Subscription notification improvements

Posted by jeff.griffiths on 2007-03-08 17:39

I just updated the site to do nice content-rich update notification emails. Go to your user account on the support site:

- click on 'manage my account'
- click on 'edit'
- scroll down to 'subscription settings'
- click on 'Include Teaser'

When a post you are subscribed to gets updated or commented on, you should get a nice email with that actual content in it.

Jao | Sat, 2007-04-28 11:33


In the "my subscriptions” tab, when you click on a link to a thread you are subscribed to, to go to it, then the checkbox on the left, get unchecked... while the checkboxes are not saved until you click on the save button, it is disturbing, and there is no reason to associate the link to the checkbox (when you click on the link, you leave the current page, and this is all there should be to it). Well, of course, the checkboxes must have a label, but the label should not contain links. I guess the solution would be to remove the link on the thread title, and, just after the label, give a link to the thread, with a text like "[link]" or "[go to this thread]", or something like this, with the thread title in the title attribute of the link.

Same problem with the "categories" subscription type.

(By the way, for threads, what's the difference between "my subscriptions", and "track"? -except that "track" is public (it should not, by the way -there is no use to it being public, anyway)).


jeff.griffiths | Mon, 2007-04-30 09:43

I'm sorry if the subscriptions tab seems confusing to you, but I am nnot sure if I understand exactly how you are suggesting to improve it? Each item in the list is link-ified so as to allow you to go to the page ( presumably in a new tab ) from the list, but changes to subscriptions can only be saved by clicking on the Save button to submit the entire form.

As for the distinction between subscriptions and 'track' these are different Drupal modules with different purposes. Subscriptions for for you as a user to make sure you get updated on content you have posted to or are interested in. Users can opt-out of subscriptions. The track tab instead allows anyone to see where a given user has posted to. This is intended to add more transparency to who is posting where on the site.


Jao | Mon, 2007-04-30 11:38

Each item in the list is link-ified so as to allow you to go to the page (presumably in a new tab)

That's exactly the problem. You should not have links which require people to open them in new tabs/windows, for normal browsing (the fact the checkbox get unchecked is not a normal behaviour, and it is disturbing, even if the checkbox status is not saved until you press the "Save" button... think of webmails, with checkboxes to delete mails... -that's probably why I find it so disturbing, but the fact this is not expected, and not logic (I want to browse the link, not uncheck the checkbox), is the main problem). If this is really necessary (generally, for support links, when there is a risk to lose data -filled forms, playing audio/video data, java applets, webchats and Web instant messagers, etc.), you should at least use the `target="_blank"` attribute on the link, and, possibly, optional (must degrade well) JavaScript code (as some users -me included-, configure their browser to open `target="_blank"` links in the same tab -as too many websites abuse it).

In the subscription list case, there is no necessity to have this links open in new tabs/windows (they are normal links, even if part of a form), so we must be able to open them normally, in the same window/tab, without any problem (that is, without the checkbox to be unchecked, even if, as said, the checkbox status is not saved unless the user press the "Save" button), so we should not have to open them in new tabs/windows, as part of the normal navigation.

As said, you should remove the link on the post title, and put the link, after the title, outside of the checkbox label.

Something like:

<div class="form-item">
        <label class="option">
                <input type="checkbox" name="edit[subs575]" id="edit-subs575" value="1"  checked="checked"  class="form-checkbox" />
                Subscription notification improvements
        [<a href="/forum-topic/subscription-notification" title="Subscription notification improvements">Go to this thread</a>]

The track tab instead allows anyone to see where a given user has posted to. This is intended to add more transparency to who is posting where on the site.

In this case, the tab should be named "Contributions" (like in Wikipedia, for example), or "Contribs", is you prefer shorter names, although this is generally to be avoided, except if really necessary. The names, "Track", and "My subscriptions" are too similar, as far as user expectation is concerned, in his own user profile, and this is disturbing (although not as much as checkboxes getting unchecked). Of course, if you modify it for the user own profile, it should be modified globally, for consistency (well, I guess the tab is set in only one place).

I just posted a report to, so you might just wait for the change to be integrated upstream (well, if they accept it).

As for the matter of the contribution list being public, I really don't see the need for transparency. Public contribution lists can be useful on websites like Wikipedia, to help users helping other users, or for users to report problems with another user (administrators should of course always have access to this list, but this is not the point here). It can be useful for websites where users post real content (news articles, blogs, fictions, pictures, videos, etc.), to easily find content by the same author (or, at least, the same user). However, on a discussion forum, this feels more like stalking (I mean, a specific public page listing all contributions... of course, there is always the possibility to search posts by author -which is quite useful, when you want to search for some specific contribution, posted by a specific user). Well, as this is only a support forum for Activestate software, this surely is not that big a deal. Just ignore me :)