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New Notification Format

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The new format of Subject is of almost no use for me compared to the old scheme Who Did What, which contained tho most important infos in the initial three words. In the new format I have to read through almost whole line in order to get at least part of it. Please restore the old scheme (or at least make a customization through personal settings an option. ...

 

I agree with Toniczech and other, that new e-mail has several major usability problems. I dislike it, because it's complicating my watching of cache traffic and it's maintenance. Please, bring old format back.

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I too vote for discarding this "improvement" - the sooner the better. In my case this leads to no notifications at all as they are pretty much useless with this formatting.

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What I can't understand is that they have this forum to get advance feedback for a proposed change. But I wasn't aware of this "improvement" being suggested. If it had we'd have quickly pointed out the pitfalls.

 

I'd much rather that they improved the notification e-mails so that the text was even simpler to see on a phone and takes up less space. They were pretty good before, but improvements could be made. How about having an option for a single e-mail per day containing a digest of all your cache logs, sorted into "Found", "Not Found", "Needs Maintenance" etc.?

 

Those that say "it's no problem, you only have to click a button", perhaps don't get up to 100 e-mails at a time on their phones.

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Complaining is useless!

 

But nevertheless, I'll add mine.

I had to stop getting the newsletter because the new format froze my email client. But at least I could opt out there.

Now I'm getting notification emails which are less useful but use up four times more download space.

For some of us download usage is limited and has to be carefully managed.

I'd like to go on getting my old number of notifications, but with this new (insert here whatever the opposite of improvement is), I'll have to cut back.

 

Perhaps I'm on to something here . . .

Is GC central trying to get us to cut back on how many emails they send us?

No other explanation makes sense!

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Perhaps I'm on to something here . . .

Is GC central trying to get us to cut back on how many emails they send us?

No other explanation makes sense!

This one doesn't either. Cache owner emails also arrive in the new format, and we can't stop receiving them (even though they are now useless).

Well, there's of course a way to stop, and I just archived my last cache so I don't have to suffer anymore.

Perhaps THIS is what Groundspeak really want us to do.

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Count me as another person in favor of reverting to the old email notification format. I find the new one to be awkward, and full of useless (and broken) HTML and images. Plain text was much better, and easier on both my desktop computer and mobile device (faster to load, less data, more concise). I don't complain often, but seriously thinking about turning off all controllable notifications.

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I stand corrected... somebody is reading here and they added the log type back to the subject, and after archiving my last cache I had:

Owner Notification: <name> (<gc code>) has a new Archive log from Uilebheist

Still too verbose, as on a small screen and/or a long cache name the log type doesn't appear, and anyway I won't be asking for a reviewer to unarchive anything as it'll only work until the next "bright idea" gets implemented.

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And what's with all the people posting who have low forum counts? It seems to outnumber the regulars for once. Just an observation.

 

 

I've noticed this too, and to me, this point is perhaps one of the best of all at demonstrating how the best laid plans can go to waste. It seems pretty telling from a user feedback point of view when folks who couldn't normally be bothered to stroll into these rough seas now suddenly seem to be coming here to voice their displeasure. It's almost like they actually want Groundspeak to know that this change had a negative impact on their geocaching experience. I have no doubt that this change was well-intended, but if these un-regular folks are making their way to this forum to tell TPTB that they hate it, maybe a revert is in order.

 

And dare I suggest a more thorough polling to see what works best for end users before implementing something this invasive? Maybe this was something that the "User Insights" thread could have demonstrated in advance of the changes with additional traffic directed to those threads via the weekly newsletter or other social media avenues to ensure adequate feedback? I presume that the intention of those threads was to gather input and improve upon your relationship with your customers, so why have they been dormant since May? Was there a possibility of showing a number of possible email layout options and requesting the input of the people who actually use the function as end users on a daily basis as to which option works best for them? I recognize that you can't, and perhaps shouldn't, poll the masses for all changes, but this one seems like it would have been an awesome topic for open discussion; not only could that discussion have taken place here, but you could have had something of a polling station Lab Cache set up at the Block Party and the Munich Giga Event as well, then digested that wealth of feedback and chosen a course of action at that point based on that feedback.

