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How to see Thread Subscriptions

 
 
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Author Paul
Lead Developer 
#16 | Posted: 18 Oct 2020 13:05 
Steve Shaw:
Can I please request that any Subscription remains valid, until the user decides to disable it, so all/any posts to the subscribed thread are sent to all that are subscribed?
I could probably develop it for your own forum for my constant fee as a custom work (could be about 1-1,5 hours of work in total — this could be probably an add-on and non-core-destructive change, but it would be greedy to resources, as it would constantly check and update the subscriptions database), but I will not implement it in the default version, or at least not that straight way. Currently, I just don't see a method which would be quick and reliable, except for catching user's subscription link from an email message.

This all is done intentionally, as we already have negative experience on such subscriptions. Users should constantly confirm that they are still interested in this or that topic; MOST users check only for about 2-3 replies, then forget the topic, but still waste the server powers, because each email takes a huge resource. Also, there could be an old topic with a lot of subscriptions, which let's say getting a new reply in 3 years. Most of the user email addresses could be gone at that moment, but they *all* will receive a notification, which they would ever not need to receive.

Author Steve Shaw
Partaker
#17 | Posted: 1 Nov 2020 13:03 
We are getting a fair number of complaints from our forum users that they are missing new posts on topics they want to follow...

The 'Subscribe' function really just doesn't seem to work in a user friendly way.
Options on 'other' forums for subscription do seem to work 'better'.

Any thoughts on ways to improve this?

Steve

Author tom322
Active Member
#18 | Posted: 1 Nov 2020 16:42 
You could modify the script a bit to make the Subscribe checkbox set by default so that users are automatically subscribed to all topics they post at least one message.

Author Paul
Lead Developer 
#19 | Posted: 2 Nov 2020 23:02 
Steve Shaw
So, how it is implemented in the other software? There's a difference in following the topic and getting a notification about each new reply. For the following some topic, it's better to use the Favorites add-on.

Author Steve Shaw
Partaker
#20 | Posted: 5 Nov 2020 13:03 
A good example is this forum: https://www.liftgammagain.com/forum/index.php

The 'subscription' send a message for each topic I reply to (or subscribe to), but just the once, for the next post in the topic, not for any following posts, until I re-visit the topic, and then the subscription resumes for the next post.

So if I do not re-visit the topic I get no more messages.
Seems to be a better approach, and deals with your issue of a user getting bored with the topic?

And 'Favourites' doesn't really work, as no messages are set for new posts made to topics liked as a favourite.
The users still has to manually check to see if there are new posts.

Steve

Author Paul
Lead Developer 
#21 | Posted: 5 Nov 2020 21:09 
Steve Shaw:
And 'Favourites' doesn't really work, as no messages are set for new posts made to topics liked as a favourite.
The users still has to manually check to see if there are new posts.
I understand. There's still an idea on hold which would allow to check the selected topics, I'll put it in my plans to develop as soon as I finish the updated release of miniBB. By now, it's not implemented.

Steve Shaw:
So if I do not re-visit the topic I get no more messages.
Seems to be a better approach, and deals with your issue of a user getting bored with the topic?
As I wrote above, I could code this as a custom add-on for you. Count on about $30 as for 1 hour of my work. Also, I could make it available to public and mention your website as a sponsor in credits, so you get a permanent link in our Tidings.

Author Steve Shaw
Partaker
#22 | Posted: 4 Dec 2020 12:55 
Paul:
As I wrote above, I could code this as a custom add-on for you. Count on about $30 as for 1 hour of my work. Also, I could make it available to public and mention your website as a sponsor in (can't use the original word here due to ant-spamming), so you get a permanent link in our Tidings.
Hi Paul — sorry for the delay in responding...

I would be happy to pay $30 for such a development.
And would be happy for you to roll it out to all other users, as I think it really is needed.
(A link to our website would ne nice.)

Please do base the development on the way it works for 'xenforo' forums, as used by 'liftgammagain'.
That does seem to be a logical implementation for 'subscriptions'.

You have my contact details.
Please send me an invoice, and I'll pay immediately.

Steve

Author Paul
Lead Developer 
#23 | Posted: 7 Dec 2020 17:58 
Steve Shaw
Ok, please give me some time for it as I'm not at my working desk now. Hope to arrive in about a week and then we'll see.

Please do base the development on the way it works for 'xenforo' forums, as used by 'liftgammagain'.
Could you please more precise at it? What should I check? I'm not familiar with xenforo at all and I doubt I would install them just for such purpose. Is there any readme file or documentation I could check?

Author Steve Shaw
Partaker
#24 | Posted: 10 Dec 2020 18:28 
Ok — no real rush.
After the holidays would be fine.

With Xenforo forums, there is a demo that runs on their hosting: https://xenforo.com/demo/
And developer docs: https://xenforo.com/xf2-docs/dev/

But it works as I described:

The 'subscription' sends a message for each topic the user replies to (or subscribes to), but just the once, for the next post in the topic, and then not for any following posts, until the user re-visit the topic, and then the subscription resumes for the next post.

