Talk:Community health initiative/Allow users to restrict which user groups can send them direct emails

Looks good


This looks good...just make sure that in the final version you link expressions like "Autoconfirmed users" and "Extendedconfirmed users" and "Administrators"....(it took me months to figure out that there were something called "Administrators" back in the day when I started...) --Huldra (talk) 21:44, 20 September 2017 (UTC)Reply

@Huldra: I agree, and we may want to consider more descriptive names for the options — e.g. "All users except brand-new users" for autoconfirmed, "Experienced users" for extended confirmed and "Users with administrative permissions" for admins. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 22:10, 20 September 2017 (UTC)Reply
@TBolliger (WMF): Well, there is a definition of such users, isn't there? "Autoconfirmed users": 4 days, 10 edits, while "Extendedconfirmed users" are users with 30 days history, 500 edits, Just link to that would do, I think. --Huldra (talk) 22:18, 20 September 2017 (UTC)Reply
True, good point. Links are faily common inside Special:Preferences. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 22:31, 20 September 2017 (UTC)Reply

On wikis where a user has never edited


Uses Cases: Carrots is always logged-in to Wikipedia and visits many other Wikimedia sites but does not edit them (e.g. wiktionary, wikispecies, etc.) Carrots would not receive emails sent from wikis where she does not edit.

@TBolliger (WMF): I sure hope so. There's no need to make things overly complicated for a twice-a-year event. --Hedwig in Washington (talk) 04:04, 13 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

Defaults for new users


Why do you propose to make the new option the default for new users? I would keep the current functionality (receive mails from not autoconfirmed users) the default both for the transition (checkbox ticked in case 1) and for new users. --mfb (talk) 02:37, 13 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

I propose this to be the default because new users are not as familiar with the intricacies of preferences or this email feature. Setting a minor hurdle for people to email them is setting a minor protection on their behalf. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 19:24, 13 October 2017 (UTC)Reply
The vast majority of users won't be the target of abuse of the email function. The few cases who are can untick that checkbox. --mfb (talk) 03:00, 14 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

Unclear case in proposal 1: Don't receive emails but receive them from new accounts


Yes, that combination doesn't make sense, but if the software offers two checkboxes some users will do that. Is it planned to prevent users from setting that, e.g. by unticking/disabling the new tickbox if the user disables emails in general? If not, how would the system react to this setting? --mfb (talk) 02:41, 13 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

@Mfb: Great question, and you've made me realize I need to update the proposal to clarify. The 'Allow emails from other users' preference should be the master preference. If it is disabled, the 'Allow emails from brand-new users' preference should have no effect. To represent this in the UI, I believe if the 'Allow emails from other users' preference is disabled (unticked) then the 'Allow emails from brand-new users' option should be greyed out as the 'Talk page messages' tickbox is here. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 19:17, 13 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

Default option 'If a user has never edited on a wiki, they should never be able receive emails sent from that wiki'


That's not ok. It makes it impossible to contact such users e.g. if someone would like to take over their username. --MF-W 10:05, 16 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

@MF-Warburg: Yes, this makes it impossible to contact the user via email on that wiki. You could still manually find a wiki where they do edit and email them or write on their talk page. I'm curious — for your given example, how do you contact a user today if they do not have a registered email address? — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 18:51, 16 October 2017 (UTC)Reply
I am talking about users who don't edit any wiki. Read-only accounts (e.g. because people want to change the skin) are real. They have a reasonable expectation that they can be contacted by e-mail if they give their mail address in the preferences. --MF-W 13:41, 18 October 2017 (UTC)Reply
@MF-Warburg: I'm wondering if there is a workflow or work process that we are breaking or disrupting with this change? Or is solely a concern about reaching out to the person by email? SPoore (WMF) (talk) , Community Advocate, Community health initiative (talk) 00:27, 17 October 2017 (UTC)Reply
This happens when (regularly) someone wants to usurp a username that has never (or barely) been used to edit. Again, if a user sets a mail in the preferences, it should be reasonable to expect that he is OK with receiving mails, especially about someone wanting to take away his username. It should be no problem for harassed "power-users" to change their settings to not receiving mails. --MF-W 13:41, 18 October 2017 (UTC)Reply
@MF-Warburg: Is this the recommended workflow, and could you please provide a link if it is documented on your wiki? I still think it would be acceptable for the user who wants the username to write on their talk page. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 22:01, 23 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

@MF-Warburg: after some discussion on Meta, we have decided that for the "0 edits" group we will allow users in the groups bureaucrat, steward, wmf-supportsafety, and global-renamer to still have the ability to send email to these users. Does this address your concerns? — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 21:23, 30 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

