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niraD

[FEATURE] Integrate Message Center with Email

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When I get email notices from Facebook, I can reply to that email and any comments in my reply will be added automatically to the status message or photo or event or whatever the notice was referring to.

 

It would be very useful if one could do the same thing with email notices about Message Center threads. This would allow those who prefer the Message Center to communicate easily with those who prefer email. For example:

 

MCCacher could post a message to EmailGuy in the Message Center. Then EmailGuy would receive an email notice with the text of MCCacher's message (just as it works today). Then EmailGuy would reply to that email notice, and (as a new feature) that reply would be added to the thread in the Message Center. There, MCCacher would read it and could reply to it. Then EmailGuy would receive another email notice, and the conversation could continue, alternating between email and the Message Center.

 

Of course, this assumes that EmailGuy gets an email notice every time a message is posted in the Message Center. Although multiple messages posted in quick succession (e.g., EarthCache messages that require more than 1000 characters) could be treated as a single message, and could all be include in a single email notice.

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MCCacher could post a message to EmailGuy in the Message Center. Then EmailGuy would receive an email notice with the text of MCCacher's message (just as it works today). Then EmailGuy would reply to that email notice, and (as a new feature) that reply would be added to the thread in the Message Center. There, MCCacher would read it and could reply to it. Then EmailGuy would receive another email notice, and the conversation could continue, alternating between email and the Message Center.

 

But what if Emailguy does not want his reply to end up on GS servers? (Like was written by someone in another thread). People may have good reasons to not have data on US servers.

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But what if Emailguy does not want his reply to end up on GS servers? (Like was written by someone in another thread). People may have good reasons to not have data on US servers.
If you don't want any of your data on US servers, then you're going to have a tough time listing caches, posting logs, posting forum messages, or otherwise using Groundspeak's servers.

 

I really don't think this suggestion changes anything in this regard.

 

Besides, EmailGuy could still contact MCCacher some other way if he really wanted to.

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If you don't want any of your data on US servers, then you're going to have a tough time listing caches, posting logs, posting forum messages, or otherwise using Groundspeak's servers.

 

The examples you give are public postings not e-mail. E-mail between EU cachers can be done without using US servers, MC can't

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So first of all, let's all acknowledge that GS is pushing the message center because they want to get in on the messaging market, so what we think about it isn't very important.

 

So hypothetically, I think your proposal is good, except I'd describe the feature in a completely different way. First, e-mail continues to work the way it always has -- well, except with the new features that they're wasting on the message center such as attaching pictures and sending mail in reference to a specific cache. People that prefer message like conversations can use Message Center as their e-mail client: it looks just like today's Message Center to them, but when contacting non-message center cachers, it sends e-mail through the normal e-mail system with a return address that directs replies back to the message center where the system will add them to the McCacher's conversation in just the way the OP suggests.

 

Yes, replies would be in the message center for messages sent from the message center, but that's no different than the fact that your replies are on gmail if someone sends you mail from gmail.

 

But I feel compelled to mention that I still don't really understand why anyone would use the message center to begin with, so for my money it would be easier to stop wasting resources on it and just get rid of it.

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Actually, I think part of the reason Groundspeak is pushing the message center is because they want to minimize the hassle of running a high-volume email distribution system. Their email servers don't get reported as spam servers when people use the Message Center, and the Message Center doesn't get blacklisted by huge service providers like AOL or Comcast, reducing the time a lackey has to spend getting Groundspeak's servers off the blacklists.

 

Anyway, I'm not really an advocate for the Message Center either. I've used it to send and receive test messages, but I haven't used it for real communication. I wouldn't mind at all if the real features of the Message Center (image attachments, "contact cache owner" links, automatic GC code and cache name, etc.) were incorporated into the email system, if email address validation were made mandatory, and if the Message Center went away.

 

But I am an advocate for improving communication among geocachers. And if the Message Center is going to stay (and I see no indication that it will go away), then I think it should be better integrated with the existing communication channels.

 

Volunteer reviewers have stated that they prefer to be contacted via email rather than via the Message Center. EarthCache owners have stated that they prefer to be contacted via email rather than via the Message Center. Others have stated that they prefer to be contacted via email rather than via the Message Center.

 

It seems to me that an email bridge is essential if the Message Center is going to be an effective communication tool for those who want to use it.

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Actually, I think part of the reason Groundspeak is pushing the message center is...

I have yet another interpretation of the reasoning behind the Message Center!

