Walt Bilofsky

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      90 comments  ·  Wishlist » Forums  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

      We now have another need for this feature.

      Up until now, our administrative group could communicate with our club just by sending an email to our (non-WA) mailing list. But that is becoming unusable due to more stringent email validation practices.

      Trying to get them to use the WA email system will be difficult. It is a multi-step process. The UI, particularly the text editing, is quirky. They don't need all the formatting - they just want to send an email.

      If we could subscribe all our members to a forum, we could give our administrative group access to the forum page. This would give them a much simpler UI for just sending out a message.

      No one will actually read this forum - it will just be a vehicle for sending emails to our club.

      Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

      In addition to default subscriptions, the admin should also be able to specify default notification frequency. As is, everything defaults to daily which is not always the best choice.

      The Forum gadget should have settings for the default notification frequency (immediate, daily, weekly) for subscriptions to (a) the forum and (b) individual posts.

      The Member profile will need four : immediate, daily, weekly and default. It would initially always be "default", so that changing the forum default would change any subscribed member unless they had selected something else.

      I mentioned this in the Wishlist thread https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8825587-listserv-i-e-ability-to-submit-forum-posts-by-ema . But these two are related and the design for one should accommodate the other.

      Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

      Since this feature is going to be part of the implementation of listserv functionality,* the admin should be able to set protection for subscription to a particular forum the same as for common contact fields: admin access only vs. contact can change.

      In other words, the admin should be able to set whether the user can subscribe or unsubscribe to the forum.

      * - See http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8825587-ability-to-submit-forum-posts-by-email-to-use-fo?tracking_code=bc5e20d637891a00e0fffa8bc0a597b0 .

      Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

      As we discussed in this thread, forums could be used to provide most of the functionality of a listserv : http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8825587-ability-to-submit-forum-posts-by-email-to-use-fo .

      But that will require this feature to have the full benefit; otherwise the lists will only be opt-in which is ineffective for most situations.

      Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
      Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

      [quote user="OlegN"]

      We have finished design and want to share progress with you. We have redesigned email settings and extended subscription options for event announcements and email blasts as well. See details in presentation below.

      https://docs.google.com/a/wildapricot.com/presentation/d/1bj4iE_bnw_mhLM2u5KMoH6WTCh4n0oPZkDXdB2folt4/present#slide=id.p

      [/quote]

      The slideshow is a private Google doc. Please make public.

      [quote user="OlegN"]

      We are planning to
      * - Add new Email Settings page, which will allow administrators to:
      * Setup default forum subscriptions for new contacts
      * Bulk subscribe existing contacts to forums
      * - Extend Email settings page in Contact details to allow subscribing to forum topics
      * - (most likely) Add similar subscription settings for subscription sources

      [/quote]

      This will be helpful.

    • 142 votes
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        76 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        This has just become urgent for our club. Aol.com has set their DMARC policy to p=reject. That means we can no longer use our traditional email list server - we are now stuck with WA.

        PLEASE, PLEASE make this simple change, which I recommended some time back:

        1: If the Reply-to address (the actual sender) is from our WA-hosted domain, then it matches the SPF record. So in this case, you can use it as the "From."

        2: If not, keep the Organization contact as the From, but put the actual sender in the name of the From, like this:

        From: "Jane Doe <eventleader@gmail.com> via:" <info@hosteddomain.org>

        Then the From can be the hosted domain but it will be clear to the recipient that it is really from Jane Doe.

        And they won't be surprised when they reply and it goes directly to
        ""Jane Doe <eventleader@gmail.com>."

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        I am the organization contact so am wasting a bunch of my time handling and forwarding a slew of member replies that ought to automatically go to our membership chair.

        We only have 150 members. I can only imagine what a pain in the neck this must be for really large organizations.

        And this feature should really be part of this wishlist item: https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8936389-allow-admin-to-define-multiple-sender-emails-and-u

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        If I'm understanding this correctly, the Routing of system emails setting sends copies of outgoing system emails to the selected recipients.

        But the request is to be able to set the reply-to address on membership emails so that member replies go to this membership admin email address.

