Email Notification Pain Points Edited

Davin Studer Community Champion Apr 04, 2017

While I am trying to be optimistic that this platform will become as useful as Answers was, currently the email notification aspect is a real pain point. Here are the issues that I see with how it is currently working.

  • With Answers one could watch a topic and get notified when a new question of that topic was created, but would not get additional notifications on that question until it was watched ... either via manually watching it or by responding to the question. Currenlty, I am getting notified on every answer regarding the Confluence topic, whether I wanted to watch the question or not ... simply because I said I want to be notified on Confluence Question/Discussions/Articles. You are going to lose people in this as the noise is going to become too great to filter through. The way you had it in Answers was ideal. This is just going to become a huge mess.
  • Currenlty all notificationshave the same subject line, which means I cannot quickly scan the list of unread emails. Instead I have to open and read each one. Again, this has gone from a quick task to a laborious one. Keep in mind that the people that answer questions do so of their own accord with nothing gained but the satisfaction of helping others. You should be working to make this as pain free as possible for those answering questions or you are going to lose participation.
  • I don't seem to be getting any emails for comments made to a question ... only answers. Again, how can one expect to stay enagaged in a discussion if one does not know that the discussion is ongoing?
  • Getting duplicate emails for questions/discussions/articles and answers/comments.

I love your products, which is why I have devoted some of my own time to helping others, but if these kinds of issues are not resolved super quickly you are going to find that your platform is going to seriously suffer and it would be a shame to see that happen. Don't shoot yourselves in the foot ... it makes it super hard to get to the doctor.

11 comments

I'm not getting any emails from the community areas at all, as far as I can make out (Private messages are ok), despite having watches.

I was (mostly) happy with the emails from the previous Answers site, pretty much for the reasons Davin says.

Hmm, sorry to hear that, Nic. What are your watches set to / what content are you not getting?

Can't speak for Nic, but my experience is exactly the same, i.e. other than Davin I have not received a single email from this site today, despite a) posting questions, answers and comments, b) receiving answers and comments on those, and c) watching discussions, questions and articles in several collections such as Bamboo and Questions for Confluence, all of which have already received a question today.

Right now, the only solution is to proactively check the site and content of interest to even have a chance of realizing a response, obviously a no go scenario going forward.

Accordingly, I'm really glad to hear that your response seems to indicate this to be unexpected, though I'm admittedly fairly puzzled that issues like those discussed here are even possible with a supposedly dedicated community platform from a third party vendor ...

I am getting absolutely no email at all from community.atlassian.com.  I do get emails from the developer community

My watches are set for JIRA, Confluence, Adaptavist and several other things.

I'm in the same boat as Steffen - deafening silence in terms of email

Thanks Davin. I think we know we need to improve the email notifications and make them more granular and more useful. Your point about the subject lines is a good one. 

I'm not sure I'm following your first bullet though -- is it that you only want to follow a subset of Confluence topics, or only the ones you explicitly ask to follow? If the latter, you can turn off watching the collection and just watch what you want. But maybe it's the former?

Davin Studer Community Champion Apr 04, 2017

So, for bullet point one the issue is that I have set that I want to be notified for questions/discussion/articles for the Confluence product. That way I get notified when a new question is posted. Hoever, I am also getting notified of every answer that is posted as well ... without watching the question, or commenting on it. On the Answers site you could specify that you wanted to be notified of new questions, but you would not get notification of answers until you either commented on the question or specifically said that you wanted to watch that question.

In this manner you could be notified of questions, but not have to commit to seeing every answer to every question until you joined the discussion. That is not possible right now and it is going to be overload.

Got it -- I understand the distinction and why that would quickly get overwhelming.

What I would probably suggest for now is bookmarking the "recent content" view of the collection and then watching the questions you're interested in individually. This is obviously not ideal but maybe preferable to the firehose of info you are getting now. 

For the long-term, we will continue to explore other options and refinements.

I also have a problem with the email notification. The problem is, I don't get any notification at all. Nothing.

Even when I am asking a question (e.g. https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Mod-Chat-questions/No-emails-yet/qaq-p/459668) I don't get an email from Community platform when there is an answer.  

Same here, absolute silence.  The mail server I'm using is showing nothing incoming even before the spam filters.  Developer mail is arriving fine.

Email notifications are working just fine over here. Could it be that you have some sort of email setting in your Atlassian account that is interfering? 

This is on the top of our bug list right now. I wonder if this is affecting new members or only those who were participants on Answers? 

Nic and I were both participants on Answers.

I've just posted a related question about RSS and/or notification mails here: https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Questions/How-to-watch-the-new-Atlassian-Community-site-via-an-RSS-feed-or/qaq-p/460195

(Honestly, I'm a little confused about where and how to post these...)

Hi Aron - Post suggestions/questions/bugs related to the community in the Feedback Forum.

Or just give your post the feedback-forum tag. 

I'll add the tag to your RSS question now.

Davin Studer Community Champion Apr 07, 2017

I'm also getting duplicate emails for questions/discussions/articles and comments.

Sam Hall Community Champion Apr 07, 2017

I get what seem to be duplicates too, but I think it is due to people making edits to their posts.

Currently there is nothing in the notification emails which shows the difference.

Hopefully that is something that will be improved soon.

Ah, good observation. I'll file a bug report for this.