 

While getting into the messaging market may be part of it, I think the Message Center was primarily conceived as a way to deal with the inability to contact members with unverified email addresses. The ideal situation would have been to simply enforce validation, but it seems like anything that could potentially be a barrier to members getting into the game is a no-go, no matter how beneficial that barrier may be to the game as a whole. Instead, they decided to just leave that problem alone and workaround it by creating a method of communication that could be used by those members. If certain features like the one being proposed here by niraD had been included, the Message Center would have been usable by most and there wouldn't have been such a large backlash (it could still be salvaged if they do this). Unfortunately, it seems they didn't put enough thought into how the system would be used by verified members, and the design, implementation, and roll-out have left a lot to be desired.

 

I'm not so sure about their trying to get out of the email distribution business. The MC still sends out emails - most of which are nearly identical since they don't contain the message content - so I can totally see them still getting blacklisted.

 

I guess all we can do is hope that they integrate the Message Center with email and make the other oft-suggested changes to the MC (ie. larger input box, >1000 characters, etc.), and then we'd have a usable system. If they can't do these things, an opt-out system will be vital, because there are already people refusing to acknowledge MC messages and I can see that only getting worse.

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Actually, I think part of the reason Groundspeak is pushing the message center is because they want to minimize the hassle of running a high-volume email distribution system. Their email servers don't get reported as spam servers when people use the Message Center, and the Message Center doesn't get blacklisted by huge service providers like AOL or Comcast, reducing the time a lackey has to spend getting Groundspeak's servers off the blacklists.

 

Anyway, I'm not really an advocate for the Message Center either. I've used it to send and receive test messages, but I haven't used it for real communication. I wouldn't mind at all if the real features of the Message Center (image attachments, "contact cache owner" links, automatic GC code and cache name, etc.) were incorporated into the email system, if email address validation were made mandatory, and if the Message Center went away.

 

But I am an advocate for improving communication among geocachers. And if the Message Center is going to stay (and I see no indication that it will go away), then I think it should be better integrated with the existing communication channels.

 

Volunteer reviewers have stated that they prefer to be contacted via email rather than via the Message Center. EarthCache owners have stated that they prefer to be contacted via email rather than via the Message Center. Others have stated that they prefer to be contacted via email rather than via the Message Center.

 

It seems to me that an email bridge is essential if the Message Center is going to be an effective communication tool for those who want to use it.

 

If the issue were truly a large e-mail database and avoiding blacklists, wouldn't they still have those issues with the monthly newsletter?

 

Mrs. Car54

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If the issue were truly a large e-mail database and avoiding blacklists, wouldn't they still have those issues with the monthly newsletter?

 

Not only that, since they send out an e-mail whenever someone sends a message through the MC, the amount of e-mails sent will probably be the same.

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If the issue were truly a large e-mail database and avoiding blacklists, wouldn't they still have those issues with the monthly newsletter?

 

Mrs. Car54

They do. See the efforts by ecanderson to get his weekly email in this forum or was it the technology forum.

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While getting into the messaging market may be part of it, I think the Message Center was primarily conceived as a way to deal with the inability to contact members with unverified email addresses.

If the primary concern were unverified e-mail addresses, they only needed the portion of the message center that allows unverified users to read e-mail sent to their unverified e-mail accounts. They wouldn't need the bigger part of the system that composes messages and shows conversations. The existing e-mail send would have worked fine for the unverified users sending e-mail, and would work much better for people trying to send them e-mail since now those people have to detect that they're unverified and choose how to contact them accordingly.

 

If certain features like the one being proposed here by niraD had been included, the Message Center would have been usable by most and there wouldn't have been such a large backlash (it could still be salvaged if they do this).

I can't speak for anyone else, but I would have objected to it simply on the grounds of duplication and the resulting confusion. So far, none of the proposed improvements or added features I've seen seem to do anything except make it almost as usable as e-mail.

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If the issue were truly a large e-mail database and avoiding blacklists, wouldn't they still have those issues with the monthly newsletter?

 

Mrs. Car54

They do. See the efforts by ecanderson to get his weekly email in this forum or was it the technology forum.

 

Oh yes, I know they currently have that problem. I was trying to say that the MC wasn't going to help that and therefore that couldn't have been the reason behind the MC. Hmm, I think I may have confused myself! :wacko:

 

Mrs. Car54

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Of course, this assumes that EmailGuy gets an email notice every time a message is posted in the Message Center. Although multiple messages posted in quick succession (e.g., EarthCache messages that require more than 1000 characters) could be treated as a single message, and could all be include in a single email notice.
Here's a discussion that explains why it is important to send an email notice for every message:

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=332375&view=findpost&p=5514314

 

The current system makes it harder for geocachers who prefer email to communicate with geocachers who prefer the Message Center.

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