Quickly tell someone why they should look at a topic


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #1

Continuing the discussion from User Invitation/Poking a user to a topic is now live!:

With this feature in place, I would love to be able to include a one-line reason why I’m pointing out a topic to someone… is that in the cards, or would it be better to have a new “create private message” button that makes the new message with a blank “To” and a link to the topic?


(Jeff Atwood) #2

LOL! This is now full circle to, “gee, why don’t you @name mention the person in a reply if you want them to look at it?”

Note that email invites to a topic (for people who do not yet have an account) do already include the topic title and a summary of the first post.

For regular notification invites on existing users, there’s no place in the notification UI to enter a lot of extra text, so that’s not in the cards. The topic title will have to do.


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #3

because that would post to everyone in the forum, creating unnecessary noise for everyone

a quick way to create a PM with a link would be a great compromise IMO.


(Jeff Atwood) #4

From within a topic, you can select a person’s avatar and then Message to get a linked personal message. (Try it here! Don’t send it though…)

However in this case the user hasn’t posted in the topic, obviously.


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #5

I think what I’m looking for is something like this red PM box… having it open up a new [Private|Personal] Message would be so convenient (so long as they are a member)

but the initial request was definitely to be able to use the Invite, as it’s universally capable of adding someone by email OR username.

What’s missing is the “why”

This isn’t as urgent for me, because most of the time I’m talking with a person on the phone/chat/etc and I’m telling them that yes, the question they want answered is already in our forum, and that I’ll ping them on it. So the recent ability to ping a current user is super-awesome because now I don’t have to worry about if they are a member or not.

Having the ability to add a one-liner here means that when they finally get around to viewing the notice 2-3 days from now (etc) they’ll have a reminder of just why I wanted them to see/act/etc.


(Jeff Atwood) #6

The link button is about external sharing in read only mode to just take a look at something… whereas invite is about internal sharing with an explicit invitation to join the site and participate.


(⛰️) #7

So these are the workflow patterns you’re looking at for a user?

  1. User invites other user to participate.
    :small_blue_diamond: Click ‘invite’ button at topic bottom, enter username, send invite with button click on the same page.
    :small_orange_diamond: Alerts to entire thread. Does not allow to specify which reply to possibly reply to. Currently no context other than canned invite message.

  2. User invites other user to view.
    :small_blue_diamond: Click time stamp in upper right corner of a reply for share popup and and copy url or copy url from browser address bar or copy url from share popup but edit the url if wanting to only link to the topic overall. Use keystrokes or click avatar in upper right of viewport and then select ‘messages’. Click New Message button. Paste url (and also edit url if wanting overall topic from using share popup). Add personal message to view, or maybe even participate. Click and send message.
    :small_orange_diamond: Alert to specific reply or edit url for entire topic. Allows small extra message for context. Lots of steps to execute.

That seems very disproportionate and possibly rendering this entire ‘poke’ feature redundant or maybe frustrating. What is the use of ‘poke’ if it does not give the same use as a private message with a url from the share popup of a reply or from the browser address bar? Is it suppose to streamline and encourage users to invite for participation and viewing without resorting to a @mention cc or having to go through even more steps to get more eyeballs in the topic and maybe then discouraging them altogether to even try and get others to check in?

If I am incorrect on the implied path a user is suppose to take to use these features or anything else related to my reply above, please correct me. I am honestly looking to understand this.


(Michael Downey) #8

As a human, I’m always much more inclined to click on something more promptly if someone tells me why they think I’d like it or should read it. This is why people put descriptions in front of links they post on Twitter. It’s a common UX pattern. :slight_smile:


(Tobias Eigen) #9

I agree with you guys but I also am not sure why it’s a priority to make it easy for users to tell other users why they should look at a topic. It isn’t that much work to copy the link into an email or message. I do this all day long and it’s fine.

That said, it would be nice if it were a bit easier. Maybe the right place for this would be in flag - eg. “Message someone else. This post contains something I want to tell another person directly and privately about. Does not cast a flag.”


(⛰️) #10

I wish I had your patience, heh. :sweat_smile:

My own prodding has to do with feature consistency and efficiency. The former is not always going to happen with some things but the latter is desired.

It is the difference between using a keystroke or having to palm a mouse to click a link. You have laid-back users or power users. With less hoops to jump through means it is easier for a user to be conditioned to use the feature as intended. It induces a positive reward response in the brain, thus easier to adopt and use.

When it is easier to get activity to a thread, all the better. Stimulating conversation is the name of the game. :smiley:


(Jeff Atwood) #11

The link, mail option already does this. Here’s the result of me clicking link (the timestamp at the upper right, or the link icon button)


(Tobias Eigen) #12

That works for me! :slight_smile:


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #13

That doesn’t work if they aren’t already a member, requiring me to either pester them more than once over the same thing (invite, hope they accept, and then follow an email as well, in that order)


(Jeff Atwood) #14

Right, an invite is an explicit invitation to join the site, whereas sharing the link just says “take a quick look at this!”

As mentioned multiple times upstream :wink:


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #15

An invite button, which accepts a username or email address (user or not) and allows me a one liner to tell the person why I’m ringing their bell, combines all of the above, and incorporates awesome improvements which have been implemented elsewhere.

It’s a one-stop-shop, allowing me as an admin to quickly, easily reference content on our site to new and existing users alike.


(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #16

I just used this again in our forum… it was nice I could just paste the user’s email address in the invite, so he got the email directly from the site, but without a one-liner of why he was invited, I still had to send a second contact about it.


(Mittineague) #17

I’m wondering if you could append a fake GET var eg.
`…/topic-title/123/?r=check-this-out’
or if that would mung up the link.

I tried in the browser address bar and it had no effect on the page loading.

Not ideal, but in a pinch?


(Alessio Fattorini) #18

In my case this message could be super useful.
My discoruse is strong support based and when a new question appears, I reply something like “@giacomo could help you” or “ehi @davide take a look” “@luca please welcome this guy” ecc…
With poke button can avoid that but add a message to explain “why” makes me happy :wink:


(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #19

I can agree there is some precedence for this. Google Drive would agree too.

However in my case with both Discourse as well as Drive, an invite is something I send to someone that I’m already engaged in conversation with. I don’t do cold-call invites. So it’s no extra bother for me to preface the invite in my pre-existing dialog.

This seems like a good plugin candidate.


(Jeff Atwood) #20

Remember if you invite them to a topic, the title and summary of that topic is included.

It is pretty typical to have a “welcome to the site, tell us about yourself!” topic, so invite them to that topic. Boom, problem solved, invite contains info from first post.