Mention group/user without notification


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #1

Problem:

Recently, I have come across situations where I would like to mention a group (like @team or @moderators) as a reference to the group, not as a way of notifying them/getting their attention.

Two examples:

  1. On the Stonehearth Discourse: Once group mentions became a thing, we went back and modified our FAQ, rules and guidelines, and other basic topics to ask users to mention/message @moderators when they need help instead of mentioning a random moderator. As all the moderators are equally capable, and are in different timezones, we felt this would be the most efficient way for users to request help. Unfortunately, when each of those edits are made, all moderators receive a notifications (not my intent!).
  2. On Meta: Recently I wanted to reference the Discourse team. Something along the lines of “The Discourse team would …”, and would have liked the word team to be in reference to the group. Unfortunately, if I put the @ sign in front of the word team 12 people would have been notified.

Proposal:

There should be a method to “mention” a group (or user) and prevent them from receiving notifications. Currently, you can surround groups with backticks (like @team) and prevent notification, but that also prevents team from being clicked on to bring a user to the group page. I do not know what character (or set of characters) to propose, but something that can easily be inserted into the editor surrounding the group/user could be of great use.


Profile summary mentions
(Jeff Atwood) #2

So why not type or paste in the URL to the group page in this case?

https://meta.discourse.org/groups/team


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #3

I guest I could do something like this: team…but that changes takes a lot longer to type, it requires a user to understand the url system (though anyone who needs this feature likely does), and ideally doing so would be transparrent to anyone not looking at the raw text. team looks like a link to something, whereas looks like a mention, which is the intention.

Edit: Additionally, while a hyperlink to the group page works for Example 2, it does not work for Example 1 as the goal is to show a user how to mention a group. A link to the group page doesn’t do that.


(Jeff Atwood) #4

Well if the goal is to show how to do it, just type @example or @team.


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #5

That still doesn’t accomplish the goal…

Here is an excerpt from our “Welcome | Rules & Guidelines: PLEASE READ THIS FIRST!” thread at Stonehearth:


That’s all folks… welcome once again to the Stonehearth community!

If you need any help, feel free to PM the moderators: @moderators.

We look forward to having a healthy discourse with you! :smile: :+1:


When I made that change at Stonehearth, 15 people (well, 14, as I was one) were notified. I did not want to make it a link, or surround it by backticks as it looks different to all users. If it looks like @moderators to users in the topic, but then looks like @moderators when they type it, many would likely be confused. Same thing with @moderators. If it were me I would be wondering why it looks different when I do it.


(Jeff Atwood) #6

Well, you could include a screenshot like if needed.


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #7

I could, and that is what I did a few posts above, but then it loses the ability to be clicked. I could do Team Group
[![Team Group](https://meta-s3-cdn.freetls.fastly.net/original/3X/b/d/bd1e41b228a86c9e367d84ee5a155099629e4d0e.png)](https://meta.discourse.org/groups/team)

but that is a lot of extra work for something that it seems should be simpler to accomplish. It also wouldn’t update if you change the way mentions look in the future.


(cpradio) #8

But how would you differentiate between when you want to notify and when you don’t? If both use @ and auto-complete? There isn’t a way to tell them apart. Only the user fully knows when they want to do the notification and when they don’t and in that scenario, there are ways listed above to for the user to go the without notification route, yes it is a lot more work, but I bet it is also a fairly rare situation.

The only other solution is you have a different prefix, but that fails to teach others how to mention groups too as it would only teach them to use a way that doesn’t send a notification. I think you just have to bite the bullet and receive the notification, and not worry about it. All of your team should quickly be able to identify that the context the nofication was made in, doesn’t require any attention from them.


(Sam Saffron) #9

The best way to address this is in the “warning window”

By using @team, you are about to notify 12 people. 

<a>Skip @team notification for this post</a> for this post.

A huge pain to implement it, as in, I would probably not even schedule this till next year.


(Dave McClure) #10

Another idea for the UX that I think would be worth considering is to introduce an element similar to the address list in the direct message composer that would make it explicit which people and/or groups are going to be notified:

As groups and users are mentioned in a topic, they’d be automatically added to that list, but could be removed before the post is saved.

How would you assess the pain of implementing something to solve this at this point?

We are planning to roll out support for groups in the near future with the settings described in this topic.

I don’t know we need this yet, but it definitely seems like something that’d be nice to have. I’m a little concerned that people will not feel comfortable using @group mentions because of the constant warnings…


(Jeff Atwood) #11

There is nothing worse than over notification spam, so I would say the group mention concern is warranted and correct.


(Sam Saffron) #12

The pain level is still extreme, unless we figure out some way of integrating this into the markdown.

Implementing something like: @group:dont_notify is reasonably simple, then all that would be needed is UI.

Doing this without amending the raw markdown is nightmare mode.


(Dave McClure) #13

I guess this surprises me a little given the “who can mention this group” feature which implies there is logic outside the markdown itself already that prevents me from notifying the @team, for example.

But the markdown thing still seems like a fine way to do it.

Wonder if it could be a single character like #@group or #@user. That way people could do it themselves without a UI more easily once they learn the trick. And the MVP for the UI could just be text instructing them to put a # in front if they don’t want to send a notification.

(Alternatively, it could just be #group and #group:group to disambiguate from tags and categories when necessary, to be more like how tags are mentioned).


(Jeff Atwood) #14

This seems exceedingly over engineered, if all we are talking about is learning how to type @group so that it is not an actual mention.


(Dave McClure) #15

I’d still like it to be a mention in the sense that someone can click it and discover what that @group is. And I’d like the post to show up in the group’s mentions. The only thing I want to suppress is the notification.


One other idea is to give group members more control over how mentions notify them. For instance:

Notify me when this group is mentioned by:

  • anyone
  • other group members
  • members of these groups: foo, bar