Loomio
November 29th, 2012 10:17

Email: Default settings

Rob Guthrie
Rob Guthrie Public Seen by 54

The new emails are in place and seem to work well enough. I suggest that we update all the user accounts and opt them in to these new emails, and that we make new users default to having these emails.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie started a proposal November 29th, 2012 10:22

We update all the user accounts to be subscribed to 'Activity summary' and 'Proposal closing soon' emails and make this the default for new accounts. Closed 12:45pm - Saturday 1 Dec 2012

How reckless is it to only give one day for this proposal?

Results
Agree - 8
Abstain - 8
Disagree - 8
Block - 8
9 people have voted (3%)
Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett
Agree
November 29th, 2012 10:29

Personally I like it, though I am willing to be convinced otherwise.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett November 29th, 2012 10:29

No new activity = no email?

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie
Agree
November 29th, 2012 10:35

I think we're too nice to the users. We should take more risks with them. Rattle the cage!

Aaron Thornton

Aaron Thornton
Agree
November 29th, 2012 10:40

rivvrit!

Alanna Irving

Alanna Irving
Agree
November 29th, 2012 16:45

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon
Agree
November 29th, 2012 19:49

=) heh, yeah one day is pretty reckless!

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon November 29th, 2012 19:50

Agree with Rich. What if there is no new activity? Can we make it so it doesn't send the email?

Benjamin Knight

Benjamin Knight
Agree
November 29th, 2012 21:08

Keen! Though it would be ammmmazing to implement an obvious alert telling people when they're not signed in to avoid mass confusion when they click through from the email links first (I think this is gonna happen heaps)

James McCann

James McCann
Agree
November 29th, 2012 21:15

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 29th, 2012 21:16

Ok I've pushed the change so that no activity with mean no email.
It's pushed to origin- not loomio-production yet.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 29th, 2012 21:18

@benjaminknight I agree that will happen a lot.. But I don't think it should hold up this proposal.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 29th, 2012 23:08

Did anyone else just get a proposal closing soon email for this proposal? I think I set it to close at 11pm tonight. So its more or less 12 hours from now. Does that feel like the right about of time for this notification to other people? I think it's right for me.. but I can understand if people think it is a little bit short/late

Sean Tilley

Sean Tilley
Agree
November 29th, 2012 23:08

Just got a notification for this proposal closing soon. ;) Very handy and useful feature, it's a great way to make sure nothing gets missed.

Billy

Billy November 29th, 2012 23:36

Will the first email that goes out explain what has happened and how to change the settings if they want to? (Or is that just included as end of message blurb?)

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 30th, 2012 00:00

@billy Nope - Good point. We should write an email to go out to everyone to explain the new features and how to opt out.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 30th, 2012 00:32

I actually just changed the format of it. It's now looping by group first, then showing decisions and discussions per group.

I'm out of control and I'll stop

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 30th, 2012 00:34

Also the date in the subject is way off.. so I've changed the subject line to read:

Loomio - Summary of the last 24 hours

DF

Dan Finlay
Abstain
November 30th, 2012 04:39

I just hope that an unsubscribe link is made easy to click within each email.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 30th, 2012 04:44

@danfinlay we will have a 'Modify your email preferences' link at the bottom. You will need to be already signed in.. or sign in then though. I hear you - a one click unsubscribe would be good.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 30th, 2012 21:21

Ok so you should have a version with the new format today. What do you think?

Benjamin Knight

Benjamin Knight December 1st, 2012 22:38

Would really like to see a clear and easy unsubscribe button before rolling out, to avoid mass frustration

Aaron Thornton

Aaron Thornton December 2nd, 2012 06:53

Hey @robertguthrie, you probably know already, but the link at the bottom of the email currently take you to user settings not email preferences.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie December 2nd, 2012 20:01

@aaronthornton Nup I had not realised. I'll change the wording to 'Unsubscribe or modify your email preferences' and make the link use the single access token so people don't need to be logged in. Then I think we're ready to go.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett December 2nd, 2012 21:30

Love you @robertguthrie

Benjamin Knight

Benjamin Knight December 2nd, 2012 21:49

I love @robertguthrie also! I reckon the Closing Soon emails are all good to push to default on, and that the daily summary will be as soon as there's easy unsubscribe!

The Closing soon notifications are SO VERY HELPFUL already!

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie December 3rd, 2012 07:19

Lovers and coders, I have finished the unsubscribe stuff.
@jonlemmon @aaronthornton

Can we please have a meeting to clear the outstanding pull requests tomorrow?

