Thoughts on Private Messaging

    Jan 23 2015 | 6:13 pm
    Hi everyone,
    I am afraid to open up a can of worms here, and I am also afraid to get hopes up. But we are always looking into improving the website for everyone, and I'd like to know your thoughts on private messaging.
    It's an old request, and a popular one. But we'd like to make sure we are taking the right steps towards this. Instead of just dropping features in and then taking them away, I'd like to try and see if we can build towards these together. We don't need to hold hands or anything.
    If you can share some of your thoughts on this, we'd be able to get a better handle of what we can accomplish, and maybe even look into alternative solutions.
    - What are the benefits of private messaging for you? - Do you prefer to receive emails or email notifications or check messages on the website?

    • Jan 23 2015 | 9:05 pm
      Personally, Ginger, I think it would free up forum space and allow contributors to go off forum. I did use it when it was around. I wouldn't dream of commenting on the practical or ethical issues though. Again, personally, I don't like email notifications, my inbox is busy enough thx.
    • Jan 23 2015 | 9:50 pm
      Thanks, Brendan. That's an interesting point you make, with regards to freeing up forum space.
      If the intention is to free up forum space, is that because it's currently difficult to navigate through all the topics? What are the things/topics that would disappear (in a good way) if private messaging was implemented?
    • Jan 23 2015 | 10:21 pm
      Although I'd be for private messaging in general I think the potential for some discussions to be hidden could be a negative in terms of the kind of patches that are often shared in forum threads. I've found some of the best tricks in patches that people have posted in threads where I wasn't an active participant and I think that aspect of the forum aids the sense of this being an open, sharing community. Just my 2¢.
    • Jan 23 2015 | 10:22 pm
      Hey Ginger, private messaging was especially useful when you needed help from a particular forum user in an old forum topic. Freeing up the forum space means here (imho) that less old topic will be necroed in the hope that its original contributors will be aware of your request (this doesn't work always, of course...) Personnally i would happily get e-mail notifications if i receive a message on the c74 forum (with some mail sorting rules set in my messenger tool i can deal with it) but messages on the c74 website are quite cool imho - i prefer 100 times receiving them here than having those mails sent directly to my global inbox
    • Jan 23 2015 | 10:38 pm
      @stringtapper : i halfheartedly agree, that necroing such old topics can lead to cool (re-)discoveries. But didn't that happen before, when the private messaging system was still around ? Plus the fact that it is less than efficient to reach the person you want to is to be considered
    • Jan 23 2015 | 10:43 pm
      Ah. More insight here. So it's not necessarily about the privacy of the contents, but more about finding a way to reach a specific user for a specific reason.
      So if we have some kind of feature that allows a poster to create a topic, and at the same time, ping another user (or number of users), then the conversation will be more efficient. Maybe something like a feature that auto-subscribes a user to a topic?
      Or like when people get mentions on Twitter, they can get notifications.
    • Jan 23 2015 | 11:09 pm
      hm...involving another outside social thingy doesn't seem a good idea to me. I don't like to use my google account for everything like you have to nowadays, the same goes for facebook commetns, i like to keep separated virtual spaces (more or less separated) And if you could reach other members for an existing topic without aving to create a new topic... and i'm quite certain nobody would like to know that he can be subscribed to a topic without knowing it beforehand...
    • Jan 23 2015 | 11:12 pm
      But is it that much a problem, that private messaging system ? Is it expensive in terms of network infrastructure or something ?
    • Jan 23 2015 | 11:23 pm
      Oh, I wasn't suggesting actually integrating Twitter into the forums, but just remarking on the @mention feature itself.
      It's not so much an issue of infrastructure or implementation, but more of taking a step back and asking if private messaging is actually the solution for this. I'd like to be able to identify the problem absolutely before jumping the gun here. Because we might be able to come up with more creative (and efficient) solutions.
      But that being said, this is definitely helping. Thank you guys for the responses so far.
    • Jan 24 2015 | 12:46 pm
      Ah. More insight here. So it’s not necessarily about the privacy of the contents, but more about finding a way to reach a specific user for a specific reason.