        Please reopen this - or better yet, add it to this thread: https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8936389-allow-admin-to-define-multiple-sender-emails-and-u .

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        May I suggest that this feature request be expanded to include customizing the reply-to address in each email context?

        A number of us have brought this up in this discussion. And it's all about the same thing - letting us identify the person in club management that the member is communicating with.

        There are several reply-to requests on the wishlist. They all ought to be part of this one.

        https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8827438-customizable-reply-to-field-for-membership-email
        https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8827081-custom-from-reply-to-address-for-invoice-payment-e
        https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/10282863-membership-emails-to-go-to-membership-admin

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        Apologies for chiming in again, but it's been over a year since I last piped up on this.

        Not having this feature degrades the way our club presents itself to our members. Always using the organization contact takes communications that could look personal - i.e., from an individual - and makes them impersonal.

        This seems like a very simple fix (see my suggestion below). No database change, no UI change, just change how the From field reads based on the Reply-to field.

        WA spends a lot of effort on improving our email communication with members through workflow and templates. This could give us a significant improvement with not much effort.

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        Apologies for this redundant post. It was submitted via Feedback, which I was told would go directly to the development group, but that wasn't the case.

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        Folks -

        I posted this in the thread https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8936389-allow-admin-to-define-multiple-sender-emails-and-u but am

        Savvy Apricot suggested that I also submit it here through Feedback.

        What people are asking is for the From address on emails to be the actual sender (e-blast sender, event organizer, etc.) rather than always the Organization contact. This is really important for several reasons I won't repeat here, but read the thread.

        You already have the actual sender as the Reply-to in most cases. It should be the From as well. This is what people expect when receiving an email.

        Dmitriy said that the Reply-to can't be used as the From because the From has to match the SPF record.

        Here's my simple two-part solution.

        First part: If the Reply-to address (the actual sender) is from our WA-hosted domain, then it matches the SPF record. So in this case, also use it as the "From."

        Second part: If not, keep the Organization contact as the From, but put the actual sender in the name of the From, like this:

        From: "Jane Doe <eventleader@gmail.com> via:" <info@hosteddomain.org>

        Then the From can be the hosted domain but it will be pretty clear to the recipient that it is really from Jane Doe.

        And they won't be surprised when they reply and it goes directly to
        ""Jane Doe <eventleader@gmail.com>."

        This should be really easy to implement.

        What do you think?

        Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        Here's a two-part solution for this problem with very little implementation effort.

        An Apricot explained to me that the From field of the email can't be the Reply-To because From needs to be from our domain in order to pass spam checks. If "From" is a gmail.com address but sent by our website, it will look like spam.

        But it would be legal for WA to use the Reply-to as the From in the cases where the email address is from our own domain hosted at WA. For example, we have a contact login "newsletters@tyc.org" that is used to send our weekly e-blast. tyc.org is our domain, so it could be used as the actual "From" address.

        In cases where the Reply-To is not from our domain, include the Reply-To address in the name of the "From" email address.

        For example: Instead of

        From: My Organization Name <orgcontact@myclub.org>

        say

        From: "Jane Doe <eventleader@gmail.com> via:" <orgcontact@myclub.org>

        It will be pretty clear to the recipient that it is really from Jane Doe.

        And they won't be surprised when they replay and it goes directly to "Jane Doe <eventleader@gmail.com>."

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        My apologies for another comment on this, and for the critical tone. But as I use WA and stumble over ways it presents our club poorly, I feel the need to reemphasize the need for a quick, simple partial fix on this issue.

        We are already allowed to specify a Reply-to contact for many if not most emails. Why not just use that for "From" as well?

        It is just plain wrong for WA to send event emails and e-blasts "From" the organization-wide From email address when the "Reply-to" is the event organizer or blast sender. These fields should be the same, as they are on almost every email on the Internet except those sent under WA.

        How big a fix would this be? Isn't this something that can be slipped into the next release without waiting for larger email solutions?

        If you don't want to change overall behavior, then give us a checkbox in Dashboard / Organization to opt for this.