 

Instead, I feel like there's just a sentiment of "We know what's best for cachers" coming from Seattle, and that's unfortunate. This is the best hobby on Earth (and space!) and it would be refreshing to feel a responsiveness and willingness to do better as it pertains to common concerns from those with the wherewithal to effort that change.

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Eine Veränderung, die keine Verbesserung ist, ist - da unnötig - eine Verschlechterung.

Adolf Loos

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I'll admit, I'm no techie, so I'd like to know from someone who is: Genuinely, how much of an ordeal would it be to add the choice of HTML email or the old style?

 

It's not the HTML itself that I mind with the new style. That doesn't make a difference to me. What I would really like is the old subject line back, it was just so efficient.

 

Anyway...I'm also just curious as to why a Groundspeak representative hasn't added a post to at least explain some of this, or even just acknowledge that they care.

I understand that they are a major company now, but if you are going to keep the monopoly of a hobby (which I suppose is fine), then you also have the responsibility to listen to the users of the hobby, and make sacrifices.

 

Just my little rant, thank's for baring with me!cool.gif

Edited by ADKer

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Me sumo a la protesta por el cambio en los correos con los logs de notificacion.

Ahora es mucho mas complicado, dificil y lento el leerlos.

Por favor, que Groundspeak deshaga el cambio y vuelva al sistema anterior.

 

Un saludo.

omortsoN

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And dare I suggest a more thorough polling to see what works best for end users before implementing something this invasive? Maybe this was something that the "User Insights" thread could have demonstrated in advance of the changes with additional traffic directed to those threads via the weekly newsletter or other social media avenues to ensure adequate feedback? I presume that the intention of those threads was to gather input and improve upon your relationship with your customers, so why have they been dormant since May? Was there a possibility of showing a number of possible email layout options and requesting the input of the people who actually use the function as end users on a daily basis as to which option works best for them?

 

Seriously, isn't that why the forums were created in the first place? I hadn't thought of it before, but I'm now rather curious as to why this hasn't been used. The new email design would have been a great first job for the "user insights" forum.unsure.gif

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The same came to my mind - what do we have "User insights" forum for if not for discussing feature changes that may have large impact on the way things work?

Edited by Pontiac_CZ

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I'll admit, I'm no techie, so I'd like to know from someone who is: Genuinely, how much of an ordeal would it be to add the choice of HTML email or the old style?

 

Without knowing their code, the best one can say is "somewhere between trivial and monumental." A flag in the database & an if/else statement in the email processor, at the most basic level. But then you have the overhead of maintaining two different code paths anytime you change the formatting/content of the emails (change it in plain text, and again in HTML).

 

Did you know it's possible to send a "dual" email that's both plain-text and HTML, and the receiver can choose which one is displayed?

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I'll admit, I'm no techie, so I'd like to know from someone who is: Genuinely, how much of an ordeal would it be to add the choice of HTML email or the old style?

 

Without knowing their code, the best one can say is "somewhere between trivial and monumental." A flag in the database & an if/else statement in the email processor, at the most basic level. But then you have the overhead of maintaining two different code paths anytime you change the formatting/content of the emails (change it in plain text, and again in HTML).

 

Did you know it's possible to send a "dual" email that's both plain-text and HTML, and the receiver can choose which one is displayed?

 

Well the main thing I'd be worried about is the subject line of the email. So the "dual" email wounld't have any benefit in that case unfortunately...

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What I can't understand is that they have this forum to get advance feedback for a proposed change. But I wasn't aware of this "improvement" being suggested. If it had we'd have quickly pointed out the pitfalls.

 

I'd much rather that they improved the notification e-mails so that the text was even simpler to see on a phone and takes up less space. They were pretty good before, but improvements could be made. How about having an option for a single e-mail per day containing a digest of all your cache logs, sorted into "Found", "Not Found", "Needs Maintenance" etc.?

 

Those that say "it's no problem, you only have to click a button", perhaps don't get up to 100 e-mails at a time on their phones.

 

Most of you will laugh when i say that my data plan allows me 100 mbs per month. Yes, i am a cheapskate. :lol: Because of this, i choose not to automatically receive email on my phone. I pretty much only open mail when wifi is available. I do receive text notifications however, and i have to say that thie new shorter formatting of these texts is nice, straight, and to the point. Have no idea if this has anything to do with the html in email but it sure is nice on my phone. I hope this stays with us...

