Message Broadcast problems and tips to avoid them

Share discussions around the Classic Local Unit Website (LUWS).
dragev
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Message Broadcast problems and tips to avoid them

Postby dragev » Thu May 24, 2007 10:13 am

Occasionally I have used the Message Broadcast feature available to stake and ward website administrators. I thought I would share some problems I have encountered so that others can avoid these problems.

From the recipients point of view, the message you send via the Message Broadcast appears as a personal message from you and not as a broadcast to a set of web site users. The fact that you sent the message as a broadcast to a set of users is not established automatically in the message.

This may be a problem if your message only makes sense in the context of the stake/ward web site and/or a set of users. Avoid this problem by establishing the context in your message explicitly. You may also find it helpful to add a "signature" at the end of all your broadcast messages that establishes the fact that you sent the message because of your role as stake/ward web site administrator.

Another common problem I have encountered is that recipients assume that they need to update you with their new or preferred e-mail address, rather than sign-in and update their profile. You may want to add a note to every message that this message was sent to the e-mail address in their user profile and add brief instructions on how to update their profile.

For illustration purposes (and you may want to use this as a template), my signature is:
[INDENT]--
Vegard McFadzean
Stake Web Site Administrator
Calgary Alberta North Stake
E-mail: [...]
Phone: [...]

This message was sent via the stake web site to the e-mail address in your stake and ward web sites user account profile. To view and update your profile, sign-in at https://secure.lds.org/units and go to the "Update Profile" page.[/INDENT]Has anyone encountered other problems and have tips for avoiding them?

Update: The feature is actually called "E-mail Broadcast" in the admin site not "Message Broadcast"

dragev
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Extraneous blank lines

Postby dragev » Thu May 24, 2007 12:34 pm

Another problem with the E-mail Broadcast and also "Send an e-mail" (by clicking the mail icon next to a member in the Membership or Leadership Directory) features is that the system adds a blank line to every line in your message. So when you compose your messages with a blank line in between each paragraph, when the message is delivered, the recipients will actually see three blank lines instead of one between the paragraphs. To avoid this problem remove all blank lines between your paragraphs before sending the message.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about lines that you don't want to be separated by a blank line, for example, lines in your signature.

In other words, every line in your message will result in at least one blank line between "paragraphs" and three blank lines between "paragraphs" will result if you send the message with blank lines between "paragraphs".

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Fri May 25, 2007 7:51 am

Something else you might want to add to your message is that your broadcast may be sent to only specific groups, but the members themselves select what groups they belong to.

So if you're sending something to YSA and leaders, you might want to say "This message was sent to all YSA and Unit leaders. If you no longer wish to receive messages for this group, please update your user profile."

And let's not forget the biggest issue: All invalid email addresses bounce back to you personally, but short of hunting down all the offenders and forcing them to update their profiles, there's nothing you can do about it. If your sending to a stake, the number of bouncebacks can be huge. LUWS 2.0 needs to deal with this issue.

dragev
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Postby dragev » Fri May 25, 2007 9:51 am

RussellHltn wrote:... If your sending to a stake, the number of bouncebacks can be huge...


My solution is to create a filter for my mail account that sweeps most of the bouncebacks out of sight. I use Gmail, so my filter specifically skips the Inbox, and applies a label if the message is from "daemon OR postmaster" and has the words "gmhwh.org" (part of the "mailed-by" header in messages sent through "MAILER-DAEMON@ldschurch.org"---to view "mailed-by" header, open a bounceback message and click on "show details"---and also shows up in the headers of the "original message" when bounceback messages are sent by other mailers such as "MAILER-DAEMON@yahoo.ca").

dragev
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"group" membership

Postby dragev » Fri May 25, 2007 10:41 am

RussellHltn wrote:...the members themselves select what groups they belong to...


I have identified three types of groups that can be selected to receive an E-mail Broadcast message:
  1. All [Stake or Ward depending on admin level] Users
  2. Auxiliary
  3. Leaders [Ward and also Stake if stake admin]
If I understand the "Leaders" type groups correctly, site users become members of "Leaders" groups based on their association to positions within the Leadership Directory. So in this case, members don't control their membership in "Leaders" type groups (these leadership associations are defined by the stake or ward administrator).

