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Bug #9289

Email Users Plugin

Added by Laurie Hurson over 3 years ago. Updated almost 3 years ago.

Status:
Reporter Feedback
Priority name:
Normal
Assignee:
Category name:
WordPress Plugins
Target version:
Start date:
2018-02-26
Due date:
% Done:

0%

Estimated time:

Description

Several faculty participating in the OER Fellows program to run their courses on the Commons did not want to setup a group and therefore wanted to send students emails through their course site. They attempted to use the email users plugin but it appears the plugin is not sending emails correctly.

The plugin has two methods of sending email, to individuals or to groups. Through the Individual send area an Admin can select multiple individuals. Through the Group send area, an Admin can choose a group to send to based on user roles on the site (i.e. Author, Editor, etc). Several issues have been reported from faculty using this plugin.

In the individual area, when several users are selected (using crtl key) only some students receive the email. The faculty members confirm this because once the email is "sent" the plugin reports that the email has been sent to 23 of 25 users. This has happened on the following sites:

https://bmccsoc124.commons.gc.cuny.edu/   -- 23 of 25 student Authors receive email
https://bmccsoc144.commons.gc.cuny.edu/ -- 16 of 25 student Authors received email.
https://soc100munshi.commons.gc.cuny.edu/ -- Students are subscribers, only half received emails

In the group send area, often user role types are missing from the list of groups to send emails to. This has happened on the following sites:

https://bmccsoc091.commons.gc.cuny.edu/ -- Author Role missing from Group area
https://bmccasnmunshi.commons.gc.cuny.edu --Author role missing from group area
https://freequeercuny.commons.gc.cuny.edu/ -- Author role missing from group area

Screenshot_2018-02-26_13-51-34.png (6.28 KB) Screenshot_2018-02-26_13-51-34.png Dashboard > Users Boone Gorges, 2018-02-26 02:53 PM
Screenshot_2018-02-26_13-51-54.png (136 KB) Screenshot_2018-02-26_13-51-54.png Dashboard > Email Users > Send to Group(s) Boone Gorges, 2018-02-26 02:53 PM
2 GRP email.png (153 KB) 2 GRP email.png Laurie Hurson, 2018-03-01 07:44 PM
1 -IND email .png (162 KB) 1 -IND email .png Laurie Hurson, 2018-03-01 07:44 PM
4 GRP email results.png (155 KB) 4 GRP email results.png Laurie Hurson, 2018-03-01 07:44 PM
3 IND email results.png (170 KB) 3 IND email results.png Laurie Hurson, 2018-03-01 07:44 PM

History

#1 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

Hi Laurie - Thanks for opening the ticket. It may be helpful to split some of these items into different tickets, but first let me see if I can eliminate some of them.

In the group send area, often user role types are missing from the list of groups to send emails to.

Without more details about just what the users are seeing, I have to guess a little bit at what's happening. I've attached two screenshots that show what I see on bmccsoc091.commons.gc.cuny.edu: the list of user roles on Dashboard > Users, and the roles available on Dashboard > Email Users > Send to Group(s). The roles on Dashboard > Users are Administrator, Author, Keymaster, Participant. On the EU page I see Administrator and Author. These latter roles are WP roles, while Keymaster and Participant are bbPress roles. So, the "groups" feature of Email Users only works for WP roles. It might be possible (though not easy, based on what I see in the Email Users code) to include bbPress roles, but for the time being, I'd suggest that administrators rely on the WP roles.

only some students receive the email

Unfortunately, it's hard to see exactly what's happening here without more detail. The plugin works by sending a single email to the author, which is then BCCed to each recipient. The "count" displayed in the success message - "Email sent to 45 users" etc - is based on the BCC count. It's not clear to me, from looking at the code, how only some of the BCCs would fail (unless they're not well-formed email addresses). It could be the fact that the GC is limiting the number of BCC entries on outgoing email - this is fairly common, as a spam-prevention measure - but this wouldn't explain the inconsistent results that your users are seeing.

If you could provide some specific information about a failed instance, it would be helpful. In particular, for a specific instance:
- The site where the email was created
- The date and time the email was created
- The email address of at least one user to whom the email appears to have been sent
- The email address of at least one user to whom the email appears not to have been sent

Before/after screenshots may be enough, as I'd be able to glean the email addresses from the Recipients area of the screenshot.

#2 Updated by Luke Waltzer over 3 years ago

Thanks for this, Boone. I'm reluctant to ask Laurie to go back to the faculty fellow to help with troubleshooting, as she's already spread pretty thin.

@Laurie, how about setting up a test site using accounts from TLC staff to see if we can recreate some of the problems Soniya was experiencing?

#3 Updated by Laurie Hurson over 3 years ago

Will do.

I have set up and test site and will try to recreate this issue and report back.

#4 Updated by Laurie Hurson over 3 years ago

HI all,

An update on this plugin:

I trail ran it on https://coursetest.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

Today 3/1 attempted to send to multiple Individuals (11:30am) and the "authors" group (11:32am). Screenshots 1 and 2.