If I would not have gone through this pages, I would not have even guessed, that other Wikimedians can not send me eMail on wikis where I did not edit. Of course, the question rises, why in the world would anybody try to send me eMail on such a wiki instead of simply using my talk page there? Unfortunately I may have some answer on grounds of my own case: I'm currently blocked infinitely on my home wikipedia and needlessly my user and talk pages got frozen. And if anybody wants to make a comment to me about my "case" they might not want this to go public, because they do not want to come in the focus of those who harassed me up to the point of blocking me infinitely. I have no idea if I can still be contacted via email on my home wiki. By reading the above mentioned unexpected restriction, I can imagine some more restrictions will apply unexpectedly.
So, for me the point is, that first of all this limitation can't possibly be expected by the common user. And secondly, if any such special rule is made up, it should have a very fine explanation to it, why it was a must to add it. And up to now I do not see any need for it. Please de-complicate the code! --Manorainjan 21:40, 30 October 2017 (UTC)Reply
Yes, this addresses my concerns. Please take into account however that global-renamer and wmf-supportsafety are local groups on Meta only, not global groups. To simplify things, it might be prudent to allow a user who is in one of the mentioned groups on any wiki to send mails from every wiki. --MF-W 09:07, 2 November 2017 (UTC)Reply
  • I think that contacting a user that never edited a wiki is a real issue. Personally in my case it happened twice:
    • Contacting a user whose name I wanted to usurp. Before SUL I have found out that NickK on English Wikibooks belonged to someone with zero edits. I had to usurp it for SUL, so I emailed that person with zero edits (I never got an answer, but that does not matter), and I did not belong to any group on English Wikibooks at that time.
    • Contacting a user who created an account for some purpose. For example, people may create accounts before workshops to avoid the well-known six-account limit. I remember seeing a user on Ukrainian Wikipedia who clearly registered to work on WLM lists as a part of a campaign but had an inappropriate username (a name of a local heritage organisation), thus they were asked to rename their account. The user had 0 edits at the time when they were contacted, but they eventually changed their name and we avoided a block.
    Thus cases when users with 0 edits should be contacted are real. Please do not disable emails for these people, there might be very good reasons to contact them. On the other hand, it might make sense for people to disable emails cross-wiki instead of disabling them wiki by wiki — NickK (talk) 00:36, 14 January 2018 (UTC)Reply

Feedback summary and updates, October 23


Feedback summary from the English Wikipedia and Meta Wiki discussions:

  • On wikis where a user has 1+ edits
    • General support for the need for this feature.
      • 3 explicit votes/nods from the dropdown variation, 0 explicit votes/nods for the tickbox.
    • Concerns about opt-in vs. opt-in.
    • There was a proposal to disallow emails from blocked users to the admin who blocked them. This is a separate feature, but we are open to building it at a later point.
    • Provide better language, tooltips, and/or links for this preference so users will know exactly what emails will be allowed from whom.
    • A question regarding how this preference works in conjunction with the other 'All email from other users' preference
  • On wikis where a user has never edited
    • What happens when a page is imported?
    • Alternatives approaches:
      • Make Meta email preferences global
      • Build a feature to make it easier to manage preferences across multiple wikis
      • Global preferences will make this a moot point.
    • One user mentioned a concern that this would interrupt a workflow to request adopting a username from an inactive account.

Here's my personal responses/commentary on this feedback:

  • I don't believe we have enough comments or input to make a decision about the dropdown variation vs. the tickbox variation. We would love to hear from more people specifically about this.
  • After some brief consideration, we agree it's best to release this new preference (either the tickbox or the dropdown variation) with the default for new accounts set to allow email from non-autoconfirmed users. The preference will be built in a way so the administrators of a wiki can customize the default as they see fit, and we can re-approach this topic later.
  • Building email protection/prevention between blocked users and the blocking admins is a separate feature, but we are open to building it at a later point.
  • I've updated the tickbox proposal to be more clear about how the multiple preferences would work together, and I updated the 'Background' section of the documentation page to include more information about how single-user-login works. I've also created Phabricator task T178842 to track work against disallowing emails where users have 0 edits.
  • Professionally as a Product Manager, I strongly believe that for wikis where a user has never edited, we need to take a more firm stance and be more proactive for the protection of our users. I think it's a lapse in original design judgement to allow email to users who have never made a single edit at all, and this gap is exacerbated by Unified Login. Global Preferences or a preference on Meta could solve this, but are reactive. This solution should be proactive.

Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 22:19, 23 October 2017 (UTC)Reply



This feature is useful, if a user who gets harrassed has never answered to the person, who does the harrasing. When it is implemented trolls will soon learn to first send a mail with a friendly request from an older account, then after receving an answer start the harrassing from new fake acounts or with fake mail addresses through the already harvested mail address of the wikiuser without having to use wikimail at all.

With this proposal two people who try to start edit wikipedia will not be able to communicate via email and may leave the project disappointed before ever learning about preferences.

Last year's wishlist had four proposals addressing the harrassing problem. This one was voted at #93. My own proposal of offering a second mail address for wikimail got at #86 the most votes of this four. I am planning to enter my proposal in the next wishlist survey again. --𝔊 (Gradzeichen DiſkTalk) 08:38, 27 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

@°: You're right — this is circumventable, but it is still a simple-to-implement hurdle that will ward off some occurrences of harassment/bombardment while allowing constructive emails to go through. Giving away your email address is a related yet different problem. Your proposal (T129747) and MER-C's proposal to use email aliases (T150421) could potentially solve this. These are bigger changes and will require more time to discuss and build, but I do believe they are conversations worth having. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 16:53, 27 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

Whatever message is displayed, it shall be true.


