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Messaging system update

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

This morning, Monday June 12th, 2017, I pushed an update to the messaging system and various supporting files to add few features as requested.

1 - Notifications:
The system now sends notifications of new messages. In the 'My Account' page, I changed the old 'feedback form preferences' functionality with Messaging preferences.
If you click the link you'll have 5 options.
1 - Never
2 - Weekly Notification (default)
3 - Daily notification
4 - Send copies of received messages
5 - Send copies of received and sent messages.

If you choose 4 or 5 the messages themselves will be your notification.

So, two requested features rolled into one. Message copying and pending messages notification.

2 - Message Deletion: You can now delete messages in your inbox.

Zom

Thanks Lazeez. That addresses my antediluvian habits.

Vlad_Inhaler

I notice that some authors much prefer the new system but others were more than happy with emails and are making their email addresses "public" to encourage the "traditional" response.
Would it be possible to add a setting so that authors can determine how they want their feedback (email or on-site message) or would that be too complicated? I suspect the latter.

Lumpy

@Vlad_Inhaler

I'm hoping that is an option at some point, I'd like to just get emails.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks

@Lumpy

@Vlad_Inhaler
I'm hoping that is an option at some point, I'd like to just get emails.


Ditto. But These changes do help. Lazeez is listening, and that is what matters most.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Vlad_Inhaler

Would it be possible to add a setting so that authors can determine how they want their feedback (email or on-site message) or would that be too complicated? I suspect the latter.


Big part of this change is the privacy of both authors and readers. Having a switch at the disposal of the author that can simply circumvent such protection negates the whole system.

I can tell you now without hesitation that emails containing full addresses like before will never happen. The most that's going to be is what I deployed today. You'll get copies, but you can't reply using your email client.

REP

We are all creatures of habit and do not like change. We are used to receiving feedback by email and that is the way we want things to continue.

Lazeez had reasons for changing the old feedback system to the new system, although he hasn't shared all of those reasons with us. Lazeez would not have spent all the time and effort that he did, if the old system wasn't creating a problem for the site. Why are so many of us asking Lazeez to add features to the new system that will allow us to continue using the old system, which was causing a problem?

Give the new system a chance and you will adapt to it. Once you adapt, it may work better for you. For example, why did we need the notification feature Lazeez added. We all seem to log in everyday. All we need to do when the Home screen appears is to glance at the message/icon to tell if we have messages. Do we really have to respond to our readers the moment they send us a message? Why is our responding time critical?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
John Demille

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Having a switch at the disposal of the author that can simply circumvent such protection negates the whole system.


Maybe it's my nagging to lazeez that helped push him to implement this. I hated how many authors put me on their mailing lists as soon as I sent them a 'thank you, good work' message.

Michael Loucks

@John Demille

aybe it's my nagging to lazeez that helped push him to implement this. I hated how many authors put me on their mailing lists as soon as I sent them a 'thank you, good work' message.


And that is totally inappropriate behavior on the part of the author. :-(

Ernest Bywater

@John Demille

Maybe it's my nagging to lazeez that helped push him to implement this. I hated how many authors put me on their mailing lists as soon as I sent them a 'thank you, good work' message.


could be, however, I suspect it's much deeper than that.

BTW, you'd be surprised how many reader mailing lists I ended up on after replying to them direct and they had my email. However, I never bothered complaining about it. I just delete the jokes and the offers to joing anti-social media sites.

shinerdrinker

First of all, I love the new messaging system. It works well for me and I like it.

I do have one request. Can you add the delete function to Archive portion. Some of the messages I put it there were not the ones I wanted to put in there so I'd like to be able erase them.

Other than that, it works great for me.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

We are all creatures of habit and do not like change. We are used to receiving feedback by email and that is the way we want things to continue.

Excuse me, but there are more benefits lost than just 'not being comfortable with change'. As I stated earlier, the new system clearly benefits readers and SOL, but is less beneficial to authors.

For those who don't maintain a history of all their email, then they likely won't care. For those who do maintain such a history, we lose that ability, as well as the added features (html features and off-line messaging for extended conversations).

However, the new email alerts negate many of those lost features.

REP
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


For those who do maintain such a history, we lose that ability


As I said earlier, we will just have to put in a bit more effort to retain that ability by manually archiving the messages, if we want to keep them forever.

Think of all those thousands of SOL emails you have archived CW. For many of them, the titles are so similar that it is hard to distinguish one from another. You are probably so overwhelmed by the mass of feedback messages you received in the past years that you would be unable to retrieve anything meaningful from them.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

As I stated earlier, the new system clearly benefits readers and SOL, but is less beneficial to authors.


