Chernobyl
 supporter, 133 posts
 Area of desolate waste,
 Mutation Central.
Sun 21 Jul 2019
at 00:38
Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
I love getting email updates for the games I play in, but sometimes they have an OOC thread which just ends up being pure drivel.

Can we add a feature to flag threads as unimportant to stop them showing red or getting email reminders?

TIA!

This message was last updated by a moderator, as it was the wrong forum, at 04:48, Sun 21 July.

horus
 member, 819 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sun 21 Jul 2019
at 06:24
Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
In reply to Chernobyl (msg # 1):

Hmm...

I don't want to get personal here, but if OOC chat (or any thread, for that matter) is becoming bothersome to a GM, certainly there are things that GM could and should do about it?

We take on a set of responsibilities as GMs, not least of which is an obligation to read every word posted in our games.  Anything else would lay one open for a possible infraction against the RPoL terms of service, yes?

This suggestion would seem to me to run counter to a principle responsibility of any RPoL GM.
LonePaladin
 member, 836 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Sun 21 Jul 2019
at 06:36
Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
Chernobyl's talking about a game he's playing in, not running.
horus
 member, 821 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sun 21 Jul 2019
at 06:47
Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
In reply to LonePaladin (msg # 3):

Huh.  Missed that, I did.  Thanks.  I see it on a re-read.

I'm still not sure about the usefulness of that feature, though.  Ignore threads in a game at one's own peril.  What starts out as the purest drek can suddenly turn interesting, and missing that left turn at Albuquerque can cause one to have to swerve wildly to get back in the groove, so to speak.

Seems to me like a lot of coding for a feature that could introduce problems to a game.
Dream Sequence
 member, 44 posts
Sun 21 Jul 2019
at 14:47
Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
There's a long ways between ignoring a thread, though, and just declining to be notified by email about new posts.
jase
 admin, 3645 posts
 Cogito, ergo procuro.
 Carpe stultus!
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 09:44
Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
In reply to Dream Sequence (msg # 5):

That's my take on it too, plus if people want to ignore a thread they'll find a way!

So I'm not adverse to the idea however it changes the email process from a very simple routine to something that's far more complex.

Currently it looks at your sticky list and sees if any games with new messages are newer than the last time you were notified.  With this change we'd have to delve into each game, check which threads you can see, which ones you've ignored and then calculate a latest notification from that.

We'd change the number of database queries per user from 1 to 1 + (#games you follow x 2).

There are 1,742 people on the email notification list with a total of 11,411 games we've got to check into.

So the routine changes from 1,742 database queries to 22,823.  There's ways I could optimise it I'm sure (if the user doesn't have any ignored threads then I can just do the old way for them or if the user doesn't have any ignored threads for a particular game) but the potential increase in queries is worrisome.

That's not a no but it's going to take some careful planning.  On the user interface side I've got to figure out where/how to put the option to ignore thread plus if and how to remind people they've ignored a particular thread.

Probably a bit too much thinking out loud but there it is.  I'll put it on the feature request list but I predict it'll get bumped down the list a fair bit.
Azyur3
 member, 14 posts
 DnD 4e Apologist
 -5 GMT // USA
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 13:26
Re: Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
jase:
We'd change the number of database queries per user from 1 to 1 + (#games you follow x 2).

There are 1,742 people on the email notification list with a total of 11,411 games we've got to check into.

So the routine changes from 1,742 database queries to 22,823.  There's ways I could optimise it I'm sure (if the user doesn't have any ignored threads then I can just do the old way for them or if the user doesn't have any ignored threads for a particular game) but the potential increase in queries is worrisome.


As someone who has been lurking in the thread wondering why this isn't already a feature, this totally flipped it for me. Thanks for being so transparent on why it would be a harder ask for the team! It's always appreciated when people like you "think out loud" about particular technical processes relating to the site. :)
Skald
 moderator, 855 posts
 Whatever it is,
 I'm against it
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 13:45
Re: Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
Also thinking out loud on how to possibly minimise those pesky queries ...

jase, if this is linked to the in game reminders (per "looks at your sticky list and sees if any games with new messages are newer than the last time you were notified")...

Would it help if the ignore thread flag stopped that thread from triggering a new message indicator on the sticky list/main screen as well ?  That way the sticky list would only have new messages for non-ignored threads, so you could continue to rely on just the sticky list indicators without going into the game.

I figure that if you don't want an email reminder for a particular thread, you're going to be equally disappointed to be logged in, see a new message indicator and click through into the game only to discover its for that thread you weren't interested in.

Or would that just cause a lot more problems for setting new message indicators ?  IE makes things worse not better ?

