Feature #1334

Create Tool To Count Email Notifications

Added by Matt Gold over 9 years ago. Updated over 5 years ago.

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Although the CAC subcommittee decided that the CAC should not include tracking cookies in CAC-based emails, it would be good for us to have a sense of how many emails the site is sending out. That would, at the least, give us a rough sense of how many people we're reaching by email. I'm thinking that this will be especially important and useful once we implement reply-by-email on group forums (it was, in fact, a query about using the Commons for a listserv that led me to create this ticket).

I'm not sure what would be involved in that, but it would be a nice bit of info to have and that kind of bulk number wouldn't violate anyone's privacy.



#1 Updated by Boone Gorges over 9 years ago

I can run a script pretty easily that will count subscribed members in a given group (or in all groups). But this would be for one-time use, and it counts subscribed users, rather than the notifications themselves.

There are a lot of things you could count within a given period, and I'm not sure how many of them would actually be useful:
- number of unique activity items that are sent out in notification emails (each email could contain many activity items, but many will be duplicates)
- total number of activity items sent out in notification emails (digests plus immediate notifications)
- number of notification emails sent (where digests count as one)
- number of group subscriptions (where Matt/CAT, Matt/CUNYPie, Boone/CUNYPie etc each count as one)
- number of users subscribed get any email notifications
- probably more, this is off the top of my head

Then there are questions about time periods over which such a number would have to be measured, since most of the counts only make sense longitudinally.

To be honest, I don't think that any of these numbers are all that meaningful, though certainly some are more meaningless than others. Brian may have some more intuitions about what's interesting and what's not.

BTW if all we're looking for is a sheer email count, André can probably provide way more easily than I can, by checking the outgoing email logs. But that will count things like activation emails, password resets, friendship and group invitations, etc.

#2 Updated by Matt Gold over 9 years ago

Well, what I'm generally looking for is a non-intrusive way to take stock of email usage of the site. Maybe, in the end, it's better not to track email notifications themselves, but rather various elements of group usage -- number of forum replies posted, files uploaded, docs created, etc. Presumably, every email created (even, eventually, forum posts by email) is related to an on-site event, so maybe we could just track those events. It would be interesting to have that info to figure out the usage/uptake of various elements of the site. How many groups have Docs enabled? how many are using them? What is the average number of files/docs per group? I think that it would be interesting to track such numbers.

#3 Updated by Boone Gorges over 9 years ago

The simplest count of what's happening on the site is the Activity count - nearly everything that happens has an associated activity item. It's pretty easy for me to count activity items between given dates.

Nearly anything else can also be counted, but it will take more custom work. So, I'd invite those who are interested to compile a list of specific items they'd like to have counted. If there are items on that list that are prohibitively difficult to do, or that would produce information of little value, I can jump in and say so.

#4 Updated by local admin over 9 years ago

Matt Gold wrote:

Well, what I'm generally looking for is a non-intrusive way to take stock of email usage of the site. [...] I think that it would be interesting to track such numbers.

You know what's cool? If we write up a script to poll for these stats, then I can create a historical data graph with these using Munin [] , so you'll be able to detect trends, correlate to certain occurrences (e.g. version releases).

#5 Updated by local admin over 9 years ago

Can we have a brief conference call to discuss this idea? I'm really intrigued by it.

#6 Updated by Matt Gold over 9 years ago

Very happy to discuss but can't do so until next week because of some impending deadlines. If others want to talk in my absence, feel free.

#7 Updated by Boone Gorges over 9 years ago

  • Target version changed from 1.4 to Future release

Bumping out of the milestone until we come to grips with what's being requested.

#8 Updated by Matt Gold over 9 years ago

Boone, given how soon we're going to have reply-by-email in place, I think we should keep this on the road map and start to plan to create something to track total numbers of site emails. It would be especially interesting to be able to track such information before and after the implementation of the reply-by-email system to see how it is affecting site traffic.

#9 Updated by Boone Gorges over 9 years ago

  • Status changed from Assigned to Reporter Feedback

It'd be easy for me to hook into wp_mail and keep track of a simple count of how many emails have gone out, but I get the sense that you want something more robust and faceted than that.

Could you perhaps give the outlines of a spec? That is, based on what you think are the potential benefits of having such a count, give a short list of what you'd like to keep track of, and how you want the data filterable. I suggest a number of options here Note that, while it's possible to keep track of huge amounts of analytic data about emails, each piece of data adds some overhead in terms of development/storage/querying, so let's try to come up with the data that you would find most important first, with the option of collecting more down the line.

#10 Updated by Boone Gorges over 5 years ago

  • Category name changed from BuddyPress (misc) to Analytics
  • Assignee changed from Boone Gorges to Matt Gold

#11 Updated by Matt Gold over 5 years ago

  • Status changed from Reporter Feedback to Abandoned

I think that this would be potentially useful at some point, but I'm not sure that we need this functionality right now, and we are better served by placing dev resources towards other efforts, at least in my view.

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