Regarding proposed solution 1, the message is said to be: "This user has chosen not to receive email from other users" which is not true. Those lies normally create misunderstandings and hamper trouble shooting. It should be like: "This user does not accept email from newly created accounts.". --Manorainjan (talk) 11:33, 30 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

@Manorainjan: Good point, and I agree. I'll update the wiki. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 19:07, 30 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

Extend - not only restrict


The inducement to modify the email preferences was to to something against harassment. Now, let us rise above the pure negativity for a moment and see, that whatever the inducement was, it is a modification of the preferences for receiving email; it is about communication possibilities. So, while we are at, why not expand it as well? Lets add an option to receive eMail even from IP-editors! Of course this option should not be on by default. That way, the whole project will not only be about restrictions and less communication, less community. Normally the ability to talk with each other reduces the chances of war. --Manorainjan (talk) 11:54, 30 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

In general I agree with the approach — thinking constructively about how positive communication can outweigh the negative. I see the validity in your proposal but it is too big of a change to be lumped with this the email group prohibit feature. The Wishlist is coming up soon, and that would be a better place to propose it. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 19:07, 30 October 2017 (UTC)Reply
@Manorainjan: How would I answer an email from an IP? talk_page == public answer to private request == bad idea. do not answer == bad idea. send email to address provided by the IP == unverified address == possibly a different person == bad idea. talk may reduce war, but only if it is two sided and not one way. --𝔊 (Gradzeichen DiſkTalk) 14:31, 1 November 2017 (UTC)Reply
@°: Besides, that it was made clear, that this option to receive mail from IP-editors would require major changes and therefore is not on the current priority list, I did not suggest, that any reply would have to be made to the IP-editor. So, there is no use at all to blow up this show which was already called of by overcomplicating it with arguments against features which have not been asked for. By now You also can not email an IP-user, so, no difference. --Manorainjan 19:02, 1 November 2017 (UTC)Reply

0-edits scenario


After some discussions and findings that some users create accounts just to read, we've updated the requirements for the "0-edits" scenario:

  • If a user has never edited AND they did not create their account on that wiki, they should not be able receive Special:EmailUser emails sent from that wiki.
  • Users in the groups bureaucrat, steward, wmf-supportsafety, and global-renamer should still have the ability to send email to these users.
    • This should be a new right assigned to these groups.
  • If a user is not in the specified groups, the 'Email this user' link in the side navigation of a user page should not appear
  • If a user is not in the specified groups, navigating directly to Special:EmailUser/Foobar should display an error message
    • If the user does not have a confirmed email or is anonymous: display the standard "No send address" error page
    • If the user has a confirmed email address and is not a bcrat/steward/wmf-susa/global-renamed: display a new error message in this style.

Any thoughts? — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 19:15, 31 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

What is the argument that shows the necessity to withdraw the ability to receive email on a wiki where one did not yet make any edit? --Manorainjan 21:03, 31 October 2017 (UTC)Reply
Our team is trying to provide users with the ability to control how and when they are communicated on-wiki with notifications and off-wiki via email, both on wikis where they are active (1+ edits) and have never been active (0 edits) both from known individual users and from sockpuppets. Community health initiative/User Mute features/Chart shows how these features work in conjunction to provide a safer environment. The current alternatives are for users to disable email entirely or disable their account. We want to avoid this. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 21:03, 1 November 2017 (UTC)Reply

Why preferences must be set on every Wiki?


As stated above, I would want the reason for the preference to be set on every Wiki each time. It looks weird, and, I want to know if there are any possibility for one to get a unified settings as harassers may just use another wiki, that is inactive, to send harassment emails.--1233 | Questions?| This message is left by him at 10:40, 20 November 2017 (UTC)Reply

@1233: I wasn't around when the decisions were made, which I believe was back in 2007, but from what I've heard/read/inferred the wikis were less unified and thought of as stand-alone individual sites. When they were eventually unified (with Central Authentication) it was decided to allow people to have different preferences on each wiki, as people's workflows are different across wikis. It feels backwards to me, that people should have to opt-out of global preferences, rather than opt-in or manually set preferences across every wiki. — Trevor Bolliger, WMF Product Manager 🗨 18:30, 20 November 2017 (UTC)Reply
I also found it tedious to set preferences on a good number of wikis (language versions). But I prefer that to having only one configuration for all. I would not want my mother tongue on all wikis nor would I want to have English or the local language as interface language. It depends and changes over time. I think it is good as is. If one decides to be active in a good number of wikis one should accept individual configuration work as the least nuisance if one is not happy with the standard configuration. Everything else is like: "Wash me, but don't make me wet!" ;-)
And I seriously hope, that one is a hundred times more typing work in the namespace on a wiki where one is active, than the few clicks for individual configuration. --Manorainjan 19:08, 20 November 2017 (UTC)Reply

Unclear preference


Sad to see Special:Preferences get even more cluttered, going against years of efforts in improving our user experience. Also, what does "new user" mean? (By the way, "brand new" is jargon and should not be used in the English text.) --Nemo 08:42, 11 February 2018 (UTC)Reply

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