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'Real' private messaging system

edited December 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
I was wondering if there is anything in the works that would resemble a 'real' PM system with an inbox and email notification. I have tried the more basic add-ons already available but they are not really what I'm after, and whispers would probably be confusing for the non-techies. I am moving lots of people over from Phorum and the feature is pretty heavily used there. I guess if there is no add-on in development I could integrate Private Notes for Wordpress, but it's not a great solution.
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    I was just thinking about the system in use at micromusic.net; users can click on an icon for an online user, and type a message in a javascript prompt which is delivered to that user when they next reload the page. If the user is offline, they get the message when they next log in. I am no coder, but I would love to have something like this on Vanilla.
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    What would be the difference to a whispered discussion?
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    edited December 2006
    I don't have whispers turned on for the following reasons:

    In Phorum, you have to explicitly click a button to PM a user. It takes you to a familiar page with an inbox and outbox; it will email you a notification and so on.

    In Vanilla, it is given to you as an option as you are posting. I am a techie and still found that confusing. I didn't know if it would CC my post to the user or give me an inbox of some kind.

    Feedback was generally not good for the feature because of the massive differences between Whispers and PMs, so I turned them off for now, and am looking for other alternatives. I think they are actually too advanced for the average forum user!

    I have just been playing with XDTalk for Wordpress, and that is exactly what I was talking about for Vanilla. Some kind of real-time chat system would be bearable if a complex PM add-on is too much to ask for (and I'm aware it's gonna be a big job to write one).

    edit: XDTalk relies on Popups being unblocked, and does not store undelivered messages, so it is not actually that great... the system on micromusic.net is an advanced version of it.
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    Also:
    Part of the problem with Whispers is, I think, the fact that the 'Whisper Your Comments To' box sits above the normal posting box. If I could have a link to Whisper someone on a different page, I think it would be less confusing?
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    TBH, after I got over my initial fear of whispers I came to really like them. However, I can certainly see the benefit in there being an extension similar to what circuit described in comment #2.
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    edited my second post: XDTalk relies on Popups being unblocked, and does not store undelivered messages, so it is not actually that great... the system on micromusic.net is an advanced version of it.

    I can imagine that people would like Whispers when they got used to them, but having just thrust a new forum onto people, I'm sure I'd be taking a risk if I confused them further at this point!
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    "If I could have a link to Whisper someone on a different page, I think it would be less confusing?" - I'm just gonna double check you realise you can whisper entire discussions to people when starting a new discussion? It's still not exactly what you want but some people dont realise that.
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    You are right. In fact, I only just realised that. If there was some way of making that more obvious I would definitely just use Whispers on the whole site.
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    edited December 2006
    Something else that would be great, and may be a compromise between Whispers and Javascript messaging:

    A link in the user profile, near the name, picture etc, that says "Send this user a Whisper".
    Or, an icon next to the username in the 'Who's Online' list that would allow you to type a quick Whisper, thus making it more of an IM...
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    You can get the whisper notification extension which makes it a bit more obvious when you recieve whispers. As for making it more obvious you can whisper discussions..i dont know. Put a stick post up?

    There are a number of requests for a general JS chat system but it's not completed yet...
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    I loved the whisper thing right away. My users, some of them are not used to forum software at all, understood it without any problems. PMs are just the same, they are only organised different. I love being able to see at one look, which discussion (no matter if public or private) are new.

    Of course, this is just my feeling. I can definitely understand the demand for PMs, as we all got used to it using other forum software.
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    I discussed this issue with my (more experienced) members, they all agreed that anything private should be done via email.

    They also believe "Whispering" is a bit like talking behind people's backs. I personally disagree with this point, many times I have whispered to an individual to avoid cluttering up a discussion (although I also used it to vent my spleen at a couple of individuals :-).

    I asked, how would you email someone who has their address hidden?

    The answer was: I wouldn't PM anyone I didn't know well enough to have their email address. Also, this is a forum, any valid discussion should be public so all could benefit from it.

    In any case, I disabled whispers, not for any of the above reasons but to reduce clutter and confusion (for less experienced members). Perhaps as they get more confident and the need arises this situation may change. Personally I think the whisper concept is very useful and very elegantly implemented.

    I do hope however, that if a PM system is introduced, it be an optional extension (i.e. not core). I cannot envisage it being any less complex or conceptually simpler than whispering.

    Merry Christmas
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    I agree that a Pm system should not be a core feature. I do think that Whispers are too confusing in their current state, though. Myself and another experienced forum user discussed the problem of someone forgetting to add a username when replying to a whisper in a thread. Whispers have their place, but there is something good about being able to send a message without knowing an email address.
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    Also: how about an email contact form in the user profile, as an alternative to PMing?
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    i'm waiting for multiple whispers and whisper to roles. cause thats something a PM system cannot do.
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     Quote: circuit  how about an email contact form in the user profile, as an alternative to PMing?
    That's exactly what I settled for, at least as far as personally contacting the admin (me), it's a bit much to manually create a form for each member though. So yes, I think an extension that did this would be very useful alternative/adjunct to whispers.

    Also, what better place to keep a record than in the inbox of your favourite email application?
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    i would love an add-on that put an email form in the profile. it would solve my problems!
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    (although I also used [whispering] to vent my spleen at a couple of individuals :-).
    Is this the same Wanderer that we all know and love talking? Surely not! =D

    +1 vote for the profile email contact form extension. Just make sure we can limit the amount of emails sent via it eh? ;) Like 1 per day or something, and black/whitelist ability of users. Hmm, going to be bit of a big beast...
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    the whisper feature is really interesting, but i think a whisper feature cannot replace or beat private messaging .

    the reason is logical, with a pm-system you have _everything in one place_ , and this means that the handling is less confusing for a non-geek or in other words for a simple internet user.

    the whisper feature is still cool for _in_topic related chitchats but i wouldnt make more out of it as it is ... a whisper function.

    so it would be nice to see here a solid integration of a pm-system to manage, send and to recive messages in one place and from one place.

    my 10 cents :)
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    Merry Christmas fery,
    I hear what you are saying, however as a forum admin I would not be too happy with the overhead used by PMs flying all over the place when we have a perfectly good email system people could be using.

    As a user on many forums, I think I've sent 5 PMs total over the many years.

    People seem to use PMs to maintain anonymity, the email contact form would maintain the anonymity but put the storage/filing burden on the users where it should be.

    Another 10¢ worth, making 20¢ altogether.
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