Reply by Email - some possible confusion
I received a message tonight from George (a watcher on this ticket) noting that he had sent a reply via email that never showed up on the site. Here's what he did:
1. Put his cursor above "--- Reply ABOVE THIS LINE to add a comment ---"
2. Wrote his response
3. Deleted everything below his response, including "--- Reply ABOVE THIS LINE to add a comment ---"
4. Sent the email.
It never showed up. I'm assuming that the script processing RBE needs that line in order to recognize the message as a reply. If that's true, it may be a problem that "Reply ABOVE THIS LINE to add a comment" does not actually indicate that the line itself should not be deleted -- that it's not about where the cursor is placed in the email, but rather about keeping the text there and replying above it.
I'm not sure how many people will be confused by this, but let's discuss this a bit. Is the line itself clear to people who haven't used this kind of system before? How can we clarify this? Here are some possibilities:
1. Alter the text of that line to indicate that it shouldn't be deleted (if that is, indeed, the case)
2. Alter the functioning of the script itself
3. Do a nice job of explaining this in our documentation
I assume that 1 and 3 are the easiest to implement, but I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
#1 Updated by Boone Gorges over 9 years ago
I'll let Ray speak more definitively, but IMO reply-above-the-line is enough of a convention (especially given the way most email clients work by default, which is to place the cursor above the quoted text) that changing the way the script works - your (2) - is probably going to cause many more problems than it solves. (1) and (3) seem like the right way to go.
On a related note, Ray and I talked yesterday about how senders aren't notified when their replies aren't posted by RBE. He plans to have a look at implementing some failure messages ("We don't recognize your email address", "Your formatting can't be parsed", stuff like that), which will go some way to helping this problem. That is, in the future folk like George will get a message back saying "Sorry, we couldn't post your message, because of some formatting issues. Make sure you have left your reply above the line, and that you haven't deleted the line. See http://some.support.page for more information."
#2 Updated by Matt Gold over 9 years ago
- Priority name changed from Normal to High
I think that a failure message like the one you suggest would resolve this issue. Given the importance of RBE to the working of the Commons, I'm going to escalate the priority of this ticket because I'd love to see this implemented as soon as we can. Ray, please let us know your thoughts -- and thanks.
#3 Updated by Raymond Hoh over 9 years ago
I'm assuming that the script processing RBE needs that line in order to recognize the message as a reply. If that's true, it may be a problem that "Reply ABOVE THIS LINE to add a comment" does not actually indicate that the line itself should not be deleted -- that it's not about where the cursor is placed in the email, but rather about keeping the text there and replying above it.
That is correct.
The text and reply-by-email format is directly modeled after how Basecamp does it.
For option 1, if enough people deem that the current text isn't clear enough, I'd be welcome to change the text to something else.
However, this can also be thought of as a user education matter for the most part (option 3). I believe Scott is creating some user documentation for this and could probably reference Basecamp's own documentation.
Option 2 involves perhaps using a model that is more akin to Github: Don't use a "reply above this line" marker and just allow the body of the email as the reply. I believe Facebook might also follow this model, though I've never used their site to verify if that is indeed the case. There are both pros and cons to this approach and will take some dev time to implement as a parsing option.
I would say stick with options 1 and 3 for now.
#4 Updated by Matt Gold over 9 years ago
Agreed. We're working on 3 and we can consider 1. We're planning to send a sitewide message to all members pointing them to our documentation, so I hope that will help. And if you can work on a failure message, that would be a big help, too. I'll create a separate ticket for that. Many thanks!
#7 Updated by Raymond Hoh over 9 years ago
Looks like the documentation article is up, so can option 3 be crossed off?
Did we get any other opinions for option 1?
As for failure messaging, that is implemented in #2039; it could use some testing. Right now, cdev is testing Dominic's Livestream plugin. I'll wait for Dominic & co. to finish on their end, then we can do some testing for RBE.