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        We are about to do our first dues renewal under WA and I am so not looking forward to having to forward each individual reply to the membership committee.

        Even in cases where another email is allowed (e-blasts, event email), it's always the reply-to email (if I understand correctly). This is lame.

        The way an organization presents itself to members is very important. By limiting our choice of from and reply-to addresses, WA is not letting us fulfill that function adequately.

        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

        +1.

        From Email and Contact Email fields should be specifiable for every WA-generated type of email, including membership notifications.

        The email recipient should feel they are getting the email from a role-specific person. It's hard to get people to open emails. Every bit of personalization helps.

        The webmaster should not be loaded down with the job of handling and routing all replies.

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          0 comments  ·  Wishlist » Polls / Surveys  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
          Walt Bilofsky shared this idea  · 
        • 6 votes
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            1 comment  ·  Wishlist » Polls / Surveys  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
            Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

            Showing members the current tally is a great way to get them to participate and to engage them in the questions being asked.

            I was all excited about publishing a poll to get discussion started on choices for club activities, but without this feature it is so much less useful.

            Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
          • 7 votes
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              0 comments  ·  Wishlist » Polls / Surveys  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
              Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
            • 6 votes
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                0 comments  ·  Wishlist » Polls / Surveys  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
              • 154 votes
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                  54 comments  ·  Wishlist » Members  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                  We dealt with this by using a dummy email address for the other members. For example, if fred@aol.com is the primary, then his email-less wife Jane could be fred+j@aol.com, and similarly for the kids. WA accepts this address.

                  Jane can log in, and can register for events, but of course can't get email.

                  I don't know if this would work, but possibly Jane and the kids could all have their secondary email address set to the family address. Their registration emails would bounce from the dummy address but go through to the family address.

                  Does this help?

                • 11 votes
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                    3 comments  ·  Wishlist » Usability  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                    Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                    For repeated (multi-session) events, WA allows sending event reminder emails either before the first session or before every session.

                    This option should be offered for event announcement emails as well.

                    There can be events with multiple sessions where people could attend any of them, not necessarily all or none, and announcements should be available for each session.

                    Until repeated events are implemented, multi-session events are the only way to schedule weekly or monthly repeated events, short of typing each of them individually. This shortcoming of WA should not prevent announcements for this type of event.

                    This feature would also be useful for scheduling repeated emails not linked to an event, by creating a dummy admin-only event.

                    Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                  • 115 votes
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                      25 comments  ·  Wishlist » Mobile  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                      Hi everybody!
                      The Android app for members is of big interest (top in hot ideas on our Wishlist since the iOS app was released!) so probably you’d like to know a little more details on how a development is
                      going. Well, we decided to give you small updates on it. Here is the first one.
                      We started from the beginning and created a login screen. In addition, we’ve done a “choosing an association” functionality if your members can log into more than one. It’s quite empty inside right now, but we have a nice side navigation menu for future sections already.
                      Our next step will be a personal profile screen.

                      Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                      :)

                      Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                      Michael, apparently it is on hold awaiting acceptance of the iOS app. See comment "Android app is something we will definitely build if we see good stats on current app." in this thread: https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8826631

                      So admins are waiting to roll out the app until Android is developed, which won't happen unless the app is rolled out and used.

                      Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                    • 19 votes
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                        6 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                        Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                      • 7 votes
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                          2 comments  ·  Wishlist  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                          Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                          Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                          There is a membership field type Multiple Choice with Extra Charge. If it accepted negative dollar amounts, it could be used for this.

                          More generally, I suggest all extra charge fields, including event registration forms, allow negative dollar amounts so that discounts can be specified.

                        • 4 votes
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                            1 comment  ·  Wishlist » Website / Content  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                            Walt Bilofsky shared this idea  · 
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                              0 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                              Walt Bilofsky shared this idea  · 
                            • 102 votes
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                                70 comments  ·  Wishlist » Finances  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                              • 426 votes
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                                  203 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                                  Sorry for the late update.

                                  The first step was finished and emails can now be carbon copied to contact’s alternative emails. To do so the contact fields which store the alternative emails must be explicitly marked on the email setting page.

