When will we be able to add a group in the manage watchers list for Confluence pages

A standard use case is for a team to want to be notified on changes to a page.

Adding or removing members form the group makes more sense than adding and removing individuals from the watch list for all pages owned by the team.

2 answers

1 vote

I don't think you will see this.  The point of watching is to enable an individual to say "I want to be kept updated", not to enable it to spam some group who probably have members that really do not care.

Why not let the administrator, the customer who pays for licenses and support decide whether adding a group makes sense. Your approach just makes it harder to spam. As it is I must add all 30 people on the team as watchers. It is an unnecessary administrative overhead.

I am not talking about users adding groups, but only admins just like only admins can add users as watchers now.

I'm sorry, I was not very clear in my answer. My point is that watching is designed for the individuals - it lets a person choose what they want to watch. Most places that let people add watchers quickly find that the value disappears. I want to watch what I choose to watch. I don't want emails just because someone else thinks I ought to watch it. There's a strong argument for removing ANY ability to add watchers other than by (explicit, clear and simple) rules or being the person clicking "watch". Groups would make over-enthusiastic (And hence counterproductive) drive-by watching even worse and even more likely to be simply filtered and ignored by users.

You were perfectly clear, but I could not disagree more.  Back to the original comment, its our workflow, its a feature we want.  Confused on why this decision would ever be made for a customer.

I suspect Atlassian have looked at how people use Confluence and taken on board the common complaint that their products often send far too much email, and have simply decided to not implement something that will spam people even more.

@Nic Brough [Adaptavist]

Your statement is fine for your use and philosophy but the customer buys products for functionality they need and want. If the end customers wants a functionality, then the vendor should strongly consider adding it or the customer might find another product that does provide the functionality. 

My point is that watching is designed for the individuals - it lets a person choose what they want to watch. Most places that let people add watchers quickly find that the value disappears. I want to watch what I choose to watch. I don't want emails just because someone else thinks I ought to watch it. There's a strong argument for removing ANY ability to add watchers other than by (explicit, clear and simple) rules or being the person clicking "watch". Groups would make over-enthusiastic (And hence counterproductive) drive-by watching even worse and even more likely to be simply filtered and ignored by users.

I completely agree.  Atlassian have considered it, and found it to be a bad idea for most of the users, so they've not done it. 

I should credit part of my reasoning to one of their product managers who was the one who pointed out that drive-by watching is a dreadful thing to inflict on users and simply makes the function useless because it trains them to ignore it.

The drive by watching still happens with people adding other users as watchers too liberally. And in that sense group watchers in Confluence is a bad idea. But it's hard to solve people problems with tools. The people find ways to misuse functionality.

It is for the good use cases that group watchers would be desired. 

There are use cases for group watches, but there are stronger use-cases for not implementing it.  Atlassian have gone with the use-case of "don't allow people to bombard others with unwanted watches", as far more people want that, even many who think they want group watching. 

We like flexibility. We were fine with it as is until the VP of a major department wanted to use it. That's a good enough use case. 

I disagree with the decision.  Here's a concrete use case.  In our organization, we are trying to encourage people to organize and participate in Lunch and Learns.  We have a confluence page that lists new lunch and learn sessions.  I sent an email blast to the entire org encouraging them to watch the page.  But people are busy with the work in front of them.  Many forget to do it even if they are interested.  Also, new hires come in and they have no idea that the page even exists.  It would be nice if everybody within certain groups were opted in to watching this page.  Then individuals are free to unwatch if they don't want the notifications.  I think this is a perfectly reasonable feature.  I agree that forced watching with no way to opt out is a bad idea.  But as long as the individual has the power to opt out, I think it would be a perfectly reasonable feature.

I see where you're coming from, and that's a perfect example of a good use case, but it does not support "group watching", for all the reasons given above.

Group watching is an absolute no-no.  There is no good use-case for it as a simple flat "watch by group".  Well, ok, there is one - "A VP wants to annoy their employees for zero benefits and actively discourage them from ever listening to us again".  But even then, you're off the hook, as you can point at the VP and say "they're silly".

You say it yourself - "I agree that forced watching with no way to opt out is a bad idea."  That's exactly what group watching would do.  You can't opt out of a group, and even if you could remove yourself from a group, you might not be able to because it's giving you access to other stuff.

What I would do to meet your use-case though -

1) Let a group be added, but when it is committed, flatten it, adding all users in the group as individuals.  Then they can individually un-watch.  You also need to record (but not directly use) the group so you can implement 2 and 3

2) A bit more code somewhere - when new user added to group, look up where the group was added as watchers, and add the new user as an individual

3) As 2, but for removals.  Although I'm not sure I'd bother - most people would remove their watches when it is mailing them but has become irrelevant to them, which is going to be the case in most group removals.

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