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Forum: Story Discussion and Feedback

Discussion on the story discussion system

Ernest Bywater

Since the new system for the author contact commenced I've responded to 248 messages on it, of those 19 have not yet been read by the recipient. They messaged me and I replied. Some go back to the first weeks of the new system, too. Considering how much that yellow box with the red text stands out, I wonder how they can miss knowing they have a return message.

Do you other authors have similar issues with people not reading your replies?

Are you readers aware you get replies?

PS - If you check your Sent message list they show in bold until they're read by the recipient, the same as yours show in bold until read.

docholladay

@Ernest Bywater

Are you readers aware you get replies?


I don't receive many messages, but I try and check the notification icon at least once a day sometimes more often. It seems to be a common courtesy thing to me, since some might need a reply.

Replies:   robberhands
Joe Long

@Ernest Bywater

I wonder how they can miss knowing they have a return message.


1 Perhaps they haven't logged in since you replied
2 Despite what you think, they might not understand how it works. Took me quite awhile to explain to my wife about how Facebook was telling her she had unread messages.

docholladay

@Joe Long

Took me quite awhile to explain to my wife about how Facebook was telling her she had unread messages.


Now that could have been very interesting. I would guess you did it carefully.

Ernest Bywater

@Joe Long

In some cases I know they've logged in since I replied, because I replied to later messages from them as well. I strongly suspect a lot of people don't know how the system works or don't know they can get a reply through it. The purpose of this thread was to raise the level of awareness of the system and the fact the yellow around the Mail link means they have a message to be read.

I can understand people taking a week or two or four before they check the messages, but the ones that are two months old or older are another issue.

BTW All but four of unread message are more than a month old, with most being 2 months old, and four are from the last 24 hours.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel

@Ernest Bywater

In some cases I know they've logged in since I replied, because I replied to later messages from them as well. I strongly suspect a lot of people don't know how the system works or don't know they can get a reply through it. The purpose of this thread was to raise the level of awareness of the system and the fact the yellow around the Mail link means they have a message to be read.


Hmmm, it seems to me there is another explanation for this possible:
At least with my browser (Opera, don't know for others), I can log-in, get to multible stories – all in separate tabs – start to read one and send you a mail concerning this story. As long as I don't log-out, close and restart Opera, or restart Windows, the tabs I created for your stories are not updated! So I can't see I got mail.
My system is quite stable and I run it 24/7. So if I come back to read your story on the next tab, I may send you another mail concerning the second story without realising there is an answer from you for my first mail.

I've not tested this but I know the reverse happend to me.
After a restart of Opera every tab showed I had mail. I read the mail and then changed to another tab which still showed I had mail. Instead of reloading every tab I restarted Opera again so it updated all SOL tabs.

HM.

Ernest Bywater

@helmut_meukel

At least with my browser (Opera, don't know for others), I can log-in, get to multible stories – all in separate tabs – start to read one and send you a mail concerning this story.


In both Chrome and Firefox on Zorin Linux, Windows 7, and Android, the moment I open a new SoL story or change chapters or refresh the page the Mail link goes yellow if it has an unread mail message. The only times it doesn't update is when the page doesn't have the link on it ( a few don't) or the page isn't loaded or refreshed after the mail arrives at the centre.

Thus, the moment you log on or visit any SoL page except an author story list page, or an author blog page, or a forum page the mail link is there and visible to you. If you have no unread mail when you log on the moment you visit another of the general or story pages after you have an unread mail the link changes status and you can see it.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

If you check your Sent message list they show in bold until they're read by the recipient, the same as yours show in bold until read.


I just had to go and check. Somehow I managed to get a database error. The error screen said that the webmaster knows about it.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

I just had to go and check. Somehow I managed to get a database error. The error screen said that the webmaster knows about it.


This happens for a few minutes twice a day when the system updates the database. Wait a moment then check again.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

A resend got me back to the home page. Then when I clicked on Mail again, it went kablooey again. Is SOL caching the crashing? ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
helmut_meukel

@Ernest Bywater

the moment I open a new SoL story or change chapters or refresh the page the Mail link goes yellow if it has an unread mail message.


That's exactly the problem. If I had opened five or more of your stories in different tabs, going to the next tab (the next story) does nothing new. No refresh, no new chapter, no new story to open! After returning from lunch still no change, because my browser does not refresh links automatically. So I can read your next short story without interaction between my browser and SOL. I do this quite often, e.g. I had 12 short stories by Ka Hmnd opened simultaneously in 12 tabs.

HM.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@helmut_meukel

If I had opened five or more of your stories in different tabs, going to the next tab (the next story) does nothing new.


