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Product Update, January 2022

Published onJan 26, 2022
Product Update, January 2022
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01. Discussion Notifications

We've always wanted PubPub to be a place for vibrant conversation. But following conversations on PubPub can be tricky — if you want to know whether someone has responded to your comment, you need to actively follow up by returning to the Pub it's on. To solve this problem, we’ve slowly rolled out a basic notifications feature across PubPub over the last few weeks. You might have already seen it in the top-right corner of the screen.

It looks like every other notifications tray in the world. Threads are grouped by Pub into collapsible sections to underscore the fact that this feature is about conversations, not "Five papers we think you'll like" or "confirm your phone number to start receiving weird spam calls in a few weeks." Those bell icons everywhere ensure you're one click away from muting a Discussion or unsubscribing from a Pub and never hearing about it again.

If you want to be made aware of all conversations on a Pub, you can subscribe to it using this control in the Discussions section near the bottom of the page:

Our team had a lot of illuminating and sometimes intense discussion about what we wanted notifications on PubPub to look like: we talked about how existing systems make us feel empowered or overwhelmed, voiced varying and sometimes contradictory opinions, and realized that we needed to defer some decisions to individuals. So, we designed the notifications settings to give you full control over how you receive notifications:

There are three options we’d like to call out in particular:

  • You can turn off all notifications. Forever. We promise.

  • You can choose how often you receive new notifications. Set this to "once every 8 hours" and we won't bother you for a whole workday.

  • You can choose how notifications are marked as read. Some of us like to explicitly mark notifications as read, while others prefer to be done with them as soon as they're seen or clicked on. We have options for all of these.

Finally, we made the decision to keep these notifications entirely on-platform for now, rather than deliver them via email. We’ve learned from talking to users, reading case studies on substantive online discussion, and watching other platforms evolve that email notifications often have the effect of raising the temperature of discussions by appearing to demand responses. Instead, we are rolling out periodic activity digest emails, which will allow users to keep up-to-date with ongoing conversations without feeling the need either to respond to them instantly or login to PubPub constantly.

02. Activity Digest Emails

In August, we launched the Activity dashboard to make it easier for PubPub users to follow what’s happening in their Communities, Collections, and Pubs. While the Activity dashboard gives Community members a helpful record of relevant interactions, users must log in to PubPub to see it—until now.

Introducing Activity digest emails:

Activity digest emails are daily summaries of Community and Pub activity. Subscribing to them is simple! Log in to a Community where you’re a manager or admin, and you’ll see a switch in the top right of the community-level Activity dashboard page:

Flip it on, and you’ll receive the latest 24 hours of Community and Pub activity each day at around 12AM EST. Activity digest emails are only enabled for managers and admins, but we’ll make them available to all Community members soon!

03. Submissions on PubPub

We’re hard at work implementing a more comprehensive, simple submissions feature on PubPub. We plan to roll out submissions over the next few weeks, and are currently looking for Communities who would like early access to the feature to help us test it. If you’re interested, please let us know by responding to this email or sending a note to hello@pubpub.org.

The feature will respond to one of our top requests: to make it easier for users who are unfamiliar with PubPub to submit Pubs to Communities. When turned on, users will be presented with a simplified interface for submitting Pubs that includes custom submission instructions. Community Admins will be able to turn on submissions for any given Collection and write custom submission instructions and emails, and manage incoming submissions into that Collection.

By leveraging Collections and their existing permission structures, Communities can setup flexible submission flows to meet their needs. For example, you could decide to use a single “Submissions” Collection for the entire Community that all Community Admins have access to, one Collection for each article type you accept, or, if the Community is organized by subject with editors responsible for each one, you could simply turn on submissions for the existing subject Collections.

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