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My lesson learned: Don't give users full message/convo text in notification emails

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by kontrabass, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. kontrabass

    kontrabass Well-Known Member

    I just posted this notice. I've seen visits flatline and decrease since including full post/PM text in notification emails. Sure it's convenient, but not worth it. Also created a customer service headache for us (users were certain the alerts system was broken):

    Just a head's up: I've decided to remove post/message text in notification emails. Reasons:
    • This is the big one. We have a lot of confused users. Typical scenario: user subs to a thread. A new post is made, user gets an email and reads it. User considers post "read". There are 3 new posts to the thread, but user doesn't get any further notification emails (as designed. user must actually VISIT thread in order to get more notifications for that thread). Therefore: user is upset because they missed 3 posts. TalkBass loses user engagements because many users never realize there's been more posts to sub'ed threads that they "read" via email.
    • We're losing revenue. When users read posts on TalkBass, we get ad revenue.
    • Users STILL try to reply to posts by replying to post notification emails

    Anyone else have a similar experience?
    Breixo, Newt, Optic and 3 others like this.
  2. AndyB

    AndyB Well-Known Member

    In addition to the above problems, privacy is also a concern. A bounced email ends up going to the admin and those private conversations are visible by the admin which is not good.
  3. Jeremy

    Jeremy Well-Known Member

    No user should assume privacy on a site. Yes, most administrators don't seek out reading private conversations, but the data is open to anyone with database access.
    Amaury likes this.
  4. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    Fortunately not, have always left mine off for this very expected reason.
    /admin.php?options/list/discussionOptions for anyone not sure where to find the relevant options.
    Breixo likes this.
  5. AlexT

    AlexT Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I have vocal "core" users who would probably miss that feature if we were to suddenly turn it off. A compromise would be to make full message text in emails a usergroup permission, and allow members of a particular usergroup to receive full message text.
    Coop1979 and kontrabass like this.
  6. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    I have made my forum sending email address a donotreply@domain.com address. Plus a big red bold text note at the top of the email template not to reply and since doing that have had no notification emails bounce back to me.
  7. kontrabass

    kontrabass Well-Known Member

    Now THATS a great idea! One more perk for supporting members, and a good one.
  8. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    Just had a look and I believe it's ridiculously easy to do that as an add-on.

    Use the load_class_mail event, extend XenForo_Mail::__contruct set $this->_emailTitle to be the relevant email template based on whatever conditions (e.g. user group membership).
    Coop1979, thedude and kontrabass like this.
  9. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    All that being said, it's probably not that simple.

    The global option is checked much earlier in the process and as a result the output of the text is altered accordingly.

    So it might need a little bit more work than I assumed :)
  10. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    Thought it worth a go :)

    This currently only works on default XF watched content templates.

    In theory an add-on could extend the code further to include other templates, e.g. templates from other add-ons.

    I like this, because we have access to the receiving user's node permissions at this point. This means the permission is actually content based rather than global. Meaning you could of course set this globally per user group or per user, but if you want even more control, you can prevent message text being sent out on a per node basis. Possible use for that, is, if there is a forum which is private, or deals with sensitive information, you could prevent the message text being sent out for that forum only while messages/threads in other forums could have the text sent out in the email.

    I am releasing it here as I have not tested this fully and you would need to exercise caution while testing it yourself. Note it is an Alpha and did not take me very long to write at all so there could be bugs!

    If it works ok, I'll look at conversation emails, too, and eventually release in the RM.

    Attached Files:

    kontrabass, Xon, Luis and 4 others like this.
  11. kontrabass

    kontrabass Well-Known Member

    Wow thanks Chris! I'll give this a go on my test board tonight.
  12. petertdavis

    petertdavis Well-Known Member

    I stopped letting the content of a post be sent out in the email notifications years ago, back before Xenforo even existed in fact, because of an overnight spam incident where a porn spammer hit our boards and we ended up unwillingly distributing porn spam via email to a large number of members. The thought that some of this porn spam could have even ended up in the inbox of a minor made me realize that it's not even worth the possibility that it may happen again.
    Anthony Parsons, sbj and dethfire like this.
  13. dethfire

    dethfire Well-Known Member

    I get a ton of members replying to the post via the email.
  14. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    It's annoying ins't it. I think the only (or main) solution as I said is a great big DO NOT REPLY TO THIS!
    dethfire likes this.
  15. dethfire

    dethfire Well-Known Member

    How do you change the email template? The default do-not-reply is at the bottom in small grey print
  16. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member



    There may be other ones also but I think that is the main one

    It's html so you can add a span style with big red bold text or whatever
    dethfire likes this.
  17. Luis

    Luis Well-Known Member

  18. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    I would like it if the emails could include a snippet or part of the text, e.g. the first 200 characters.

    Then a notice immediately after the View The Thread: If you do not visit the thread you will not get any further notices

    The second part is easy enough to customise of course.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
    dethfire likes this.
  19. sbj

    sbj Well-Known Member

    I never understood why you would want to email the whole message to someone?

    You basically switch off the purpose of a forum. It dislocates the content out of your forum. So less visits and actions on your forum.
  20. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    I disabled post email notifications to everyone by default since day one. If a user wants to subscribe via email they do it manually (and usually they don't know how to do it).

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