                                  Unsubscribing will unsubscribe all alternative emails simultaneously because they all belong to the very same account. The person clicking “unsubscribe” is warned about this on the unsubscribe page.

                                  For now we paused the development of this feature. but not for good. :) So I’m changing this wish status back to “collecting comments”.

                                  Thank you everyone for a valuable feedback.

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  Thanks for the initial implementation of this in release 5.16: https://help.wildapricot.com/display/DOC/Release+5.16

                                  But this won't help us merge our husband-wife memberships. Having two emails is the only reason we use bundles for those, and that creates other problems.

                                  This feature won't help because typically the two people have different email preferences. If they can't individually reduce their email stream from us, members will either read fewer of our emails or else unsubscribe.

                                  For those who need invoices copied to a financial contact, it would be helpful for that contact not to have to wade through event announcements and email blasts.

                                  So I hope you'll work on the ability to set preferences for each secondary email.

                                  And how are you handling unsubscribe in this release? This should be in the documentation.

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  If you're not going to allow the members to set separate preferences for primary and secondary emails, then at least do not let one email addressee unsubscribe the entire account.

                                  If a secondary email unsubscribes, it should remove "Automatically send copies to secondary emails." It should not unsubscribe the primary email. The unsubscriber(s) should be warned that all secondary emails will unsubscribe from all types of emails, not just the type they are unsubscribing from.

                                  If the primary email unsubscribes, and there are secondary email(s), they should be told that the secondary email(s) will also be unsubscribed and asked to confirm.

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  Thanks for the redesign, which has a lot in it. It gives us some good tools, and there are obviously complicated implementation issues constraining what you are able to offer. I see one small and one serious problem.

                                  1. Can secondary emails can receive a type of email and the primary member not receive them? It's important to allow this. An executive might want to receive newsletters but only have his assistant receive event workflow.

                                  2. The serious problem is the Unsubscribe link unsubscribing all emails on the account.

                                  Member communication is critical to an organization. Unsubscribe handling must be accurate and not lead to undesired results. As designed, one email recipient can unsubscribe everyone on the account, cutting off all our email communication with the membership. An unsubscribing member is likely to be irritated and in a hurry, so may not take the time to read and understand what they are doing.

                                  Here's what I suggest;

                                  Currently clicking Unsubscribe brings up:

                                  member@org.com - please confirm: do you want to unsubscribe from email blasts?*
                                  [Submit] [Cancel]

                                  (* - or whatever type of email)

                                  Ideally the Unsubscribe link would only unsubscribe that addressee, not other addresses. Let's try to come as close to that as we can.

                                  The Unsubscribe link should not automatically unsubscribe all email addresses connected to an account.

                                  If the clicker is the primary address, or is the only secondary address on the account, then no problem, just unsubscribe their one address. This assumes you have taken my suggestion #1 above; if not, then you have to tell them that the secondary will also be unsubscribed unless they make it the primary, and give them some choices.

                                  If they are one of several secondary addresses on the account, then their Unsubscribe link would give:

                                  secondary1@org.com - WARNING: secondary.2@org.com shares your email preferences. So it is also subscribed to receive email blasts.
                                  Do you want to unsubscribe all these addresses from email blasts? [Yes] [No] [Explain]

                                  No or Explain gives:

                                  All the email addresses on your account, except for the login email primary@org.com, share the same email preferences. To only unsubscribe secondary1@org.com, you must remove it from your account completely.
                                  [Edit your profile to make that change] [Go back to unsubscribe all addresses] [Cancel]

                                  Finally, every email address that is unsubscribed should get a confirming email telling them how to resubscribe.

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  Most of our members are couples (two person bundle). If the Bundle member doesn't want emails, we don't want to force the Bundle administrator to opt out too.

                                  So in order to make use of this feature, we will have to have two fields - one with the Bundle member's email address for our directory and the other that can optionally be filled in with the Bundle member's email for them to opt into emails.

                                  We could set this up initially by exporting all the Bundle members who have opted in to emails, and then importing their emails into the new Secondary Email field. (First it would be necessary to switch roles in those memberships where the Bundle administrator opts out but the Bundle member opts in.)