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie started a proposal December 3rd, 2012 22:23

That we agree upon less noisy, more useful email defaults Closed 1:04pm - Tuesday 4 Dec 2012

Outcome
by Rob Guthrie February 27th, 2017 22:26

Another proposal

Further to the talk about enabling daily activity summary to on I think we need to consider all the email defaults together.

I suggest that once the new group email preferences are live we use the following defaults for new users.

Enabled:
Daily Activity Summary
Proposal Closing Soon
Mentioned

Disabled:
Instant notification of new discussions and motions for every group.

This should lower the volume of email going out, which will reduce the likelyhood of people marking our emails as spam.

Results
Agree - 0
Abstain - 0
Disagree - 0
Block - 0
1 people have voted (0%)
Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon
Abstain
December 3rd, 2012 23:19

I'd probably prefer this for myself. Not sure what the rest of our users would want though... Interested to see what the others say.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie started a proposal December 4th, 2012 00:09

We email a feature update to users explaining new emails, and asking them to fill in a google survey on their preferences Closed 3:40am - Saturday 8 Dec 2012

We email all the users with an update on new Loomio features, Particularly we explain:

  • Daily Acitivity Summary Email
  • Mentions
  • Proposal Closing Soon Email
  • User controlled discussion and motion notification emails

Finally we direct users to fill in a survey on what they think the defaults should be for a new user.

Results
Agree - 5
Abstain - 5
Disagree - 5
Block - 5
11 people have voted (3%)
James McCann

James McCann
Abstain
December 4th, 2012 00:12

Like the part about emailing the new features out but would be more inclined to turn on the defaults and explain how they can be turned off.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie December 4th, 2012 00:14

Or .. rather than use a google survey.. can we handle the discussion/decision involving the users, with loomio?

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie December 4th, 2012 00:18

Sorry guys, I should not have closed the last decision.

So.. I think we'll all agree that we should email and explain the new features. Should I make that a motion by itself?

Finally another motion on what the new defaults should be..

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon
Agree
December 4th, 2012 00:59

Sending a survey along with the email sounds like a really really good idea!

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon December 4th, 2012 01:01

Awesome idea about the survey! I reckon we just use surveymonkey for now. And in the future it would obviously be really cool if we can use Loomio directly for this sort of stuff.

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon December 4th, 2012 01:02

Unless you can think of a way @robertguthrie to use Loomio immediately for the survey? I think it would be hard right now unless we had a group with every single user in it. But that presents a few problems at the moment.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett
Agree
December 4th, 2012 01:15

Brilliant

Matthew Bartlett

Matthew Bartlett
Agree
December 4th, 2012 01:30

Benjamin Knight

Benjamin Knight
Agree
December 4th, 2012 02:09

I agree with this, AND I want it to go ahead

Joshua Vial

Joshua Vial
Agree
December 4th, 2012 02:15

Surveys to the user base about what they think are awesome.

 vivien maidaborn

vivien maidaborn
Agree
December 4th, 2012 11:26

I like it, let's go

Alanna Irving

Alanna Irving
Abstain
December 4th, 2012 15:25

DF

Dan Finlay
Disagree
December 5th, 2012 19:08

Members of my group (The Sudoroom Hackerspace in Oakland, CA) have been basically on a witch-hunt for me today, all initiated because one of them was signed up for emails they hadn't requested. Loomio should start collaborations, not witch-hunts.

DF

Dan Finlay December 5th, 2012 19:10

From my group's listserv:

The main problem is that the default email preference for Loomio seems to be "Send me a daily activity email summarising what’s been happening in my groups" - which is just insane.

The group is getting discontent with loomio, they don't want emails they didn't ask for. That said, a single email clarifying preferences could be ok.

DF

Dan Finlay
Disagree
December 5th, 2012 19:10

My group is getting discontent with loomio, they don't want emails they didn't ask for.

Benjamin Knight

Benjamin Knight December 5th, 2012 20:10

Hey Dan - the decision under consideration right now is to send one email out to users to ask them what they want the default email preferences to be - it's not a decision about setting an email-on default.

Given your comment below it sounds like sending out a survey probably isn't something you disagree with?

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett December 5th, 2012 20:22

Hi @danfinlay one of your group members sent through a the whole exchange to the contact@loomio.org inbox. Reading through, it seems the root of the problem was that the user received the summary email without having ever accepted the invite email.

If that's the case that's a big bad bug that we need to squish asap.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie December 5th, 2012 21:25

The invite system sux ass. IMO we should not create user records until people accept their invitation.

Billy

Billy December 6th, 2012 03:47

Personally I would find it weird getting an email asking me to fill out a survey about what I think defaults should be; it seems more normal just to explain the settings, what the default is, and how to change it, and then monitor how many users change it, and what the dominant pattern of settings is, and then set that as default...