So if the user does not re-visit the topic, he/she will get no more messages.

Steve

Author Paul
Lead Developer 
#25 | Posted: 23 Dec 2020 19:25 
Steve Shaw
I have taken more time to analyze this deeply, and I must revise the comment I've made above in this thread in post #10, i.e.:

2. A user must click on the link in the email message to continue the subscription. Regular access of the topic (via the forums browsing) is not implemented for this option.
— that's a wrong point. The Subscription is re-activated even if a member just visits the topic on the forum via regular browsing. However, he must be logged in with the User ID specified in Subscription. If he visits a topic as a Guest or from another account, it's logical another Subscription even couldn't be taken into account.

Also, I could confirm that even if user is not logged in, or logged in from a different account, but if he clicks the link in the Subscription email, in this case his Subscription also being re-activated.

These are two points above when the Subscription re-activates and I don't know how to implement it better. It has not to be improved by now, apologies for taking a wrong path earlier. Not sure what miniBB version do you use, but this all has been implemented since miniBB 2.0.3a.

Moreso — I have developed a hidden option named $activeEmailsDisable — if in setup_options.php you set it like

$activeEmailsDisable = TRUE;
then a Subscription would be re-activated only if a user clicks the link in the Subscription email. Please check your setup_options.php for making sure you don't have this option installed (also check in other files like bb_plugins.php or bb_specials.php).

I also did tests on my local dev.host for making sure the Subscription mechanism works, and now I'm sure it works like I described above, for example by this scenario:

1) User A makes a Topic and ticks the "Watch this topic and get updates by email" box; user A's Subscription becomes active;

2) User B replies to this Topic and ticks the "Watch this topic and get updates by email" box as well; user B's Subscription becomes active;

3) User A receives a Notification email regarding user B's post; his subscription becomes inactive;

4) User A visits the Topic via regular forum browsing; his subscription becomes active again;

5) User C replies to the Topic; a Notification email is sent to both users A and B; after that, Subscriptions for both A and B become inactive;

6) User B is not logged on the forum, but he clicks the Subscription link and then user B's Subscription is active again;

7) User C submits another reply to the Topic, and in this case, a Notification email is sent to the user B only and not the user A (user A didn't read the Topic nor from the forum nor via Subscription link).

You could use this scenario to test for 3 different user accounts on your side, at least two of them (A and B) must be with verified emails (I've used a Guest account for C). If on some point it doesn't work like I described, let me know.

But this is how it should work. If you have any other ideas at which point there's a mistake, please inform me.

Author Steve Shaw
Partaker
#26 | Posted: 24 Dec 2020 05:08 
Hi Paul.
All I can say, is something is not working correctly with our forum.
I have had a number of users complain about 'Subscriptions' not letting them know what a new post has been added to a subscribed thread.

And I have no $activeEmailsDisable option in setup_options.php, or any other setup file.
The only place it appears is in index.php
(The whole forum is a new build, using your compiler.)

Something still seems rather wrong.

Steve

Author Steve Shaw
Partaker
#27 | Posted: 24 Dec 2020 05:23 
Actually, a simple way to improve the 'Subscription' operation would be to add a 'SUBSCRIPTION' message in the main menu options, just like for 'PREMODERATION'.

That way, the subscription email is not the only way a user can see when a new post has been made.
It may be that the 'email's are getting caught as spam too often?

The user can then see when there are new posts in SUBSCRIBED threads, and when clicked should show a list of the topics with new posts.

Make sense?

Steve

Author Paul
Lead Developer 
#28 | Posted: 24 Dec 2020 15:08 
Steve Shaw:
It may be that the 'email's are getting caught as spam too often?
I've given you a scenario to try out with your own accounts and see if it's really working. If it works for you, then it also should work for everyone. There's no exclusions per-account for subscriptions.

Sure, it could be about email filters on the someone's end as well. If s/he has too many subscriptions and getting too many emails of the same subject each day, they could be considered as spam by some "smart" email filter. But you couldn't do anything about it.

As about the New posts indicator in the menu, in the current model of database tables I could only code an indicator showing the total amount of subscribed topics among the checked or unchecked topics (it means, active or inactive subscriptions). Then in the menu there would be displayed like:

Subscriptions [4 / 20]
meaning the unchecked/inactive are in bold. Each Subscription is made "inactive" as soon as a notification email has been sent. This supposes the new post was done. So making it active again, user should read the topic or click the link in the notification email. This could do the trick in handling the unchecked topics, also if there are no unchecked topics, then it actually would mean they all are checked and no new posts arrived. Then the link from this menu could go to a generic list of watched topics, unchecked comes first.

I could also build the same list of subscriptions per-account for admin/moderators. For example, under any user's profile you see a link "List Subscriptions" and clicking it brings the list of topics this user is subscribed to; pagination appears if there are bigger amount of topics.

As I wrote previously, the algorithm to handle certain new posts and their amount in certain topics is quite complicated, and I could add it later to the add-on like Favorites. But with the current database of Subscriptions, there's simply no way to catch the point of time what and when was checked or not.

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