                                  Initially I filled out the survey (the comment field isn't working) that this wouldn't work for us. But I think this way we can make use of it. (And I'm glad of that because I always agitate for partial solutions soon rather than perfection eventually.)

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  Thanks! One secondary email address would satisfy our club's needs.

                                  Please provide user profile settings for each email address to separately opt in or out to:

                                  Workflow emails
                                  Event announcements
                                  Email blasts
                                  Subscriptions

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  It looks like only the primary member (what WA calls the Bundle Administrator) can renew a membership.

                                  So we have the touchy duty of telling our members (mostly couples) to please renew, but we only consider the husband (usually) qualified to do it. The wives might well find this offensive.

                                  I hope I'm misunderstanding this. But if not, could you please provide an option for all bundle members to renew?

                                  Or even better, implement the suggestion https://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8825614-allow-secondary-alternate-emails-for-members so we can get rid of bundles entirely in our organization.

                                  Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  Katya, yes, my club needs the ability to turn emails on and off for each of the two email addresses, independently.

                                  But my suggested design gives even more control than that.

                                  And since it is an extension of an existing setting, it will be familiar to users.

                                  In our case, we need to create a second member just to have the additional email address. If you implement my design, we could export the existing preferences for the second member, tweak the spreadsheet, and import the preferences back as the preferences for the second email address.

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  Your design says this is intended to cover cases where two people, such as spouses, share a single membership.

                                  That's our situation. However, in many of our memberships the primary member doesn't want to receive emails, and the secondary member does. Regardless of who gets emails, we want both the primary and secondary members' email addresses in our directory.

                                  This design does not allow for that.

                                  Here is my suggested addition to your proposed design:

                                  Currently each member has the following email preferences on their profile's email settings tab:

                                  Workflow emails
                                  Event announcements
                                  Email blasts

                                  I suggest that you add a fourth one - Subscriptions.

                                  Then provide two columns of check boxes, one for the preferences for the primary email address (login) and one for the secondary email address. The secondary address itself would be a system field.

                                  This separates the question of who is the login email from who gets which emails.

                                  It also gives the member better control over email flow. For example, an executive may want to receive announcements and e-blasts, but want workflow emails to go only to his or her assistant. My proposal allows that control.

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  @Keith: I like that design. Then we could each name the field(s) appropriately for our organization. For us it would be "Spouse or partner's email," but for another organization it could be "Assistant's email".

                                  If adding a field type is a problem for WA, a less flexible way to accommodate more than one alternate email address would be to permit a secondary email address field like "tom@aol.com,dick@gmail.com,harry@yahoo.com".

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  Ah, but that's not the only reason. We want the spouse's email in the directory for other members to see and email to her. We want it in the database when we export it to create our printed member directory.

                                  Of course we could make a separate field for it. But then when the spouse email changes, the member would have to update it in two places, and they would probably not know to do it, or not bother.

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  Evgeny, if I'm understanding this design correctly, it lacks one point of flexibility.

                                  For our couples members, we need a field for the primary member's email and another for the spouse or partner's email. The spouse doesn't always want to receive copies of emails.

                                  Under this design, the spouse's email would have to be entered twice, once under "Spouse's email" and then again as this alternate email (if the spouse wanted to receive emails). This is a complication for the member maintaining their own profile.

                                  Can you enable the secondary email field for all contacts (or all members), but then put a checkbox in the member's profile so each member can decide whether the secondary email address will receive copies of emails?

                                  This would still not address John Schroeder's issue below, which our club also has, where both people in a couple need their own email preferences and identification. For that, they would both have to be contacts in a bundle membership. Not all memberships would need to be treated that way, although that would create a complication for the admin.

                                  This proposal would also not address the need for more than two emails for a membership. But it's a good start. Our club hopes it can be implemented soon.

                                  Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                  We are coming up against a number of limitations in WA in doing our first membership renewal. This is one of them.