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett December 6th, 2012 04:26

@billy I think the wording of the proposal could be improved: instead of asking the user what they think the defaults should be, we can simply ask them what settings they would like for themselves.

Your method of passively monitoring user behaviour would certainly work, but the survey is a way of announcing 'you are actively participating in the development of this tool'.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie December 6th, 2012 04:59

I agree with billy. I felt there was something weird about asking people what the defaults should be when I created the proposal but I knew it would be popular around here. (and I just want to be popular.. after all)

I think we need to be smarter than "here are a bunch of individual choices" and think about this in terms of a few objectives:

  • Retaining users and their group engagement
  • Being cautious not to flood a user's inbox
  • Ensuring that critical information gets noticed.

My interpretation of that means a default selection of the following enabled:
*Daily Activity Summary
*Mention Notifications (probably)
*Proposal closing soon notifications

And discussion and motion notification emails disabled by default.

My reasoning is that if a group has a busy day the volume of emails going out would increase if one were subscribed to new discussion/motion notifications. However the volume of email is constant, limited to 1 or 0, if the user is just instead told about the activity via the summary email.

Notifying people about motions closing is essential to successful engagement, as is being able to mention people and expect that they are notified.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie
Disagree
December 6th, 2012 05:01

yea.. we can do better. And I feel that we have a responsibiliy to make this decision on behalf of the users in a considerate fashion

James McCann

James McCann December 6th, 2012 08:36

@richardd.bartlett - if we are going to ask the user what their own email preferences are in survey form, would it be easier to just give them a link and let them set them straight away?

Would selecting your preference in a survey immediately update your preferences as such or is that a two step process?

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett
Disagree
December 6th, 2012 20:39

Okay we should set the defaults, send an email to all users updating them of the new features and directing them to their settings page, and include the option to opt out of feature-update emails in the future.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett December 6th, 2012 21:23

Got this message today:

"You guys should allow unsubscription (from everything) right from the email. And you must allow unsubscribe by email

The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act stipulates that your unsubscribe function needs to be clear and conspicuous, free, likely to be functional for at least 30 days after the original message is sent, and able to be sent using the same method of communication that was used to send the original message. Source"

Billy

Billy
Disagree
December 7th, 2012 01:17

email spam annoys people, the current proposition is not quite right, it is worth getting right

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype December 7th, 2012 23:44

The daily notifications you've created is potentially helpful to heavy users, and not nearly as annoying as unsolicited self-promotion "newsletter" emails (please don't ever make these a default I have to opt-out of - news is what blogs are for). But I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Email pollution sucks. I get enough email without daily notifications from web apps, which I'm using instead of email lists precisely to reduce my email flow.
I suggest:
* when new users get their confirmation email, it offers to subscribe them to any email notifications, with the default being NO EMAIL.
* when users join a new group, they get a confirmation email, pointing out that keeping track of the activity in multiple Loomio groups might be assisted by email notifications, and again offering them an opt-in. Again, default being NO EMAIL.

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype December 7th, 2012 23:59

It would be awesome if a user could set the email notification to arrive every x days (x = whatever number of days suits the way they want to use Loomio). What would be even more awesome would be if the user could set the notification frequency for each group in a dynamic way.

Every group I'm part of has busy times, when important decisions need to be made urgently and I want to know what's happening every day, and other times there's not much to discuss, and I might only need to check in once a month. I'm imagining an email frequency screen which lists all my groups (and a search field at the top which I can start typing a group name into to bring it to the top), with a slider for each one which can be positioned on a spectrum between "busy" and "dormant". The list could be alphabetized, or in order of "busyness" with the ability to toggle between busiest at the top, and most dormant at the top.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett December 8th, 2012 03:01

I agree with you Strypey insofar as you represent a significant user group, i.e. those that have too much traffic in their inbox.

What we have to consider is another user group who are not suffering from overloaded inboxes. I would guess a significant portion of this group would have a relatively low technical competency, and are likely to be more comfortable operating in an email context than any web app.

Engaging these people is crucial. The question of where to set the defaults is about striking the balance between engaging people and annoying them.

Perhaps the solution is to give group admins the ability to set the defaults for their group, e.g. diaspora or FLOSS Coop might set their defaults to All Off, whereas a group of less technically proficient users might have better engagement with All On.

FYI the ability for users to set their email settings at a per-group level is nearly ready for deploy

Alanna Irving

Alanna Irving December 8th, 2012 04:11

I would go for default emails on, with VERY clear ways to opt out, simply because the people who most need email notifications are exactly the ones who wouldn't be able to figure out how to turn them on, and the people who would want them turned off are exactly the kind of people who can handle an unsubscribe function or adjust their preferences with no trouble.