Davin Studer Community Champion Apr 28, 2017

I'm not so sure that is it. I see emails that say "... edited a question" or "... edited a answer" (which has a typo by the way ... should be an). So there are emails specifically for editing, but I am still getting duplicate emails that say "... posted a new question" or "... posted a new discussion".

Davin Studer Community Champion Apr 28, 2017

I have noticed that you recetnly removed the [Atlassian Community] tag from the email subject as well. Those tags are super handy for automated rule processing on emails. Please consider putting it back. Honestly the email notification setup is the biggest pain point sinc you've gon live with this. In my opinion this should have been addressed LONG before going live. I used to answer questions on a regular basis, but since your new launch I have found myself not doing that as much because you have exponentially increased the amount of work it takes for me to do so.

Sam Hall Community Champion Apr 28, 2017

Related to this, there's another discussion in the feedback forum where it was suggested to remove the [Atlassian Community] tag, which I'm guessing might be one of the contributing factors to the change.

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Feedback-Forum-discussions/Community-Email-Notification-Subject-Line-Length/td-p/461279

Not that this helps you much Davin, but might explain the thinking/arguments behind removing.

Probably, and if they actually put the post title into the email subject I could see that being helpful. Honestly, I can work around it. It's used in all their other communcations, however, so it seems odd to me to except only this one. Really, the thing that could give some true value would be to put the post title into the email subject and put the post info(or a snippet ... anything) into the email body.

The thinking was you can still set up your rule based on the send address of "community-do-not-reply@em.atlassian.com" rather than the text in the subject line.  

We are trying to address the rest of the pain points as well, including it not working at all for some people. Definitely a main source of frustration in general.

A follow-up question here as we want to begin working on improvements to email. What, ideally would you like to see in the subject line? Is it the title of the post, vs. the collection?

Sam Hall Community Champion May 09, 2017

For me it would be the title of the question/discussion. So, for example, all notifications relating to this one would have 'Re: Email Notification Pain Points' as the subject.

Then the body of the email should have the text of the comment/reply/anwswer.

Maarten Cautreels Community Champion May 09, 2017

Yeah the collection/type of post is not really that important. The title and the content is definetely the most important!

Thanks! I will work on this. 

Davin Studer Community Champion May 09, 2017

I agree. Title would be most helpful for the email subject and maybe the content or a snippet of the content in the email body.

I'm with you on this one.

I'd still like to see something my scripts can get an easy handle on in the headers and a hint of what it is, but the subject being the title and the body containing part/all of what has been said is definitely the best option.

  The emails I've started getting today are better than the samples I saw from other people, in that they all have a sender that is clear, and a subject that scans well ( [type] Title of conversation), so I'd just say the body needs a bit more.

Something has changed probably since this post, as i see Atlassian Community again. But i don't like that the subject is based on the first lines of the reply. I want to see the Topic (it is a subject field after all), not some random text in the subject. It is easier to follow.

Davin Studer Community Champion May 30, 2017

While I see steps being made to remedy point 2 in this discussion point 1 is still a huge issue, and in my opinion one of the hugest issues with regards to notifications. With the Answers site I was watching a limited numebr of topics and I would get maybe around 20-50 emails a day about questions being posted regarding those topics. I would only get folow up emails on those questions if I responded to that question in some way or manually watched it. So, as far as comments or answers on those question I would only get a handful. Right now, I get about the same number of emails for questions asked, but I get about another 50-100 emails just for edits, answers, and comments. This is not manageable for your volunteer base. This is not our main job. I should not have any follow up emails to a question/discussion/article unless I respond to it it or manually watch it. I can tell you that since going with this new system the  amount of work to simply sift through the emails had increased tremendously and you are seriously doing a disservice to the people who champion your products and answer questions out of their free time.

Davin, we definitey want to be mindful of your time. Have you found the new email notification controls to be helpful at all? We were hoping they would help mitigate this. If not, how could they be more helpful?

I do have on my list to let you choose whether to get notified or not about edits.  Any other improvements you (or anyone) might suggest?

I was not aware of new notification controls. I've set it to only notify my upon new posts with the "Automatically watch anything I participate in" checkbox checked. I think that is almost exectly what I was looking for. That has dropped the noise considerably. Thank you.

Oh, excellent! That was going to be my suggestion to you as well.  Very glad that was helpful.

Maarten Cautreels Community Champion Aug 25, 2017

I just received a notification (9:13 am CEST) about a comment from @Monique van den Berg which was posted on Wednesday (see here)

Notifications seem delayed from time to time as this is not the first time I've noticed. 

@Maarten Cautreels thanks for the heads up -- I created an issue in our public JIRA here so anyone can add follow-up information as needed.

I went to a question I asked, which had an answer, posted a few days ago. I accepted the answer as having solved my question, and instantly I got an email from Atlassian. The first line of the email: "There's 1 new accepted answer to a question you are watching"

 

This is of course not quite true, the answer is not new, it's more something like "An answer was accepted on a question you are watching". 
However more importantly, I was aware of this, because I just clicked that button myself. I think its great that there is a notification when an answer gets accepted on a question you are watching, but in my mind a check should first run whether I am the asker of the question and therefore accepted the answer myself.

Thanks for reading :)

Kevan Lin Atlassian Team Sep 05, 2017

Thanks @Basil Achermann for your observation! Yeah, that's not an ideal experience. I've filed a ticket with our internal JIRA project so that we can investigate that a bit further. 

That's great to hear, thank you :)

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