True,and any pages opened prior to getting a new unread message won't change it either. But sooner or later you'll be going to a new page and it will show. I just can't see someone not opening a new page or refreshing a page sometime during the month. Hell, I keep 4 SoL pages open all the time, but I still refresh them a few times each day to find what's new. I especially have an issue with the ones who send me a new message when they haven't yet read my last reply. If they don't want to read the replies, why ask me questions?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

A resend got me back to the home page. Then when I clicked on Mail again, it went kablooey again. Is SOL caching the crashing? ;)


The back-up takes a few minutes, and I got the message during that time as well, a little later it was good to go after I hit F5 - mind you, most browsers will put the database message in the local cache and a simple refresh may call it from the local cache, while and F5 will download from the site.

robberhands

@docholladay

I try and check the notification icon at least once a day sometimes more often.

I also receive a message from SoL on the email account I registered whenever I have new unread emails.

docholladay

@robberhands

I also receive a message from SoL on the email account I registered whenever I have new unread emails.


Same here, but since usually I have already read and if I think its needed replied to the message. I tend to ignore it.

REP

Prior to my retirement, I was involved in evaluating equipment and displays for Human Factors Engineering compliance.

One of the things I looked at was placement and color-coding of critical information on a display screen or operator's console. When a person looks at a display screen, initially they look at the center third of the screen. Then, they look left/right or up/down depending on what is present that attracts their attention. The outer edges and corners of the screen are rarely looked at; unless you know there is something of interest there that needs to be checked.

An SOL user has to train themselves to look at the upper right corner to see if there is any mail. If they don't know the Mail link is there, they won't check it. Once they consciously look, the red lettering stands out, but it isn't noticeable if you don't look. The only thing that would help would be if the lettering where to flash on and off when they have unread mail. Of course a pop-up message in the center of the screen when you access the Home page would definitely grab your attention.

I have sent about 150 messages to readers, and there are about 6 unread messages. All but 1 of those messages is to the same reader.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP

An SOL user has to train themselves to look at the upper right corner to see if there is any mail. If they don't know the Mail link is there, they won't check it.


I find the bright yellow box with read text extremely demanding of my attention despite the location on the large 28 inch 4K monitor size.

oyster50

Looks like 90% of my replies are read.

I check in daily to see new messages and I reply to quite a few of them.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
sejintenej

Looking at the Home Page (as KI do at least daily) "Mail" shows up in heavy type if there is an unread incoming message - my fault if I don't read it.

I then checked outward mail and there are two messages to the me person which remain unread. He has email - no blog and could be six feet under. If he is disinterested that is his concern; both referred to the same story - one showed typos and the other praise.

awnlee jawking

@oyster50

All my replies have been read, even those I was expecting to provoke further conversation. Considering the hallowed company, I'm not sure that's a good thing ;)

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Considering the hallowed company, I'm not sure that's a good thing ;)

Hallowed or not, if they critique your story they can't expect to get the last word.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Do you other authors have similar issues with people not reading your replies?

Not having the rest of the messages here yet, two immediate thoughts:

Most of these were from when the new messaging system was first introduced, so the posters were probably all waiting for an email to arrive in their mail. Secondly, many seem to post, wait a day or two before they assume the authors have no intention of responding. So it's vital (at least in the early days of the messaging system) to respond quickly, so readers notice your response.

Crumbly Writer

@helmut_meukel

Hmmm, it seems to me there is another explanation for this possible:
At least with my browser (Opera, don't know for others), I can log-in, get to multible stories – all in separate tabs – start to read one and send you a mail concerning this story. As long as I don't log-out, close and restart Opera, or restart Windows, the tabs I created for your stories are not updated! So I can't see I got mail.

I do the same thing. I keep several windows I check frequently permanently open, like my current story stats page, the "Series Updates" Page, and of course the Forum page. However I don't typically check the SOL home page, and I check the other home pages (FS and Sci-Fi) even less.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

True,and any pages opened prior to getting a new unread message won't change it either. But sooner or later you'll be going to a new page and it will show. I just can't see someone not opening a new page or refreshing a page sometime during the month.

Unless of course, they lived in Houston, or Florida, or Puerto Rico or Northern California or any of the OTHER places experiencing 'once a century' disasters this year.

Though, given what happens when you go out of an open-air concert nowadays, I'm thinking more of us should stay home a read a new book, instead of going out into the new unsettling world. It seems fantasy worlds are much safer than the real one.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I also receive a message from SoL on the email account I registered whenever I have new unread emails.

That's an individual account setting, but it has to be activated. It's NOT on by default, so few benefit from the service.

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