 

As far as my email itself, i choose to receive and look at it on my computer at home. For now, i only have notifications set for newly published caches. Received a couple last night and they seemed ok. Both were a cleaner looking email with a link to the cache that actually worked.

 

I normally do not like change. If something works, then don't mess with it. Maybe it's early and i just haven't realized a problem but for now, this one change is ok.

Edited by Mudfrog

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Here is a copy of a post that I just made on the release notes forum:

 

As you have seen with the publish notifications, we are experimenting with multi-part emails. We will see how the first set of tests go and then investigate to doing the same with other messages.

Couln't you have just asked us before making the changes? It seems worth the effort compared to the risk of negative feedback (such as what you have been receiving).

 

We can definitely re-assess the subject lines and content format based on feedback (only a fraction of which comes from the forums, by the way). Overall, though, the design team felt that most cachers preferred seeing the cache name called out first and foremost rather than the log owner name.

Is this based on any data that they collected at all?

 

The team felt that the benefits of releasing without that change outweighed the negatives of waiting another week, A-Team.

Again, did "the team" have any reason to feel this way, or was it a complete guess?

 

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In one fell swoop, all of my filters for email alerts have been rendered useless. I certainly hope this was an experimental move... especially seeing the negative responses in the forums (and on my local Facebook geocaching groups).

Someone obviously didn't think this one all the way through before pulling the trigger.

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Hi,

 

let me also to join to call for old format of the Subject at least. With a specific "use case":

 

There are some challenge caches which require a TB to be retreived. So we watch the TB logs to actually watch the TB as it goes from cache to cache.

 

Notification like this:

 

"Watchlist Notification: [TBname] ([TBcode]) has a new Dropped Off log from [username]"

is indeed worse than what used to be:

"[LOG] Watchlist: [username] placed [TBname] in [CacheName] "

 

Moreover in the whole content of the new email I can't see the key information - that is where was the TB dropped off! And that was before right in the subject and as you see at an earlier place of the text.

 

Thank you

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I don't really care either way, plain text or html. It's worded kind of strange, but I DO like the addition of the cache owner in the email. Whether they change it back to plain text or not, I do hope that part stays.

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Here is a copy of a post that I just made on the release notes forum:

 

As you have seen with the publish notifications, we are experimenting with multi-part emails. We will see how the first set of tests go and then investigate to doing the same with other messages.

Couln't you have just asked us before making the changes? It seems worth the effort compared to the risk of negative feedback (such as what you have been receiving).

 

We can definitely re-assess the subject lines and content format based on feedback (only a fraction of which comes from the forums, by the way). Overall, though, the design team felt that most cachers preferred seeing the cache name called out first and foremost rather than the log owner name.

Is this based on any data that they collected at all?

 

The team felt that the benefits of releasing without that change outweighed the negatives of waiting another week, A-Team.

Again, did "the team" have any reason to feel this way, or was it a complete guess?

 

Actually the request if having the cache owners name was a popular one. But I guess it really doesn't matter to those who have their heart set on complaining....

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I wish GS would ask its paying members what they want and work on that, not spend time and PM$$ on useless crap that doesn't improve the game in any way.

Let's face it, even if they did that, there is rarely something that everybody wants. If they implement something 50% of the members want, 25% will remark they don't care about it, and 10% will hate it, and 1% will proclaim it is the end of geocaching as we know it.

So much this. :D

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Here is a copy of a post that I just made on the release notes forum:

 

As you have seen with the publish notifications, we are experimenting with multi-part emails. We will see how the first set of tests go and then investigate to doing the same with other messages.

Couln't you have just asked us before making the changes? It seems worth the effort compared to the risk of negative feedback (such as what you have been receiving).

 

We can definitely re-assess the subject lines and content format based on feedback (only a fraction of which comes from the forums, by the way). Overall, though, the design team felt that most cachers preferred seeing the cache name called out first and foremost rather than the log owner name.

Is this based on any data that they collected at all?

 

The team felt that the benefits of releasing without that change outweighed the negatives of waiting another week, A-Team.

Again, did "the team" have any reason to feel this way, or was it a complete guess?

 

Actually the request if having the cache owners name was a popular one. But I guess it really doesn't matter to those who have their heart set on complaining....

 

Are you suggesting that I am?

