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Are there e-mail notifications to posts on this forum?

edited November 2008 in Vanilla 1.0 Help


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    No, I suggested they use the Notifi extension on this forum but they didn't do it.
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    edited November 2008
    "they"? It is Mark's forum. He will give it more attention when he upgrade it to Vanilla 2. However I doubt he will add email notification.

    Joel Spolsky
    Q. Could you make a feature where I check a box that says "email me if somebody replies to my post?"
    A. This one feature, so easy to implement and thus so tempting to programmers, is the best way to kill dead any young forum. Implement this feature and you may never get to critical mass. Philip Greenspun's LUSENET has this feature and you can watch it sapping the life out of young discussion groups.

    What happens is that people go to the group to ask a question. If you offer the "notify me" checkbox, these people will post their question, check the box, and never come back. They'll just read the replies in their mailbox. The end.
    If you eliminate the checkbox, people are left with no choice but to check back every once in a while. And while they're checking back, they might read another post which looks interesting. And they might have something to contribute to that post. And in the critical early days when you're trying to get the discussion group to take off, you've increased the "stickiness" and you've got more people hanging around, which helps achieve critical mass a lot quicker.
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    I just meant "they" as in I made a discussion asking the entire forum if they would consider it a useful feature.

    Offering an email notification option promotes forum use by making offering users the features they desire. If they visit a forum and it doesn't have the simple feature of email notification that could be detrimental to the success of the forum because if it is lacking in such basic features what else must it be lacking in? They might think to themselves "maybe this isn't such a great forum to spend my time on", and when it is a forum about a forum software the effect is intensified because it also doubles as a demo of the product they are wanting to use.
    I posit that the people who would just check the "notify me" checkbox and never visit again would usually never visit again regardless.
    The great thing about the Notifi extension is that it offers much more than "notify me about replies to my comments", you also have the option to be notified of new posts in a category of your choosing or the entire forum. So maybe people want to be emailed whenever a new extension is released, they can just subscribe to the Add-ons category. Maybe they want to be emailed when a new bugfix is released, they can subscribe to the Fixes & Updates category.

    Joel's idea is a good one, it can seem like common sense, but it is flawed in that it assumes a level of interest in users that often is not there.
    An analogy is the music industry in the U.S.A., at first they thought MP3 downloading was hurting CD sales, because instead of buying a CD they would download the same album instead. It's a common-sense theory, but later they realized CD sales were largely unaffected by downloading, because the vast majority of people downloading music would have never purchased the albums in the first place; the vast majority of people would not return to the forum regardless.
    They will ask at 10 different forums, 9 of which have email notification, 1 of those they will get the answer from, and all 10 of which they will never visit again.

    So, those people are lost to you, you won't gain popularity from them either way, but on the other hand there are dedicated users who like to visit all the time who would really use email notification.
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    I tend to agree with SubJunk and would add that people who forget the forum, with a new reply to any of their messages would be tempted to return, at least to see what was written. I wonder if the Add-on discussions had email notifications... maybe we wouldn't see so many orphaned ones...
This discussion has been closed.