Billy

Billy December 8th, 2012 05:38

Also just while we are tinkering with email settings: I get emailed every time there is a new discussion or proposal in one of my groups, but there seems to be nowhere to change that setting...

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype December 8th, 2012 09:03

@richardd.bartlett @alannakrause
Are you getting user feedback to this effect? To me it seems counterintuitive. If I was less technically experienced, I'd be less able to use filters and folders and other tools to keep the email flood manageable, less confident to opt-out of emails. In that case, I think unsolicited emails, particularly daily ones, would annoy me even more!

One email that gives one-click opt-ins to various email notifications, and a link to the email management panel, has got to be easier and less annoying than multiple emails with opt-out links. It has been a standard part of email etiquette since the Ark that ongoing email should be opt-in, not opt-out.

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon December 9th, 2012 00:07

@billy we're in the process of implementing that at the moment.

@strypey I think it's definitely easier for technically literate people to turn emails off than it is for non-techies to turn emails on. However, agree that it's worth having a good think about opt-in versus opt-out.

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype December 9th, 2012 10:58

@jonlemmon
"I think it's definitely easier for technically literate people to turn emails off than it is for non-techies to turn emails on."

So you keep saying. Why?

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon December 9th, 2012 22:19

@strypey Well, it's just my opinion so don't take it too seriously. We probably should conduct some user-interviews to see how users would actually behave. But my experience tells me that non-techies are scared of anything on their computer that isn't their email and will click as few links/buttons as possible. So even "click this link to start receiving emails" seems like a stretch to me.

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype December 12th, 2012 09:24

@jonlemmon
Yes, I think some newbie interviews would be the way to determine what scares them the least ;)

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype December 12th, 2012 09:34

While we're on the subject, one thing that I find mildly annoying about the current email notification set-up. When I follow a link from an email, it takes me to the relevant discussion page, so far so good. Then I login, so I can make a comment, or take a position, and it takes me to... another page.

It would be awesome if the system detected that I'd followed the link from the email (because each link has a unique security ID), and logged me in automatically. Failing that, at least redirect me back to the page I was looking at when I went to sign in? Cheers :)

BTW It's been far too long since I told you guys that Loomio is bloody wicked. I looked at what Diaspora has achieved in 3 years, with funding in the hundreds of thousands. IMHO it doesn't hold a candle to what you guys have achieved already. How did you go it? Simple, You've built your open source community right from the word go, including interested coders and end-users in the devel process right from day one. Loomio rocks!

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype started a proposal December 12th, 2012 09:39

That opinions are actively sought from non-techie users about their ideal email defaults Closed 11:43am - Sunday 16 Dec 2012

That opinions are actively sought from non-techie users about their ideal email defaults, ideally using direct interviews, definitely using methods that require no interaction with online forms or SurveryMonkey or anything like that. Maybe a really simple survey sent as a plain text email, with no more than two questions.

Results
Agree - 4
Abstain - 4
Disagree - 4
Block - 4
5 people have voted (1%)
 vivien maidaborn

vivien maidaborn
Agree
December 12th, 2012 10:11

Sounds important and in line with everything we have discussed about UI

Benjamin Knight

Benjamin Knight
Agree
December 12th, 2012 10:24

Sounds very sensible!

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett
Agree
December 12th, 2012 19:23

Yes

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon
Agree
December 12th, 2012 21:43

Sounds like a good idea. Doing very simple direct interviews seems like the best way to go. My only question is who will conduct the interviews and what questions will be asked?

Alanna Irving

Alanna Irving
Disagree
December 13th, 2012 09:02

"Opinions are sought" in the passive voice doesn't actually lead to a clear path of action - who is going to conduct these interviews? How will this be executed? Don't think this proposal should go ahead unless the details are clarified.

Benjamin Knight

Benjamin Knight December 13th, 2012 21:09

I am happy to seek some opinions, via in-person interviews (and possibly to people we know personally via email). Maybe @neva would be prepared to help me put together an interview format that made sense? Does that change your mind @alannakrause ?

Totally agree that proposal would be stronger/clearer if the path from decision----->action was specified

Benjamin Knight

Benjamin Knight December 13th, 2012 21:10

@strypey , want to add any clarification about what your thoughts are regarding implementation of your suggestion?

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype December 14th, 2012 00:46

@benjaminknight @alannakrause
What you've suggested sounds fine Ben. Another approach could be to send out a one-off email to all users newer than 2 months, with a subject title like:
"Do you have opinions about email notifications from Loomio?"
In it would be a survey with no more than 3 questions, like:
"1) Are you happy to receive email notifications from Loomio that you haven't asked for, or do you only want email notifications if you ask for them?