Readers never asked for changes to the feedback system and never ever complained about the feedback system the way it was set up. Authors did. I heard from a lot of authors on how awful the system was and how much of a conduit for abuse it was. Many authors complained privately to me and publicly in their blogs and everywhere they could be heard

Yes, readers do benefit from this in only one strict way and that's their privacy is assured. That's it. Nothing else benefits readers. And this benefit is shared by authors too.

All the other potential benefits are for authors. The largest of which is control over trolls, the main reason behind this change.

Capt. Zapp

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

The largest of which is control over trolls, the main reason behind this change.


I dealt with trolls by turning off anonymous feedback. Most trolls don't want anyone to know who they are and that would not allow them to hide. If I still got something via regular email, I would add the address to the junk filter. I could still see it in my junk folder if I cared to look at it, but why bother?

As for whether turning off anonymous feedback prevented 'shy' readers from sending feedback or not, I don't know. I didn't notice any drop-of.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Stolen
Michael Loucks

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

All the other potential benefits are for authors. The largest of which is control over trolls, the main reason behind this change.


While I don't dispute this, I've never run into a troll. I get hundreds of messages about AWLL, but none of them have ever been abusive. And, honestly, the old system allowed for more convenient extended conversations, which happened quite often. I've taken to including my email address and asking correspondents to use it if they want a longer conversation.

In other words, I can work with the system, even if it isn''t optimal for me.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

The largest of which is control over trolls, the main reason behind this change.


Which is the reason I asked for a "block user" option so that an author can block a specific user.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Lazeez, do what you think is best. You'll never please everyone.

When you changed the forum from emails to it's current form I was annoyed. I liked doing it through email. But it's better this way. Much better.

I don't save email feedback. I don't save email addresses. So it doesn't affect me. When you first announced the new messaging system I asked for email notification because I thought I'd miss messages since I don't go to the SOL home page often. But I've learned to go there to check for messages. No big deal. The positive side effect of having to go to the SOL site is my stories won't get archived to Premier until 5 years after I die.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Think of all those thousands of SOL emails you have archived CW. For many of them, the titles are so similar that it is hard to distinguish one from another. You are probably so overwhelmed by the mass of feedback messages you received in the past years that you would be unable to retrieve anything meaningful from them.

Not really, since the old SOL emails all contain the specific chapter and username (at least in the replies). Once you isolate the specific date of the chapter, you can figure out which response you want.

However, they key is retaining old emails. That doesn't mean copying them all to text, but instead backing up your online email (which typically doesn't ALLOW backups). Instead, you need to open your email program, select "copy files to disk" from each email folder and then backing THOSE up.

Typically, I simply copy the backups to my new email folder, which then recopies them to my mail system. (Complicated, I know), but PC's are notoriously bad about allowing you access to your email internal data.

Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

All the other potential benefits are for authors. The largest of which is control over trolls, the main reason behind this change.

Interesting. Thanks for the info. Since I've never really gotten much troll emailing (I've gotten much more score-bombing), I hadn't noticed this, though on other sites, it's MUCH more common (as the spambots capture your email address and inundate your email with spam, forcing you to abandon one email address after another). Still, I hadn't seen that happening on SOL, while I HAVE seen it on other sites (including my own, where WordPress doesn't have any way to block such actions).

Still, I'm satisfied with the new workaround, as sending me the original emails and their replies allows me to keep the messages indefinitely (as well as capturing the positive reviews for stories).

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I asked for email notification because I thought I'd miss messages since I don't go to the SOL home page often. But I've learned to go there to check for messages. No big deal. The positive side effect of having to go to the SOL site is my stories won't get archived to Premier until 5 years after I die.

In my case, even though I typically visit the site every single day, I rarely open the main window, instead going directly to the "Story Update" and "Author stats" pages for each site. Thus I kept finding responses to stories several days after they were first posted. But the newest changes address that shortfall.

Replies:   docholladay
Crumbly Writer

Dumb question maybe, but how the hell does someone message a reader (i.e. someone without a specific message link?). I wanted to respond to something someone asked privately, but I can't figure out how to do it. I seem to recall Lazeez mentioning that it's possible, but I don't see any implementation yet.

I also assumed that clicking on the person's name in the forum might do it, but not every post's author has a corresponding link (and they generally bounce you back to the original message, rather than to the author).

Switch Blayde

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

OK, I clicked on Crumbly's name on this forum and it took me to his SOL stories page. I then clicked on "email" and sent him an email. It said "message sent."

Did I send an email or a new SOL type message?

Ernest Bywater

@Capt. Zapp

I dealt with trolls by turning off anonymous feedback.