      That's the main reason I'd say. For me it would be enough if PM was just the possibilty to send an e-mail to other users to initiate a direct contact, so I don't have to post my mail publicly where spam bots can find them.
      Risking to be off topic: What I am missing MUCH more than PM is the old advanced search function. Since it has disappeared many more questions are posted several times again and again, and it is so much more difficult to find already answered (specific) questions. But that's another issue.
    • Jan 24 2015 | 6:55 pm
      Thanks Raja and Jan.
      I agree. Posting emails publicly is not something we want to do. (And I'm glad Raja noticed the updated user URL's!)
      Jan, for the search function, I can look into this as well. I'll check back and possibly start a new thread later on. I'm starting with the PM's right now to see if this approach for getting feedback gets out of hand. So far, though, it's been very helpful. :)
    • Jan 24 2015 | 7:18 pm
      +1 for PM +1 for preference setting for email notification, i like it when the mail includes the actual PM text
      PM is in my view essential to any web community and i agree with the arguments already raised..
    • Jan 25 2015 | 1:58 am
      I agree with Raja on the local community aspect. There are lots of people doing Max in NYC, for example, but (AFAIK) there hasn't been a meetup in a long time, and it would be easier to organize here than a third party site.
      There are some times where it's really helpful to reach someone directly, especially since a lot of people don't post under their name.
      I'd prefer to get email notifications, but I understand people not wanting to. A checkbox for that would be great.
    • Jan 25 2015 | 2:13 am
      +1 for PM; the only reservation I have from pm is previously I found that sometimes students would ask me to do their max homework for them, via PM (presumably so they wouldn't get 'caught' by their teachers), that was annoying-- maybe somehow link PM to holders of a Max license???
    • Jan 25 2015 | 2:39 pm
      Don't agree there. I got serious job proposals through the forum in the past. Those would be ruled out with such a system.
      I also got the lazy students though.
    • Jan 25 2015 | 8:54 pm
      maybe overkill with the max license idea, but i don't think someone who has never posted before should be allowed to pm whomever they like, so maybe one can only pm after doing, say, 5 posts. They could still get in touch for job offers, if you have a web site link on your profile, if that's how you want to operate
    • Jan 26 2015 | 9:09 am
      It was just 1 of many examples where people that don't own a personal license could send valid PM's.
    • Jan 26 2015 | 6:35 pm
      I responded to
      They could still get in touch for job offers, if you have a web site link on your profile, if that’s how you want to operate
    • Jan 26 2015 | 6:51 pm
      There was a day when PMs were useful, but now I just get junk mail in them, and how many other social networks are there already since PMs emerged?
      So personally I would prefer to have a link to show up under the profile name on the left, which could be to a website or another community profile page.
      This also means googling for my work would include forum posts, so I have a more selfish reason to want that too :)
    • Jan 26 2015 | 7:24 pm
      Hi Ernest,
      If it helps, you can add these things on your profile page. There are a few new fields for Twitter and Facebook, as well as for your website.
      You can also indicate your level of comfort with Max, and add some more info, so users can know more about you and your work.
    • Jan 26 2015 | 7:47 pm
      Well thank you ginger. But what I am saying, selfishly, is I would like the option for the profile web link to show up on forum post pages on which i write. This is because when I was a Native Instruments customer, which does do that on its forums, my web page rankings were vastly boosted. And I think it good that people who help each other here are rewarded that way.
      With regards to PMs also, there is already a MAXMSP group on Facebook. In my opinion, it would therefore make much more sense for people to be able to link their facebook profile to their forum posts here, and share them with Facebook or other community portals with a button. That would bring people together much more than PMs, which is already available in so many other ways already anyway, in my opinion.