The "Auxilliary" type groups are a mystery to me? Specific "Auxiliary" type groups that can be selected are: High Priests, Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Single Adult, Young Single Adult, Young Men, Young Women, and Primary. I know that these groups correlate exactly to the "Notification Options" that members can specify in their profiles, but all users are members of at least one of these groups (either demographically or through leadership association) whether or not they desire "notifications" (when new site content is posted). The question comes down to this: Is an "E-mail Broadcast" also a "notification"? I personally don't think broadcasts and notifications are logically the same thing, but does the system treat them as the same thing? So, I don't know if users can "select what groups they belong to" in the context of e-mail broadcasts. Does anyone else know?

edwardlalone
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Postby edwardlalone » Sat May 26, 2007 12:59 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Something else you might want to add to your message is that your broadcast may be sent to only specific groups, but the members themselves select what groups they belong to.

So if you're sending something to YSA and leaders, you might want to say "This message was sent to all YSA and Unit leaders. If you no longer wish to receive messages for this group, please update your user profile."

And let's not forget the biggest issue: All invalid email addresses bounce back to you personally, but short of hunting down all the offenders and forcing them to update their profiles, there's nothing you can do about it. If your sending to a stake, the number of bouncebacks can be huge. LUWS 2.0 needs to deal with this issue.


You can set up a filter for bouncebacks, and have them delivered to a folder or deleted automatically. I don't think this is a problem that can be addressed by LUWS instead it is something that you have to do yourself unless LUWS provides an internal email system for administrators which I think is out of the scope of the purpose of the Unit Websites.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun May 27, 2007 2:29 am

dragev wrote:I have identified three types of groups that can be selected to receive an E-mail Broadcast message:
  1. All [Stake or Ward depending on admin level] Users
  2. Auxiliary
  3. Leaders [Ward and also Stake if stake admin]
\


Interesting. In the user profile I see: All, High Priests, Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Young Men, Young Women, Primary, Single Adults and Young Single Adults. These appear to determine what email notification of calendar events one receives. I'm not sure if it applies email broadcasts or not. I agree that the "leaders" is probably based on position as recorded in LUWS. But since LUWS doesn't record what "quorums" one belongs to, I think the "auxiliary" level broadcasts are self-selected though the user profile. That's actually a good idea since a parent may want to receive emails about things that affect their children.

dragev
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Auto-group membership

Postby dragev » Sun May 27, 2007 6:13 am

RussellHltn wrote:LUWS doesn't record what "quorums" one belongs to...


But LUWS does get information directly from the membership database (as evidenced by the Membership Directory)! I think that LUWS 2.0 should group members automatically in their priesthood quorums/groups and auxiliaries.

High Priest and Elders Quorum grouping can be automated based on the priesthood recorded on the record of male members. Relief Society, Young Men, Young Women, Primary, Single Adult (SA), and Young Single Adult are all based on age and/or gender and that information can be obtained from a member's record too. Furthermore, for YM, YW, and Primary, parents and leaders (that can include several levels of leadership such as stake presidency, if stake context, and bishopric or branch presidency and YM presidency for YM) can be grouped automatically with the children. For HP, EQ, RS, SA and YSA, the stake presidencies (if stake broadcast) and bishoprics or branch presidencies of members in those groups should also receive the e-mail.

RussellHltn wrote:...I think the "auxiliary" level broadcasts are self-selected though the user profile. That's actually a good idea since a parent may want to receive emails about things that affect their children.


As suggested above, parents can be automatically grouped with their children, but the idea of having members opt into messages intended for groups they have no association with may be useful for some members, like a bulletin editor, for example.

dragev wrote:...I personally don't think broadcasts and notifications are logically the same thing...


I think it is important to distinguish "notifications" from e-mail broadcasts, although because the "notifications" system is broken, I find myself using e-mail broadcasts on occasion to "notify" members of new content on the site.

Is anyone in the Church IT department gathering these suggestions for considering in the design of LUWS 2.0?


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