I have five trolls who don't mind me knowing their email, since the gmail account name doesn't identify who they are. I also have one troll who uses their real name - they seriously object to all present tense stories and constantly send me abusive emails when I post a new story that uses either first person or present tense.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Ernest Bywater

@Michael Loucks

the old system allowed for more convenient extended conversations, which happened quite often.


you can always provide you own email address in the reply to them.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I thought I'd miss messages since I don't go to the SOL home page often.


I very rarely see the 'Home' page, but I check the 'My Library' page with my 'Favourite Authors' several times a day to see if they've put up a new story or blog etc. The 'Mail' link and its notifications are on that the same as the 'SoL Home' page, so I see them there.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

but how the hell does someone message a reader (i.e. someone without a specific message link?).


If they sent you a message through the new system you simply go to the message in the new system, open the message (or any message by them), and click on the 'Reply' button. If you deleted the message from them instead of archiving it, it may be a bit hard to deal with.

If you archived the message then you go to the archive page to find the message. Top left bar of the message system has the links - Home (SoL Homepage) - In Box (your inbox) Sent (your sent messages) - Archive (the messages you archived) - - click on link and view list, click on message to read and reply

If they sent a message under the old system their email address is usually in the email headers and the reply button works.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Did I send an email or a new SOL type message?


I'm pretty sure it's the new message system, but I just sent you a test message that way, so You should have the answer in seconds, if not already.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

I just sent you a test message that way


The new messaging system.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

The new messaging system.


ayep, and i got an email alert there was a message when you replied. So now everyone who reads this thread knows how it works.

awnlee jawking

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Unless I'm very much mistaken, the new mail system automatically manages pen names. Clever!

AJ

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Switch Blayde

Did I send an email or a new SOL type message?


There is no more email. I just kept the link names the same to help with the transition.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

I wanted to respond to something someone asked privately, but I can't figure out how to do it.


For now, the new messaging system isn't integrated with the forum. So you can't initiate contact with a reader because there is no anchor point to start from.

However, if they asked you something through the system, you can reply through the system starting with the message they sent.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

It went thru the new messaging system, and through that, to my OLD email system (i.e. both systems are working fine). I was just slow in responding, given all my blog posts today.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

If they sent a message under the old system their email address is usually in the email headers and the reply button works.

But didn't Lazeez say (somewhere) that the new system enabled reader-to-reader exchanges (I'm guessing, private conversations triggered by story comments). That's what I was trying to activate, in order to send a private message to follow up on something I didn't want to say publicly on the Forum.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

There is no more email. I just kept the link names the same to help with the transition.

I'm pretty sure that's what we were all assuming. Switch was just trying to confirm (since I hadn't responded yet).

Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

For now, the new messaging system isn't integrated with the forum. So you can't initiate contact with a reader because there is no anchor point to start from.

That's fine. As I said, I recalled you saying something about reader-to-reader messages, but it may have been a planned future expansion (or my hearing the voices inside my head, instead of those in your messaging system).

Either way, I can survive without the functionality at the moment. I thought I was simply missing something.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

in order to send a private message to follow up on something I didn't want to say publicly on the Forum.


Ahh - the SoL story servers and the Forum servers use different code for most of it, so there's likely to be a disconnect between the two systems. To do what you want, simply ask the reader who posted the froum message to send you a personal email through the 'Contact Author' mail system - you can do that with a forum post.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Ahh - the SoL story servers and the Forum servers use different code for most of it, so there's likely to be a disconnect between the two systems. To do what you want, simply ask the reader who posted the froum message to send you a personal email through the 'Contact Author' mail system - you can do that with a forum post.

I trust he can accomplish that, but Lazeez corrected the situation, so now there really is no need. As I said, I really didn't want to make the offer publicly on the forum, so tried the new system, but it's not enabled yet (if it's ever scheduled to be).

I was mistaken in believing it was already enabled. I'm so used to his magic that I expect Lazeez to be everywhere, all the time, sprinkling his magic fairy dust on all the servers. He's spoiled us with his rapid responses.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Lazeez to be everywhere, all the time, sprinkling his magic fairy dust on all the servers.


Lazeez has had to slow down because his magic wand burnt out from over use.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Lazeez has had to slow down because his magic wand burnt out from over use.

It's no wonder he's slowed down. He's too busy sprinkling his magic fairy dust with his magic wand. Those fairies must be walking bowlegged by now!

And that's when you know a forum thread has finally finished, when the stupid puns and internal jokes take over.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

And that's when you know a forum thread has finally finished, when the stupid puns and internal jokes take over.


nah, the thread is dead when the jokes cease to be funny.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

nah, the thread is dead when the jokes cease to be funny.

If that was the case, they'd never start in the first place!

We may be struggling authors, but punsters we ain't!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

We may be struggling authors, but punsters we ain't!


speak for yourself, I'm a well known pernicious purveyor of puny poor puerile puns.

docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

In my case, even though I typically visit the site every single day, I rarely open the main window, instead going directly to the "Story Update" and "Author stats" pages for each site. Thus I kept finding responses to stories several days after they were first posted. But the newest changes address that shortfall.


