Toning down Message format

(Sam Saffron) #1

Messages we email users share much of the same formatting general notifications get, we are building support for staged account messaging (messaging by users with no active accounts on Discourse) and I feel the the general formatting of messages needs toning down

  1. The routing information would be generally confusing ("[Discourse] [PM]") especially for messages that originated from outside emails. I wonder if “[Discourse] [PM]” adds much even for “personal messages” that originate from Discourse. I feel like title is enough and feels much more personal.

  2. The user card at the top with avatar and day (“December 2”) is burying the lede. Traditionally, in email, if you must a signature is added at the bottom. I think we should strip it from messages.

  3. We are giving users 2 different ways to “stop getting the emails” it is very confusing, one of the links is a 404 for anon which is extra bad, instead the link should take you to a jump screen where you can be presented with your option, jump screen should work if you are logged in or not

  4. In a staged account scenario “visit” is no longer applicable as you can not visit the topic.

  5. The url is kind of gigantic, visit Discourse Meta would be enough and takes up much less space

  6. We still show “email context” for messages, I don’t think it makes sense at all from messages you can trip it so a message you made shows up in context which gets super confusing.


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #2

My (very quick) thoughts really focus on point #1: I like having the information about where in the site the email comes from in the title. I use that to filter messages (both automatically and visually) to prioritize information. Having something like [PM] come in an email with a gmail filter gives me a stronger notification than a standard post would.

(Lois Lewis) #3

@sam I agree with this and have thought about what I’d tone down. Agree with item 1 - its messy currently. Agree with item 6. Interestingly my instance of discourse does not show the user card at the top with avatar in notification emails.

(Jeff Atwood) #4

I’m quite sure [PM] needs to stay. Very very different from the other [Discourse] notification emails.

The idea is that this looks like the actual post on the website… not sure I agree with a change here… this should be discussed in more detail with more examples.

How is that bad? It’s a personal / private message… what should we say “oops you can’t view the private message here, try logging in”? That’d leak the existence of the PM, wouldn’t it? Maybe only if the PM is directed to you we could leak but how the heck can we tell that if you are not logged in?

I verified the other two links, unsubscribe and stop receiving notifications, both resolve to the new page we added, which was a must-have, without a doubt:

Yeah true originally when I wrote this I thought seeing the domain and full title would be useful, but technically that info is in the title of the email, so I just changed it:

"To respond, reply to this email or [visit the topic](%{base_url}%{url}) in your browser."

More logic and a different string is needed in that specific case, then…

I don’t get enough PMs to decide on this one, but we had plenty of discussion here about changing the way context is delivered and I know some other changes were pending… perhaps these changes could be rolled up into the staged account / email support case buckets.

(Jeff Atwood) #5

Here’s a before and after mockup, if we removed the user info entirely:

To me the presence of that distinctive style of avatar + layout lets me know where this email came from… some guy named addem did not just email me directly.

(Sam Saffron) #6

I think there are quite a few different use cases with different needs:

Staged account PM

User has no account on Discourse and we are simply replying to an email they sent team@discourse. It is very confusing for them to get any “routing” information in the title, as they already picked a title when they emailed team@. By changing the title to include [PM] we are potentially breaking threading in their email client.

The concept of “unsubscribing” makes no sense to them, they emailed team@ to unsubscribe they simply stop sending emails to team@ or reply with… “Please stop replying to my emails”

The extra decoration with the avatar makes no sense to them.

They know how to respond to the email, they simply email back, they need no tips.

We definitely need a lot of special logic here.

Normal PM

I think conceptually when you receive a PM we AND incoming email is configured we are simply acting as brokers. Some guy named addem did just email you directly, it is a message between you and him, just like any other email you get. You can interact just as you do with any other email.

The adornment distracts you from the fact that you can simply hit “reply” and bang out your direct reply to the person that just emailed you.

We can fix “visit this topic” for anon trivially… add ?prompt_login=true to end of the URL, and then simply act on that for anon … that way can always prompt login if topic is either missing or no access, no information is revealed and usability improves.

I also feel there is a fair amount of friction with the 2 options presented on PMs

To stop receiving notifications for this particular topic, click here.

To unsubscribe from these emails, change your user preferences.

Even though we know a PM really just is a topic, it is very confusing. In the case of PMs

“To unsubscribe from these emails, change your user preferences.”

Is plenty

Sure … you can opt out of a PM bus by changing notification level on the PM, but it is such an edge case I see no reason to highlight that in every email we send users about a PM.

Emails concerning topics on the site (mention, reply, quote etc)

No changes really needed here IMO

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #7

I feel this point misses the fact that not all Discourse instances are setup to handle “reply by email.” On the discourse instance I moderate I cannot reply to a PM or post via email, so I cannot simply hit “reply” and this is not something I can interact with just like any other email.

Will this proposed change only affect sites with email setup, or all sites?

(Sam Saffron) #8

Yes, only for sites with mail setup, also we plan to automatically configure incoming mail for all our customers