Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

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porg
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Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by porg »

When I joined the forum some days ago:
- "Notifications" in the top right of the menu showed a badge with the count, if new content was there
- Opening it showed a list of notifications
- Email notification was entirely or mostly off by the defaults

1-2 days later I changed the notification settings. Since then:
- I have not received a single email notification, also checked my spam folder. Nothing.
- No notifications in the menu and the notif-page either, although there are new replies to posts I started, see screenshot.

So far I am manually scanning for replies. A bit cumbersome.
Could you please check why notifs are not working (for me)?

LemkeSoft forum notification not working.png
LemkeSoft forum notification not working.png (708.86 KiB) Viewed 1801 times
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forum_adm
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Re: Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by forum_adm »

Did you enable the digest feature in your settings?

I get each day a digest with the new messages.
porg
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Re: Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by porg »

Thanks for the hint. A digest would be my emergency workaround. Still customized notifications per my desired channels (in-app, email) should work.

To recap:
User Control Panel > Board preferences > Edit notification options > All on, both In-Forum and Email
Nevertheless I received no notifs, neither in-app, nor in-forum
Now I think I found the solution to it:

User Control Panel > Board preferences > Edit posting defaults > Notify me upon replies by default: This is set to the default value of NO.

- I now set this to YES.
- I will now have to open all my posts which do not have this notification flag set and activate it there.

This is very counter-intuitive and against forums' best practises:
- When a user registers in a forum with her/his email and creates a new topic, the expectation is to get notified on replies automatically.
- When a user then even explicitly activates notifications for both in-app and email for all kinds of forum events/interactions and still receive no notifs. Very strange already.
- That you have to opt-in per topic: Totally bizarre. Never seen elsewhere.
- In most forums you automatically get subscribed even if you only reply to a topic which you have not started. Making that opt-in is ok, to keep the noise down. Just now that even here opt-out is the established norm meanwhile.
- But when starting a topic not to get notified by default is bizarre. This would be someone only inquiring and not being interested in an answer. Only causing workload but no gain. Almost a troll, in Internet terms.
- So please dear @forum_adm if you can change this default to YES, I very much recommend to to so, to increase user engagement with your forum.
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Re: Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by forum_adm »

I checked the phpBB docs. I found no way to enable this option by default.
porg
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Re: Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by porg »

Auto-subscription to topics one starts

1) phpPB offering no system default for this: Thanks for the info. I reported this at phpPB.

2) Email and in-app notification meanwhile works for me! I got notified about this very post here. 🙂

3) I retroactively subscribed to all the topics I started on the LemkeSoft forum.
a) Appreciating the many reactions I got from you already, even some feature implementations into the beta versions, great!
b) Now I'm much more relaxed knowing I will get notified whenever an answer arrives, be it in 3 days of 2 weeks.
c) Looking forward to those which are currently unanswered (posts by "@porg" with "replies == 0").

If these topics get a reaction, at least the crucial ones, and this gives me a realistic assessment what I can expect from GC and in what time horizon roughly, I can make my system/purchase decision. But it looks really promising! In my research I found no better Mac solution for my user needs so far.
Last edited by porg on Fri Apr 15, 2022 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
porg
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Re: Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by porg »

I want to help you, hence did some research: The default opt-in even for started topics does not support a good forum user experience and is outdated. Also others realized that and inquired: How to automatically subscribe all users to topics they create/reply to ?
This is one continual complaint I receive from my users: They never know when someone replies to a thread because by default they are not subscribed nor receive email notifications.
The thread also mentions two extensions which solve that usability problem: New user default settings & User Notification Control

Good luck, I hope it works out for the LemkeSoft forum. 😉 👍
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Re: Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by forum_adm »

Yes, but extensions may cause problems after an update of the phpBB software.
porg
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Re: Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by porg »

I did what I could: honest feedback and a way to improve it with an extension.
Just note that the extension "New User Default Settings" was first published in 2018, and has posts as recent as 2022 thanking for it.
Surely on the way during the one or other update it may have choked. But it seems to be actively supported.

It's your forum and your audience. You know what to do.
porg
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Member list sorted by number of posts

Post by porg »

Today I discovered some data on your forum, which is openly accessible for members, the member list sorted by number of posts.

It could be interpreted as supporting my theory that a bad user experience in the forum leads to less forum engagement! Such as not getting an automatic email notification to one's first created topic.

You have currently 2757 registered users:
1 has 100+ posts, @forum_adm has exactly 1270 currently
27 (~1%) have 10-99 posts
134 (~5%) have 2-9 posts
119 (~4%) have 2 posts
156 (~6%) have 1 posts
2381 (~84%) have 0 posts


Maybe this is just the normal bell curve for forum engagement. And maybe all those 156 posters with exactly 1 post are just inpolite and only asked or commented and never looked back for a reaction or never said thanks in those instances where an answer/reaction was given…

…but maybe these numbers are indicative that the forum with its current default behavior is not very well supporting community onboarding/engagement.
porg
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Re: Forum notifications: Neither by email nor in notif panel

Post by porg »

I also made my case at phpBB that they should reconsider that default behavior:
Data which supports my UX assumptions: Member list sorted by posts.
- I stated your forum's data there, but totally anonymized.
- I did not state your forum or company by name or link.
- And only stated percentual values.

I hope that phpBB realize that this is the classical case of a quick win:
- Much gain in exchange for little effort or and insignificant cost increase.
- And then you would get that feature without the need to install an extension.
- And your forum would be more customer friendly, that should very likely impact you and your biz positively, I hope!
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