the auto-login URL are nice benefits to the original request regarding this “invite friends” button.

(Tobias Eigen) #12

I just came across this issue myself today - I often look for the ability to invite an existing user to a topic via the INVITE button too, and that seems to be the most intuitive place for it. Another place I look for it is in FLAG - e.g. an option to flag this for another user via PM. Along the lines of:

  • Notify another forum user via PM
    This topic would benefit from a contribution by another user, and you’d like to discreetly let them know the post exists.

(Brian Adams) #13

I ran in to a need for similar functionality 2 days after migrating our community. I have 3 or 4 moderators that are specialists in their fields, but for a lot of reasons, they may miss a conversation that I know they would like to (or should) participate in. While I can do an @ mention, it ends up breaking up the discourse with meta information which makes me sad :umbrella:.

“… greate point user x, and when we do y and z …”
"I’m adding @ person to the discussion "
"… er okay, so back to what I was saying"

I would like high trust users to be able to do an action that performs the equivalent of the @ mention without munging the flow of the discussion. Alternatively, a way to mark the @ mention message as a moderator message that only high trust users see.


(Jeff Atwood) #14

Generally you work this in conversationally in the post. Editing in @name mentions also works after the fact to bring in people who need to see something in a topic; they will get notified.

It’s a fascinating topic. What do you think of this, @techapj ?

↑↑ live example ↑↑

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #15

What’s the purpose of the invite button being on every page, if I can’t use it at all times with members of the existing community?

Currently, a better name for the Invite button is Invite External User

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #16

What if I don’t want to notify the entire community that I asked a member to reply?

(Jeff Atwood) #17

You’d send a PM then, I guess.

Even if Invite worked this way, and did not send a PM but just a notification (which would be better, I think), we’d have to watch it carefully for abuse. What if someone clicked the button on every topic, “inviting” Joe to reply?

(Kane York) #18

Existing moderation framework? Mark All Notifications Read + manual discipline.

Also, s/clicked the/automated the/

(Jeff Atwood) #19

I am not against this (scope creeping invite button to work on existing users) for the record, but the mechanics would deserve some detailed discussion. Like everything else, there are … subtleties … that would cause problems if we don’t get it right.

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(Sam Saffron) #20

First things first though, invite into a PM needs to work when SSO is enabled.