                                  We want to send out a renewal email listing all the contact information for both the member and spouse/partner, so they can update any changes. WA can not insert the bundle member's information into an email sent to the bundle administrator. It's silly to send out two emails, each with one spouse's information.

                                  The fix is to have one login for the membership, with both the member and spouse/partner's information. And we can do that - except that we need to keep the partner's separate account because of that email address.

                                  Please accommodate this situation in WA soon.

                                • 9 votes
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                                    9 comments  ·  Wishlist » Finances  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                    Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                    We find the invoices a mixed blessing. The nag popup for events and renewals is useful. We can print out a registration list to use at the door to see who still needs to pay.

                                    But we don't do our bookkeeping in WA, so it would be helpful to be able to just void out all invoices in an event, or better yet, have them automatically void themselves after the event.

                                    And please, please - an option to never email an invoice to a member. It's just noise to them, and the more useless emails they get, the less likely they are to read the ones we want them to.

                                    This goes for both events and membership renewal, although I think there's a way to avoid the email in membership.

                                    Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                                  • 22 votes
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                                      0 comments  ·  Wishlist » Members  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                      Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                                    • 208 votes
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                                        141 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        Searching on "listserv" will bring up this much-discussed feature.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        The Wishlist is set up for customers to give you input on specific missing features.

                                        What we lack is a support forum more suited to exchanging tips with each other and with your support staff about ways we have found to use WA and work around issues and problems.

                                        We've discussed this before, and I maintain it will cost you less staff time in the long run to have their answers visible to multiple customers instead of just the one who asks, and for users to be able to help each other and reduce the load on your support.

                                        Lacking that forum, I'll do what I can here to free you up for managing improvements. :)

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        Thanks for your response.

                                        We talk a lot on the wishlist about what WA doesn't have, and the things we need to work around, but overall it is a tremendous asset for us. Since switching, we've been able to advertise events, get registrations, have options for online and at-the-door payment, and look so much more professional than our old website with less effort, even though we are a volunteer organization. Our members are more engaged and our membership records more complete.

                                        I also appreciate your plan to implement top wishlist items this year, and the features you have already added. I particularly like your workaround for color coding events; it has made our calendar more attractive and useful.

                                        As a programmer since 55 years ago, I've always looked for the most results from the least effort. You at WA have a more meticulous and thorough process and look for complete solutions. This serves you well, and it's necessary in implementing large systems with hundreds or thousands of different users. I understand that it takes time and resources.

                                        I'm just hoping to persuade you that my fast and cheap approach will be beneficial for this particular feature. :)

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        This feature has the 9th highest vote total of the suggestions not already being worked on. It can be largely addressed with modest development resources. I know you don’t like partial solutions, but please don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

                                        With apologies for mostly repeating myself, here’s a design that can make this better, in two or three steps:

                                        Phase 1:

                                        1. Include full text of posts in Immediate forum notification emails.
                                        2. Include a link marked "To reply to this post ..." that goes to the post.
                                        3. Tighten the subject line to feature the topic subject and remove unnecessary words.
                                        4. When a user posts, automatically subscribe them to that topic with frequency Immediate.
                                        5. Default topic subscriptions to Immediate instead of Daily.

                                        This will provide a lot of the functionality of listservs. It’s a big improvement for relatively little effort. It requires no UI changes or additional mechanism inside WA. It shouldn’t require much testing since it only affects the content of the email notifications and one subscription setting.

                                        Phase 2: Provide some functionality for admins to mass subscribe members to a forum. For example, add a “Subscribe to forum(s)” function to search results. Or add forum subscriptions to member record export and import. No need to include mass unsubscribe; members get an unsubscribe link in notification emails.

                                        Then later, or instead, implement "Managing email subscriptions to forum updates": http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8826331-managing-email-subscriptions-to-forum-updates-941 . The design is already there and just needs a little tweaking.

                                        This will get almost all listserv functionality. The only difference is having to click a link to reply instead of replying by email, and there are advantages to having it that way: keeping the chatter down and reducing the email load on the servers.