 

And that was not my point. Nothing in my post was about the cache owners name...unsure.gif

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Here is a copy of a post that I just made on the release notes forum:

 

As you have seen with the publish notifications, we are experimenting with multi-part emails. We will see how the first set of tests go and then investigate to doing the same with other messages.

Couln't you have just asked us before making the changes? It seems worth the effort compared to the risk of negative feedback (such as what you have been receiving).

 

We can definitely re-assess the subject lines and content format based on feedback (only a fraction of which comes from the forums, by the way). Overall, though, the design team felt that most cachers preferred seeing the cache name called out first and foremost rather than the log owner name.

Is this based on any data that they collected at all?

 

The team felt that the benefits of releasing without that change outweighed the negatives of waiting another week, A-Team.

Again, did "the team" have any reason to feel this way, or was it a complete guess?

 

Actually the request if having the cache owners name was a popular one. But I guess it really doesn't matter to those who have their heart set on complaining....

 

Are you suggesting that I am?

 

And that was not my point. Nothing in my post was about the cache owners name...unsure.gif

 

I knew that :rolleyes:

Read it too fast on my phone thought it said cache owners name, but it says cache name. Just seeing if you're paying attention and all that... :ph34r:

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Three nits to pick.

 

1. Reading flow. You can be reading a nice, interesting user-generated log, then run straight into Groundspeak-generated boilerplate ("Happy geocaching, Geocaching HQ") because it uses the same font and there's no divider. The "speaker" has changed, so there should be a subtle way to indicate that. (Same complaint as "This entry was edited...", but I see you finally added some square brackets around that. Smaller font would've been great as well, but hey, I'll take it, thanks.)

 

2. "Oh snap"? I had to go look that up. It appears to be regional slang (US region), and according to the Google, it has negative tones. Seems an odd place to use negative slang...

 

3. As suggested, please shorten the email titles. What's wrong with "[GEO]" instead of "Bookmark Notification"?

 

On a positive note, thank you for finally including the cache owner in the published notifications.

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I thought the "Oh, snap!" was rather odd too. At least around here, it is the same as saying "Darn it!" or "Oh, no!"

 

Do they really want it to be "Oh, no! A new geocache was just published!" huh.gif

 

EDIT:

 

I checked urban dictionary, and it seems there are a few positive connotations. Here's what they said for related words (I've blurred out the ones that are...you know...let's just say they start with "f" "d" and "s"):

SJZTjPO.png

Edited by ADKer

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I thought the "Oh, snap!" was rather odd too. At least around here, it is the same as saying "Darn it!" or "Oh, no!"

 

Do they really want it to be "Oh, no! A new geocache was just published!" huh.gif

 

Yeah...seems more appropriate for a DNF log, maybe...

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I don't like html-mails as well! Please offer the option of receiving those notifications in plain-text!!

 

+1, please bring text-only mail back <_<

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Still wishing notification emails could be turned off in lieu of in-app notifications. I hate GS's reliance on email for everything.

 

~sigh~

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Instead, I feel like there's just a sentiment of "We know what's best for cachers" coming from Seattle, and that's unfortunate. This is the best hobby on Earth (and space!) and it would be refreshing to feel a responsiveness and willingness to do better as it pertains to common concerns from those with the wherewithal to effort that change.

 

As a Mac user the problems that I have encountered, and the responses from Groundspeak I have received over the last six months I've basically given up on the concept of Groundspeak listening to us. We will simply have to adapt and carry on. In this case that means I get to redo all my inbox rules (again, since they killed PQs in email last month).

 

I get the feeling that a specific client hardware platform is being targeted and there is no concern about differences from that model. From what I can tell the supported Groundspeak client package involves a Windows 8 laptop running GSAK and an iPhone 5s with an unlimited LTE data plan in an area blanketed with coverage.

 

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In one fell swoop, all of my filters for email alerts have been rendered useless.

I have to admit, a lot of the bitching here strikes me as just being upset about change. But the broken filter issue is quite an accurate slam against these changes. I might not be quite so shocked if the original subject line wasn't so obviously designed to encourage filtering based on specific keywords that they now suddenly eliminated.

 

As it happens, I don't filter, so this didn't affect me, but I can still recognize it as a dumb mistake.