I hate to bust the bubble. But the "Mail" button is available on both the Updates page and the "New" page on SOL. Its the same setup on all the sites. The "Mail" label/icon is between "Sign out" and "Webmaster". At least for me that is how it shows. You don't have to go to the home page unless you really want to.

Capt. Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

...constantly send me abusive emails when I post a new story that uses either first person or present tense.


Which is where the second part of my comment comes in - Tag the person as JUNK in your email app. Viola, no more abusive emails.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Capt. Zapp


Which is where the second part of my comment comes in - Tag the person as JUNK in your email app. Viola, no more abusive emails.


That only

edit with full post mostly eaten by Gremlins.

That only only works if the email is from their email address, but when they send it from the SoL system it comes with the SoL address. Thus tagging their personal email as junk didn't stop the emails they send via SoL - but the new system will.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

That only

Did you tag the rest of your comment as "JUNK"?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Did you tag the rest of your comment as "JUNK"?


no, but the Gremlins have been busy of late. I'll edit it with the full post.

Capt. Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

Thus tagging their personal email as junk didn't stop the emails they send via SoL - but the new system will.


Curious. My email app showed
From: reader

but included

Message from: reader name@isp.com

By setting the filter to look for the name@isp.com the message would be found and marked as junk or just deleted.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Capt. Zapp

The email headers have the sender as: Storiesonline Feedback < feedback @ storiesonline.net > - while the 'Reply to' address has the reader's email address.

Most email clients simply add the 'Sender' address to the block list when you hit the 'Add to junk' list button. To have it work off the 'Reply to' address takes more work to create a rule than I wish to do. It's easier for me to simply hit the delete key when I see those emails. With the new system I can easily report them to Lazeez and he can take some action about it. Thus the new system solves the issue for me.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Ernest Bywater

Yeah with the new system, there should be no doubts as to which user sent the message.

Its like everything else here. It has its good sides and its bad sides.

beatingoffbob

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Am I correct in interpreting "There is no more email" as meaning I can no longer use my SOL email address as a working utility? I use that for my correspondence with other publishers when I send formal DMCA takedown letters to manage plagiarism complaints. It has always lent some 'professionalism' to such correspondence.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@beatingoffbob

as meaning I can no longer use my SOL email address as a working utility?


No, don't worry. The email addresses that I provided are not going away. You will be able to use that email address for as long as SOL exists and gmail hosts that service.

My statement only meant that the site won't sent feedback as a regular email message anymore.

samuelmichaels

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Thank you!

BarBar

Lazeez, Something you might think about is the ability to delete messages in the archive. At the moment there is no such function.

Cheers
barbar

Replies:   shinerdrinker
shinerdrinker

@BarBar

I asked about the same thing early on when Laz first informed us of the new messaging system. But other than that, I think the new system is running very well.

-- Shinerdrinker

LOAnnie

I as an author like the new system a lot!

Perhaps in the future besides the ability to delete archived messages, or move them back to the inbox, we can have a way to download selected contents of the archive, or organize the archive the way we wanted to.

shinerdrinker

@LOAnnie

Yep... been wondering the same thing. I actually like the idea of being able to move them back and then we can delete them or just keep them there.

Ernest Bywater

@LOAnnie

organize the archive the way we wanted to.


Lazeez has said he intends to include a tagging system to help sort the messages. He's also said he'll look at including a delete option, mind you, he's already said they'll get deleted after a year, anyway.

As to moving them back to the InBox - all you need to do is be very sure before you move it from the InBox to the Archives in the first place. I've got five read message still in the InBox so i can go through them for further action later.

With the change of the reply window to have a 'Send & Archive' button as well as a 'Send' button that's a lot easier to manage. 'Send' leaves it in the InBox while the 'Send & Archive' moves it to the Archive at the same time - thus saving you time to do that.

wowleavell

You changed the message system. I got an email that said I had a message on Ansol. I can even find it! I hate this!
Judy Leavell

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@wowleavell

tap the envelope in the navigation bar to go to the mail.

Stolen

@Capt. Zapp

I am new here. My username or Nickname is Stolen. I want to mention that this site's messaging system is like an email system. That, and this forum, are both messaging systems. This site has a lot of features. Both readers and authors benefit, but authors and persons who pay money for a premier membership should be allowed more benefits of course. As for trolls, I thought the internet can be used by anyone who wants to be anonymous or not. I am showing who I am right now with this message, but I don't have to do that while I have a computer device. I can just look at whatever I want and troll or surf or whatever. Those are supposed to be options to any person who knows how to use a computer device.

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