It looks like the email only went to 1 user (Luke) in both sending methods. Screenshots 3 and 4.

The only person who received the email was Luke. Of note, he was the only user (author) added to the site before email users plugin was installed.

#5 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

I spent a few minutes looking at how Email Users works. It appears that it only allows emails to be sent to users who have opted into "mass emails". See https://coursetest.commons.gc.cuny.edu/wp-admin/admin.php?page=mailusers-user-settings. Of the people you emailed to, only Luke has the setting turned on. This is true for both "individual" and "group" emails.

Looking into this, it is becoming clear that this plugin is not appropriate for use on Multisite:
- The "mass email" user setting is networkwide. If it's changed on https://coursetest.commons.gc.cuny.edu/wp-admin/admin.php?page=mailusers-user-settings, it'll be changed for every other site on which the user is a member. There's no finer-grained controls.
- The plugin attempts to set a default "mass email" setting for new users, but the way it's done doesn't mesh cleanly with Multisite at all. It uses the 'profile_update' and 'user_register' hooks, which fire in much different sequence in a multisite environment than in non-MS WordPress.

Based on the above, I'd suggest we look for a better solution for mass-emailing from the WordPress side than Email Users. Indeed, given the above, I'd almost suggest disabling it for anyone who doesn't already have it activated, as it's likely to cause more headache than not. Matt, Luke, Laurie, do you have thoughts about how to proceed?

#6 Updated by Matt Gold over 3 years ago

Hi Boone,

I'm fine with disabling it for anyone who doesn't already have it enabled, and I do think we should look into (or perhaps create) an alternative. This is very much related to OER work so we can draw from those funds if we need to write something new.

#7 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

Thanks, Matt. I'm going to put a fix in place immediately that disables Email Users on sites where it's not already active. https://github.com/cuny-academic-commons/cac/commit/0084fea54a7b0b4848e772160ec3e83af58bda3c

It may turn out in the medium- to long-term that we need to build something custom, especially if we want to avoid the overhead of maintaining two separate email systems in perpetuity. More specifically, it would be ideal if a tool was available for use on the WP Dashboard that shared its internals with the email tools we use on the BP side of the site.

However, in the meantime, I think it's worth looking at a few existing solutions that'd be better than nothing while we work toward an ideal solution for the Commons. Based on some very brief research, here are some possibilities:
- We already have the Newsletters plugin on the Commons, and it seems to work fairly well for sending mass emails. The concept of a Newsletter is a bit different from emailing site users (the concept of "subscription" doesn't quite fit) but it could likely be used without too much trouble.
- https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/mass-email-sender/
- https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/wp-email-users At a very quick glance at the code, it appears that this one should work properly on multisite. No idea whether it has the feature set we are looking for.
- https://wordpress.org/plugins/send-email-from-admin/ looks much more barebones but at least compatible with multisite

#8 Updated by Matt Gold over 3 years ago

Thanks, Boone. Luke and Laurie, can you please look into these alternatives?

#9 Updated by Luke Waltzer over 3 years ago

Mass Email Sender looks like it's built for whole network emails (may have site specific functions, too, but we don't want the former). WP-Email-Users looks great. Happy to take it for a spin Boone if you want to deploy either to dev or on https://coursetest.commons.gc.cuny.edu/.

Thanks-

#10 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

  • Status changed from New to Testing Required

Sure thing, Luke. I've added it to the dev environment. Please play carefully there - it will send emails to anyone. Let me know what you think after you've had a chance to play around. https://github.com/cuny-academic-commons/cac/commit/70312df0cacb311786463a778bc24f15b0fbf727

#11 Updated by Luke Waltzer over 3 years ago

It works, but it's not ideal, and seems not to be multisite aware... all emails come from , and there's no site-specific indicator in the emails (though you could create one via a template). I worry about a bunch of responses coming into that account should that be the from address...

#12 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

  • Status changed from Testing Required to Reporter Feedback
  • Target version set to 1.12.11

Luke, is the From address the only issue? This might be something we can fairly easily override.

I haven't spent any time with the "template" feature to see how it works. Do you see this (and the related manual intervention) as a dealbreaker for the plugin? Do you have thoughts about how the process might be automated?

#13 Updated by Raymond Hoh over 3 years ago

  • Target version changed from 1.12.11 to 1.12.12

#14 Updated by Matt Gold over 3 years ago

  • Assignee set to Boone Gorges

#15 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

  • Target version changed from 1.12.12 to 1.12.13

#16 Updated by Boone Gorges over 3 years ago

  • Target version changed from 1.12.13 to 1.14

Moving into the next major release for investigation. When the Teaching Fellows team has a chance to do a bit of additional research, we can move forward with next steps.

#17 Updated by Boone Gorges almost 3 years ago

  • Target version changed from 1.14 to Future release

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