    • Jan 26 2015 | 10:49 pm
      Hey Ernest, mb that's just repeating myself, but i'm not really interested in linking my facebook profile to that very forum. A personnal professional website would be a whole another story (or git repo or whatever), anyway i join you on the customizable link visible under user icon in forums - just don't think it would be a replacement for a pm system imho. Plus, i'm not sure ever received junk mailthrough a forum-only pm system (though i don't have that much experience in that regard - i still have a little though - very little)
    • Jan 28 2015 | 10:28 am
      You realize you're spending too much time in Max when, after reading this topic's title, you think that it relates to the local use of send and receive objects inside subpatchers/bpatchers (with the #0 argument or --- in M4L).
      Anyway, I miss the old PM functionality but, as JAN commented before, I miss the advanced search functionality much more!
      But I'm sure we'll get there!
    • Jan 28 2015 | 7:53 pm
      the moment when i would use a PM system is when i want to talk to someone privately, but i dont have his email adress. ... well, what else.
      discussion about a certain project, or sharing your music simply do not belong into the forum (in my opinion) and PM is a useful channel here.
      we have not had PM since 6 years or so, i almost forgot about it!
    • Jan 28 2015 | 7:55 pm
      one of the benefits is that you can be reached by email without having to reveal your adress publicy.
    • Feb 11 2015 | 11:41 pm
      Hi friends.
      So, just a heads-up, but we are releasing a small feature to test here. Similar to private messaging, but not quite. It's just a little bit simpler.
      I guess it's more like public direct messaging. You will be able to create a new topic and invite a specific user to participate. The topic will still be public, but the invited user will be notified via email.
      We're looking to address your thoughts on pinging people directly, instead of throwing a message in a bottle out to sea.
      Watch out for the update in the next few hours. A new icon should appear below user profiles, which will allow you to do this.
      And for those who want to opt-out, or prefer not to be notified for any of this, an option will also appear in your profiles to block users from creating new topics with you.
    • Feb 12 2015 | 2:32 am
      a forced-notify function with additional blocklist option? this feels like this is what has been built by accident and now we are trying to find a purpose for it.
      about the lazy students: i think such requests are covered by the (unexpressed but valid) "no spam" netiquette for the forums (including the PMs in the forums.)
      fraud atempts should be communicated tranparently, so they always blong into the forums.
    • Feb 12 2015 | 11:01 am
      Hi Ginger, what's the reasoning behind this approach? Why not the standard, tried 'n tested PM system? With this approach I 'd still not communicate private things that I don't want to put on a public forum, whether they're dirty little secrets or just too off-topic to be of relevance to anyone else than the one I'm chatting with. It could be a C74 decision not to accommodate that but I'm wondering if it's a conscious one.
    • Feb 12 2015 | 11:18 pm
      Hi DTR. Thanks for bringing this up. It's definitely a relevant question.
      I think for the most part, the larger goal of the website and forum is to help everyone share projects and questions, get help and learn from each other. It really isn't within that scope to host people's dirty little secrets or off-topic conversations.
      That, along with the issues of privacy and spam-related concerns, makes the implementation of a full-scale PM system a bit trickier for our context. We're more interested in building a platform that helps everyone out, from beginners to experts. And the more open we can be, I think the better conversations we can all have.
    • Feb 12 2015 | 11:25 pm
      @GINGER The concerns are understandable. Still the posting email situation is also a real life scenario.
      What about a simple pinging thing. A button that sends an email to another user simply saying: "User FooBar wants to send you an e-mail, you can write him/her under foobar@awsomemail.baz". Like this only the requesting user reveals his/her mail and there could be even a profile option to disable pinging. And finally I can choose to ignore a ping.
    • Feb 17 2015 | 5:07 pm
      The new "Invite" feature.
      @GINGER and @All, I believe that the "Invite to a discussion" would work better, if we could invite/ask a specific user to join an existing thread. I.e. I know that User XYZ is a Java-Dev crack, but probably (s)he hasn't seen the discussion. What about sending him/her a ping asking if (s)he would like to contribute to the discussion? (again one might be able to opt out in profile settings).
    • Feb 18 2015 | 11:28 pm
      That's exactly what I'm working on, @Jan. An interface that allows users to search for other others by their display names, and then send a quick ping with a link to the topic.