2) Are you happy for the Loomio techs to change your email notification preferences for you when they roll out new options, or would you rather receive an email explaining them, and asking you to opt-in?

3) What kind/ frequency of email notifications would make Loomio a more useful tool for you and your group, without becoming overwhelming."

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon December 14th, 2012 01:39

Related conversation (@neva talking about incentives for sending out the upcoming questionaire): http://www.loomio.org/discussions/1497

Danyl Strype

Danyl Strype December 16th, 2012 14:49

I'm currently getting flooded with notifications, and I'm starting to understand the appeal of the daily email ;) I like to receive an email if something needs an urgent response, like a proposal closing. For everything else, it occurs to me that the problem of handling general notifications is being shifted into people's email, where Loomio doesn't have to deal with it.

I strongly suggest reflecting on whether this is a good design strategy. What I think you need in your roadmap is plan to bring most of the notifications currently being farmed out to the email inbox back into the web UI.

Even with a good grasp of how to use folders and filters, email is a linear medium. The brilliance of Loomio (and social web in general) is precisely its ability to multi-thread. Although the group pages with their lists of active proposals, discussions, subgroups etc do this well. Unfortunately, the notification drop-down is very linear, and doesn't scale as a user gets involved in more groups, and groups get more users.

I'm not sure what the solution is. Perhaps having a notifications page, rather than drop-down? Perhaps dividing the notifications into more categories, and giving each of them a drop-down?

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett December 16th, 2012 19:58

I agree with you @strypey - this rethinking of notifications is a big part of the upcoming UI overhaul.

The email summary page was a conscious step in the direction of what we imagine the dashboard could head in: per-group updates of recent activity.

Right now the notification dropdown is trying to tell you every piece of activity that is relevant to you, using a pretty rudimentary filter (if you have participated in a discussion, you will be notified about activity in it). I'd prefer to see an Activity feed, with 100% of activity in it, a Notifications feed, which has stuff that requires my attention (people reaching out to talk to me, e.g. vote on this proposal), and a Subscription feed for anything that I opt into. How those three are arranged is beyond me at this point :)

Dare I say it, that 3-way split is what Facebook has tried (and failed miserably) to achieve!

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie December 16th, 2012 22:06

If we were to group comment notifications around discussions they would dry up a lot.
(there are usually 3 or more people generating notifications about the same discussion)

I've got a bit of list of under the hood improvements for notifications including this.

Jon Lemmon

Jon Lemmon December 17th, 2012 01:21

Heh, I agree with everything. Unsubscribe from group emails gets released today. What's the next best step after that? My thoughts are:

  • Remove "new discussion" and "new motion" notifications from the UI drop-down? (I think the dashboard already does a pretty good job of highlighting this stuff)
  • Group "new comment" notifications by discussion
Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie December 17th, 2012 04:09

Sorry Jon but I think that sounds reckless and hard to implement. We need comprehensive mockups before changing this stuff.

I think we need to work in terms of compiling a list of suggested changes and issues with the current design, then work on integrating that feedback into mockups

James McCann

James McCann December 17th, 2012 06:12

@richardd.bartlett @matthewbartlett is there a metric available for how many users are in more than one group?

Matthew Bartlett

Matthew Bartlett December 17th, 2012 20:10

@jamesmccann There will be shortly — a day or two at a guess. I'm interested in the same question.

Matthew Bartlett

Matthew Bartlett December 19th, 2012 19:55

@jamesmccann this is my feature branch for that: https://github.com/enspiral/loomio/tree/feature/user-stats

James McCann

James McCann December 19th, 2012 20:09

@matthewbartlett sweet! I think it will be an interesting statistic to measure.

I'm not sure what everyone else may know already but I would have thought there may be a potentially large portion of users in only one group (with a smallish number of subgroups)?

Matthew Bartlett

Matthew Bartlett December 19th, 2012 20:15

@jamesmccann Yes that's my hypothesis too. If true it'll probably have some impact on the dashboard design.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett December 21st, 2012 01:15

The current layout makes much more sense for multi-group users which is problematic insofar as all new users will only be in one group.

If you're in only one group the group page/dashboard page distinction must be baffling!

Matthew Bartlett

Matthew Bartlett January 10th, 2013 09:33

@jamesmccann done that now; it's part of https://github.com/enspiral/loomio/pull/445

James McCann

James McCann January 10th, 2013 09:37

Ah nice work - I've been meaning to make it along to a Friday meeting sometime, I'd be interested in the findings!