Personally wouldn't use the feature, so I'm a +0 vote, but a firm -1 if adding it did slow things down for all users.
Imladir
 member, 5 posts
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 13:53
Re: Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
You can change the way it's done: don't check every 15 minutes if a user must be warned now. Instead, when something is posted, set a notification flag for users who can see the thread and do not ignore it.
When you check if you need to send a mail, check if the user's notification list is empty and if it's not send that.

That way everything isn't done all at once, but shared among processes who already do quite a bit (message post, thread access), sometimes even related to that.
evileeyore
 member, 196 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 13:54
Re: Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
jase:
Probably a bit too much thinking out loud but there it is.  I'll put it on the feature request list but I predict it'll get bumped down the list a fair bit.

Would it be easier on you (and the database) to go in the opposite way and have users subscribe to threads individually?  Then just pull the Subscribed List each day and post those updates?
Azyur3
 member, 15 posts
 DnD 4e Apologist
 -5 GMT // USA
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 13:58
Re: Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
That's a good point- a variable opt-in system I guess wouldn't be so bad? I'm not a database guy, so I can't speak to how that would be complexity-wise with how the site's email system already operates, but having users opt in to either sticky-list emails, or individual thread emails, wouldn't be awfully convoluted for the user experience.
jase
 admin, 3646 posts
 Cogito, ergo procuro.
 Carpe stultus!
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 15:02
Re: Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
I could probably trim it down and optimise it but even if a user doesn't have any threads on their ignore list I've got to at least check the ignore list for them... so at least double the checks.  Due to the groups within the games RPoL isn't like traditional forums where if you have access to a forum then you have access to the messages, we alas can't make that assumption (and those who have been around for long enough will remember the new message indicator (NMI) issues we had when we did!).


I can see issues if ignoring a thread did it for the main menu as well as email notifications.  I think that's probably too much and will end up causing confusion.  I think it'd simplify things to be the same as they currently are (except for when a thread is updated as then I've got to do more checks for NMIs).


Imladir:
You can change the way it's done: don't check every 15 minutes if a user must be warned now. Instead, when something is posted, set a notification flag for users who can see the thread and do not ignore it.
When you check if you need to send a mail, check if the user's notification list is empty and if it's not send that.

Absolutely.. kinda.  The system is a little more complicated than it may seem.  Because it works off your sticky list it knows if you've read a message on the website between email notifications and will only notify you about what you haven't already read (as well as what it hasn't already notified you about).

The way you're describing is a good idea and roughly how I fixed the NMI issue all those years ago.  It could be done the way you're describing but I'd have to be checking and clearing the email notification list as people read threads in games (as well as if threads are deleted or the last message in a thread is removed), otherwise they'll get email notifications about threads they've already read.  Whether that overhead (and level of complexity/pain) is less than the email notification check is something that'd have to be investigated.  Certainly worth checking..


Changing it to opt-in seems a bit counter-intuitive and would actually make it worse as I'd have to check every subscribe list for every game for every user, so the full 22,823 queries no matter what.
Utsukushi
 member, 1478 posts
 I should really stay out
 of this, I know...but...
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 22:28
Re: Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
Skald:
I figure that if you don't want an email reminder for a particular thread, you're going to be equally disappointed to be logged in, see a new message indicator and click through into the game only to discover its for that thread you weren't interested in.

I don't think that follows.  Honestly I probably wouldn't use this anyway - email clutter bugs me, and a bunch of emails that just say "Someone posted!" is definitely clutter.  But given that an email notification these days, for most people, also means a phone notification, that means you get a ping wherever you are, whatever you're doing, whenever it is, and that's kind of the point.  I see a very big gap between the threshold where I would say, "I want to invite RPoL to reach out into my life and tap me on the shoulder for this," and where I would say, "I don't care about this at all, I never want to see it unless I get lost."

There are only a couple of things I might consider getting email notifiers for if it were simple enough, but there's nothing I wouldn't want to know about when I actually have time to log in and look.

...Actually, I don't know if this is straying or not, but it occurs to me that indeed, these days with our crazy colored hair and our newfangled gadgets and whatever we're calling "music" now, the point to an email notification is that it pings your phone, and having it go through your email, where you actually have to delete the message, adds an awkward extra step.  With the conversion to mobile-friendly, do you suppose we'll ever reach the point where I could just get a Notification directly from RPoL to my phone that's only that?  The kind of thing I can glance at and just swipe off the screen?  I suppose that's probably getting more into app territory, isn't it?
Chernobyl
 supporter, 134 posts
 Area of desolate waste,
 Mutation Central.
Tue 23 Jul 2019
at 23:30
Re: Suggestion - stop email reminders for specific game threads
Thanks for taking this under consideration :)