                                        I hate to beat on you guys. I know there are a lot more needs than resources. But doing at least Phase 1 gets you a lot of customer satisfaction for relatively small effort. I’m trying to get an online discussion going in our club, and the existing forums put up barriers that don’t have to be there.

                                        Thanks for your consideration.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        You say above:

                                        "The biggest challenge is how to enable this without overloading our servers with email traffic. This can ramp up quickly."

                                        There are two ways you can reduce this load:

                                        1) Require the user to click a link in the email and go to the forum in order to reply, rather than allowing them to just reply to the email.

                                        2) If you do allow reply via email, let the admin optionally set the forum so that email replies go to just the sender of that email, rather than to the whole forum.

                                        I've mentioned both of these before, but want to highlight that they will help solve the server load problem.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        Those needing this as a critical function may be interested in our interim workaround. Our old website used GNU Mailman. When we switched over to WA, we didn't want to lose that functionality and have people complain that the new site was worse than the old one.

                                        So we still use the Mailman listserv. My co-webmaster implemented a nightly API task which keeps the mailing list synchronized with our member list in WA.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        Another important detail (if it hasn't already been mentioned):

                                        The Forum gadget needs to have settings for the default notification (immediate, daily, weekly) for subscriptions to (a) the forum and (b) individual posts. Currently the default is "daily" but for a good discussion listserv or forum it should default to immediate.

                                        Note that a thorough implementation of this would actually have four notification settings in the Member profile: immediate, daily, weekly and default. So changing the forum default would change any subscribed member unless they had selected something else.

                                        Reviewing the latest design (1/14/16):

                                        I don't see the ability to specify whether replies go to (a) everyone and post on the forum, or (b) only the author of the post, and not be posted on the forum. As mentioned below, if you don't provide this then you have not provided listserv functionality.

                                        You don't say that the subject line of the email notifications will be improved as Oleg and I discussed last year, down this thread. This is also important to get the users to pay attention to the emails.

                                        I again note that if you implement everything in your design except the ability to respond by email, you will have 90% of the benefit of this feature with maybe 25% of the work. The message recipient will still have an easy way to respond using the link in the email. So if that can make this happen faster, I urge you to do it that way first and add email response (if it is needed) later.

                                        Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        Evgeny, I just noticed a serious design issue in your October 5 comment below.

                                        Kim had emphasized the need to allow for email replies to go to (a) the full forum, or (b) only the individual posting.

                                        You replied "The design we created works simpler: email reply posts a comment (or event a new topic) into a forum and then each participant is notified according to their notification preferences on the forum."

                                        So you only allow (a) - reply to the full forum.

                                        This would not meet your goal to provide listserv functionality, which almost always includes this admin setting. It would create a problem in having effective group communication with forums.

                                        As Kim said, "Almost always I choose (b) as the default to avoid the slew of reply-all's that just say "Thanks!" or "I agree." or similarly trivial messages that just annoy the majority and cause people to unsubscribe because of too many emails."

                                        Please revisit your design and allow the admin to specify option (a) or (b) for each forum. All this requires is for the reply-to address on the notification emails to be set to the forum reply address for (a) or the email address of the poster for (b).

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        Good catch, Kim. Yes, very important. Choice (a) is for a discussion list. Choice (b) is for an announcement list. Both are needed.

                                        Just to clarify choice (b): In this case the listserv sends an email with Reply-to the sender, but From is still the email address of the list. So Reply will go only to the sender. If someone consciously wants to reply to the whole list, they must use Reply All, which will go to the sender, any cc's (from a forum there won't be any) and the entire list.

                                        In this Reply All case, the listserv needs to look at the other addressees on the email (for a forum, only the sender of the previous post) and not send them a duplicate email, even if they are on the list.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        As I see it, there are three pieces to this (restating what I posted earlier):

                                        1. Include full text of posts in Immediate forum notification emails. Include a link marked "To reply to this post ..." Tighten the subject line.

                                        This should be simple and should be fast-tracked.

                                        2. Implement "Managing email subscriptions to forum updates": http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8826331-managing-email-subscriptions-to-forum-updates-941 . This is already designed and should be prioritized.