 

I understand the other objections, and some, of course, have practical implications that I'm glad people are bringing up. And I generally don't like it when people use HTML in e-mail just because they can. But I have to admit, the way I use the notifications, this change is a minor improvement, and certainly not the Apocalypse.

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In one fell swoop, all of my filters for email alerts have been rendered useless.

I have to admit, a lot of the bitching here strikes me as just being upset about change. But the broken filter issue is quite an accurate slam against these changes. I might not be quite so shocked if the original subject line wasn't so obviously designed to encourage filtering based on specific keywords that they now suddenly eliminated.

 

As it happens, I don't filter, so this didn't affect me, but I can still recognize it as a dumb mistake.

 

I understand the other objections, and some, of course, have practical implications that I'm glad people are bringing up. And I generally don't like it when people use HTML in e-mail just because they can. But I have to admit, the way I use the notifications, this change is a minor improvement, and certainly not the Apocalypse.

 

The issue with change, at least in my camp, is not that a change occurred. It's that an unannounced change occurred that significantly changed things.

First the PQ zip files disappeared. Granted there are alternatives but all of a sudden I had to scramble to rework my GPS load procedure rather than getting a message that says, hey this is going away in thirty days so change now. No instead my 5 minute GPS load became an hour long rework the process. Not good when I'm about to head out caching.

 

Now the HTML email. You know what, I like the HTML email. Looks better. I don't like suddenly seeing my iPhone light up with all the messages that were supposed to be filtering into subfolders. Again, a little notice would have been nice here. For a company that has a monthly update cycle and what appears to be a planned changelog, I don't see why we can't get advance notice of major workflow changes coming up. Thank goodness they don't run these changes on Friday afternoons.

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My take on this is that Groundspeak seems to have designed the notifications to make them more appealing to new geocachers, and in the process alienated a number of those who have been geocaching for a few years.

 

What is surprising is that there is no option for plain text emails. Personally, I don't care, but many do, some vehemently, and it is a simple thing to do.

 

Groundspeak did it again : made sweeping changes to something fundamental without asking for feedback first. The forum users have been responding to this in the expected fashion : by threatening to cancel their premium membership, and archiving their caches.

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4abe4dd4-3135-4d3a-a1d7-61221fba9689.png

I don't see that. Is this a shopped mockup, or a screen shot of a new feature that you can see but I don't?

 

PS to Groundspeak, Nit #4:

This page is really hard to find. It's not under the Lists tab in the profile, where it would seem to logically belong. After some digging I found it via the Lists pulldown from the Your Profile Javascript menu. Awkward design.

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4abe4dd4-3135-4d3a-a1d7-61221fba9689.png

I don't see that. Is this a shopped mockup, or a screen shot of a new feature that you can see but I don't?

 

PS to Groundspeak, Nit #4:

This page is really hard to find. It's not under the Lists tab in the profile, where it would seem to logically belong. After some digging I found it via the Lists pulldown from the Your Profile Javascript menu. Awkward design.

 

Sorry for no context -- this is a mockup of how I would like it to work.

 

It is easy to move stuff around on a Paint screen -- its a whole other thing to set up and integrate the underlying processes to make something like that work.

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We are definitely listening to you and your opinions. Based on the feedback we are receiving here and elsewhere, we will be making some changes today to correct some of the issues that people have raised. Please hold off on updating your email filters until the dust settles, and thank you for your patience!

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The issue with change, at least in my camp, is not that a change occurred. It's that an unannounced change occurred that significantly changed things.

I guess that's why I mentioned it: there are, in my opinion, a lot of mistakes here. But if I were GS, I'm not sure I'd be able to hear those details in all this is whining about it being different. Yes, several people are posting detailed problems and suggestions, but just look at the thread: many of the posts are literally "I want the old e-mail back".

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My take on this is that Groundspeak seems to have designed the notifications to make them more appealing to new geocachers, and in the process alienated a number of those who have been geocaching for a few years.

 

What is surprising is that there is no option for plain text emails. Personally, I don't care, but many do, some vehemently, and it is a simple thing to do.

 

Groundspeak did it again : made sweeping changes to something fundamental without asking for feedback first. The forum users have been responding to this in the expected fashion : by threatening to cancel their premium membership, and archiving their caches.

