I was also surprised why I’m suddenly getting email notifications from Discourse. I don’t get any emails for any other topics that I’m contributing to, so getting emails for this category is … very unexpected.
Note that my in the URLs above is a “magic” endpoint which should redirect to the right place for any logged-in user.
You can also configure watching for any particular category by browsing to that category and selecting the bell icon.
I double-checked, and the category is muted by default; the @packager group is configured to change that to watching for any new members (a one time thing when someone joins the group — it isn’t fixed that way).
This seemed like an obvious good idea to me, and I apologize for the surprise. After Flock, we’re looking at making a real Discourse Team so it is no longer At The Whim of Matthew, which is definitely not the proper Fedora way to do things.
I think “configure relevant watches in a sensible default” is in general a good thing to do, but probably there also should be a “please leave my notification settings alone; I’ll handle it!” checkbox.
I understand now that anyone who is a packager was opted in by default to this category. I feel like this was not the best practice. Even though I am a packager, it is not the primary way I contribute in Fedora. In this way, it felt like I am being subscribed to a new mailing list that I did not consent to.
I think we might want to consider undoing the “watch by default” option for this group. We should ask for consent first before flipping the bit for a group of users to start watching a new tag or category.
To me, it seems nice for my notification preference defaults to correspond to the Fedora groups I’m in. It seems like a way to make some areas of the site visible to those they’re relevant to without overwhelming everyone else.
I didn’t want anyone to miss something they might care about. Specifically, didn’t want anyone watching Project Discussion / package-maintainers to not realize that these posts aren’t going there anymore and miss them.
This might not have been the best way to address this, but that’s what I was thinking.
I definitely get the “unwillingly signed up to new mailing list” analog, though. What if we change it to “Tracking”? That will un-mute the category for that user, and cause the category to display a count of new posts (that’s what’s tracked with that setting) in the web UI. I won’t change it again for existing site members, though!
I think making it a question could be kind of annoying in its own way, though. Justin, I see that you are in 31 groups. Would you really want to be bombarded by some two dozen prompts shortly after your first login to Discourse?
And there are defaults — for all new users, some categories are set to be watched, others left “regular”, others watch-first-post only] ↩︎
This is a better default, although I still do not like the idea of changing people’s default notifications without their explicit consent.
We are crawling into sensitive territory here though. People set up their notifications in the way that they set up their notifications. For example, unexpected changes to my notification preferences has honestly made keeping up with Discourse hard for me personally. I am often overwhelmed with Discourse in a way that I was not with mailing lists.
Is this to say that you would not undo this change and keep sponsored packagers subscribed to this category anyways? I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Normally Discourse has an option when changing site-wide defaults about whether you want to apply this change only to new accounts or to all accounts regardless of whether they have it configured it. Did this option not come up when setting up the group to automatically watch the category?
If it did not, could we ask the Discourse developers to make sure that option works for group-level notifications and not just site-wide notifications? I have a very strong opinion that we should not change notifications for existing users without their explicit consent.
I would want it to be a manual process especially because I am in many groups. I might be a member of some groups but not wish to follow every post and conversation. I might not be in a group but still want to follow every post and conversation in another tag. Group membership does not correlate to my notification preferences for discussion.
Pre-configured defaults for new users is one thing, but the Fedora Discussion site has grown a lot since we launched in June/July 2018. We cannot change notification preferences for other users without first asking for their consent. Otherwise, I have a hard time seeing the difference between creating a new Mailman list and mass-subscribing a bunch of people based on a FAS group email dump. I don’t like that…
Maybe I did not explain this well enough. The global default for this category is “muted”, which effectively hides it. One can find it and unhide it, but it’s not particularly obvious. Setting the category to “normal” would unhide it, without enabling any notifications. “Tracking” is one step up from that — still no notifications, but new topics will show up in https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/unread.
I mean, I guess we could, but just seems like following up a mistake with more chaos. Suddenly, packagers who want to be watching the category won’t.
It has the same behavior. But, at the time I set it, the @packaging group was new, and so had no members. We could use this to change the setting for everyone, if that’s what we think is best.
Sure — I certainly wouldn’t suggest we force it. But it seems to me like a reasonable way to set defaults, and you can manually review and change things as you like. I don’t think you really want 31 different “consent” prompts, do you? I’d rather have an introductory message saying:
Notification defaults are set based on Fedora account group membership. You can:
To expand on this a bit: I think the @packager group (followed closely by the quality team is an outlier. I shouldn’t have set that to “Watching”, because it affects so many people. Most teams are much smaller, and I think it’s reasonable for each team to decide what effects they want membership to have. (Again, they can be changed — and as also noted, if you want, all email notifications can be turned off.)
Ugh. From my point of view, I have been subscribed without my knowledge to a new category. I am now receiving mails for new posts, which land in my Inbox – if I had made a conscious choice on this, I would have created a filter, but since the choice was made for me, I don’t have a filter.
The alternative is that I now need to spend 15 minutes to read Discourse-specific instructions with Discourse-specific names of settings and choices to get rid of this.
Now multiply this with the number of members of the packagers group that isn’t actively using Discourse. Even if half of the 531 members of the packagers group are actively using Discourse, that’s now 66 hours of effort that you caused other people.
Please reconsider and change this default for everybody.