                                        At this point, you would already have full listserv functionality except for the requirement to click a link to reply (not a huge problem IMO, and will help keep the email traffic down) and moderation (not in the current design but should be, IMO).

                                        Then at a later date, consider adding:

                                        3. Post reply via email (and maybe moderation of posts?)

                                        When our club goes live on WA this month, as a temporary workaround we will keep our existing Mailman listserv. We are implementing a cron job using the API that will automatically keep the Mailman mailing list synchronized with the email addresses and preferences in our WA members database.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        Fantastic!

                                        (Edit: The other half of the listserv functionality will be Admin control of forum subscriptions http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8826331-managing-email-subscriptions-to-forum-updates-941 , which the roadmap http://help.wildapricot.com/display/DOC/Product+roadmap currently shows in the development queue.)

                                        Could I also suggest that you consider (now or later) tightening the subject line of the immediate notification?

                                        Current header:

                                        ("Members' Chat is the name of the forum.)

                                        Suggested:

                                        The From field is sufficient to identify the organization; it doesn't need to be repeated in the subject line. If we want it there, we could make the forum name "TYC Members' Chat."

                                        "Summary" is still good for a digest.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        [quote user="OlegN"]In scope of Listserv we plan to change subscriptions to forums, so they will contain full text of topic/reply.[/quote]

                                        In view of the delay, can this be split off and implemented sooner? It seems like a low effort change.

                                        You already include the full text of the post in a Topic subscription.

                                        Could you please just do the same thing for Forum subscriptions? (At least for Immediate notifications; maybe also for Daily and Weekly.)

                                        (Edit:) This would provide most of the full Listserv functionality with very small effort. The vast majority of members could just follow the discussion in the emails. For the few that want to reply, clicking a link in the email is a speed bump but not a huge one. (It might even filter out some noise.)

                                        When we transition to WA shortly, there will inevitably be complaints about things that don't work the same as the old system. We need some benefits. This would be a big one.

                                        Members have mostly tuned out on our listserv emails. This would let us set up different interest groups as announcement forums. Members could subscribe to just the email (forum notification) streams they want. But it needs the full text in the email.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        [quote user="OlegN"]This is better to leave requests in related thread http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8826331-managing-email-subscriptions-to-forum-updates-941 if there is any or create new - otherwise it is nearly impossible to find and prioritize them. [/quote]

                                        OK.

                                        Another problem with forums and email is that the email only contains a link to the post. It should contain the entire text of the post or the first part of it.

                                        I have posted this in the related thread http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8826256-forum-include-full-posting-text-in-email-digest , but note it here because most people following this thread are interested in the more general issue of member-to-member communication.

                                        Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                        I hope this will be implemented swiftly.

                                        This is the remaining stumbling block for our webmasters to propose WA to our Board of Directors. We're facing the same hassle as so many others in this thread of maintaining our existing listserv in parallel with WA when the whole point is to consolidate.
                                        So we really need this and the associated Managing email subscriptions feature http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8826331-managing-email-subscriptions-to-forum-updates-941 .

                                        Additional helpful features:
                                        * Ability to link a particular forum to group membership, so that anyone joining/leaving the group will automatically be subscribed/unsubscribed. If I understand correctly, at present a forum could be placed on a group-only page, but the subscribe/unsubscribe would have to be done by the individual members (see #3 above). And could the member leave the group and still get forum notifications?
                                        * Ability to moderate (pre-approve) forum posts. This becomes more important when texts of posts are included in email notifications.

                                      • 6 votes
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                                          1 comment  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                          Walt Bilofsky supported this idea  · 
                                        • 1 vote
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                                            2 comments  ·  Wishlist » Finances  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                            Walt Bilofsky commented  · 

                                            Katya, yes, you could always display "Click invoice below for payment instructions." on the profile page. This is the minimum fix.

                                            I would like it better if, in the case that there is only one invoice, you display the payment instructions from the invoice.

                                            But since I am always saying not to delay a quick fix now for a perfect one later, I will have to accept this if you say it. :)

                                            Walt Bilofsky shared this idea  · 
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