 

This is how i see it as well. Gc.com is going for the bling all over the site which many of us simply don't care for. Even though most of this bling isn't that helpful, it's still appealing, especially to newer, probably younger, cachers. ;)

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4abe4dd4-3135-4d3a-a1d7-61221fba9689.png

I don't see that. Is this a shopped mockup, or a screen shot of a new feature that you can see but I don't?

 

PS to Groundspeak, Nit #4:

This page is really hard to find. It's not under the Lists tab in the profile, where it would seem to logically belong. After some digging I found it via the Lists pulldown from the Your Profile Javascript menu. Awkward design.

 

Sorry for no context -- this is a mockup of how I would like it to work.

 

It is easy to move stuff around on a Paint screen -- its a whole other thing to set up and integrate the underlying processes to make something like that work.

 

I think there actually used to be a setting like this. But at least for the weekly emails Ground$peak switched to HTML regardlessly almost two years ago. (Last plain text received 2012-07-26 and html on 2012-08-02.)

 

I would also prefer plain text for the mails, but I actually do think that the cache name first is ok, for watchlist mails. This is so far my opinion for the watch list mails only. For example some other order could be more appropriate for owner mails. But please shorten the redundant part (remove "notiication") of the subject. I too have a mail client that shows only a short subset from the beginning of a long subject.

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Add me to the list. I want the old style back. No unnessesary trafic!!!

 

Greets, Andreas from Germany

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Contacted the mothership yesterday about the issue and was replied back: All of our notification emails going forward will be sent in HTML format, which most email providers support (e.g. gmail, outlook, etc).

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First post for me in this forum. This matter is so important for me.

 

The first thing I did when I noticed these new style of notifications was that I went to see my Account Details / Preferences. I can still choose between GPX 1.0 and GPX 1.0.1 or change between Imperial and Metric distance units, but I can't choose between Text based and HTML notifications.

 

There is a reason why Text vs. HTML email is a user choice in most services. The mobile devices have limited ability to cope with HTML. In my WP8 phone the word wrap does not work with these new HTML notifications. I have to scroll from left to right to be able to read the message. There are no problems with text based emails.

 

Now that the topic of adding value to the notification emails is brought up, I have a suggestion that should make all filterers happy:

 

Add notification meta information to the email headers.

 

For example:

 

X-Groundspeak-Notification-Type: Publish

X-Groundspeak-Cache-Type: Unknown cache

X-Groundspeak-Cache-Difficulty: 1

X-Groundspeak-Cache-Name: Fix email notifications for good

X-Groundspeak-Cache-Owner: happy-paying-customer

X-Groundspeak-Favorites: over 9000

With this kind of headers in place you can change the Subject line format every day and anyone doing automatic actions based on notification emails can rely on those headers. Keep it simple and use best practices.

 

Yes, this will increase the email size, but there is a clear benefit on the receiver side. Or better yet, make these headers an option that can be chosen by the customer.

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For example:

 

X-Groundspeak-Notification-Type: Publish

X-Groundspeak-Cache-Type: Unknown cache

X-Groundspeak-Cache-Difficulty: 1

X-Groundspeak-Cache-Name: Fix email notifications for good

X-Groundspeak-Cache-Owner: happy-paying-customer

X-Groundspeak-Favorites: over 9000

 

+1 for this idea. I could then set my mail server to discard the whole message content and just send me the headers. Hmmm, maybe add the GC code somewhere too.

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I've got the problem solved (at least for me). I'll archive all my caches - hence no more notifications. Then, I'll remove all the new cache listing notifications. When I want to cache, I'll just enter the coordinates where I am and look for caches I haven't found. Problem solved.

 

It seems like all the little froggies in the lily pond don't have anything better to do than create a more unusable product.

 

Just sayin!!!!!!!!!!!! :( :( :(

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I've got the problem solved (at least for me). I'll archive all my caches - hence no more notifications. Then, I'll remove all the new cache listing notifications. When I want to cache, I'll just enter the coordinates where I am and look for caches I haven't found. Problem solved.

 

It seems like all the little froggies in the lily pond don't have anything better to do than create a more unusable product.

 

Just sayin!!!!!!!!!!!! :( :( :(

 

Kind of drastic thing to do just to avoid getting some emails. Why not just create a separate email just for geocaching and then only access that email when you aren't worried about data caps? Or use the "+ method" in gmail to filter GC emails to a folder and then turn mobile notifications off for that folder?

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