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author's profile photo Vadim Kalinin

Long delay for reply from question author

In many cases I am observing the following issue:

I see a new question and immediately post an answer. And only next day I see a reply from the topic author. I think it's due to the fact that topic author is not using e-mail notifications.

As far as I remember in the old SCN e-mail notifications were turned on by default. Not the case in the new Community.

Can somebody provide a statistics like: percent of users (posted something during the last 6 month) without e-mail notification enabled?

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  • Aug 02, 2017 at 01:11 PM

    I attribute late responses to a few more factors:

    + less tech-savvy people, who are struggling with the site;

    + no auto-follow option by default for own questions;

    + unusable activity stream and notifications;

    + some people registered P-users with dummy e-mails and cannot change the address anymore;

    + AH supports RSS subscription per question for all comments and answers to it, but we do not use this option

    + or just members did not expect fast responses in this site.

    I never relied on e-mail notifications apart from moderation alerts (old and new platform), but it was quite easy in the past to find updates due to track in communications.

    If the site enables e-mail notifications by default for anything but moderation messages, I would unsubscribe deliberately. By the way, I do not check my personal e-mail very often during working hours and sometimes you cannot configure Thunderbird/Outlook for personal e-mails on a corporate device.

    • Aug 02, 2017 at 01:46 PM

      "less tech-savvy people, who are struggling with the site" - I am talking about the same users I know from old SCN.

      "no auto-follow option by default for own questions" - not clear, users always receive notifications about answers for own questions.

      "unusable activity stream and notifications" - notifications have to be updated without page refresh!

      I still think that today not a lot of users have e-mail notifications enabled! Want to see some figures.

      • Aug 02, 2017 at 02:11 PM
        "less tech-savvy people, who are struggling with the site" - I am talking about the same users I know from old SCN

        I have seen people with old user IDs, who cannot even find their own questions, let alone figure out how notifications work.

        "no auto-follow option by default for own questions" - not clear, users always receive notifications about answers for own questions.
        "unusable activity stream and notifications" - notifications have to be updated without page refresh!

        If you respond to a question with an answer, yes - notifications should be created to the OP. Unfortunately you might miss the indicator change if you are in activity stream already (which happened to me with your comment). Sadly, there is no easy way to filter unread notifications.

        I doubt that enabling e-mail notifications will improve significantly the situation and really, e-mail notifications are so 90's... but it will be interesting to see such comparison between both platforms (if possible).

        I suspect that some people set anti-spam rules during the last fiasco with notifications/e-mail flood and I am not sure that everyone disabled them later :)

        • Aug 02, 2017 at 02:16 PM

          Do you remember the behavior of notifications on the old SCN? If I am not mistaken the green indicator popped up immediately without page refresh...

          • Aug 02, 2017 at 03:20 PM

            I believe so... I do not remember doing page refreshes or navigating elsewhere for the counter to update... and display unread filter was very useful, because sometimes I have no time or connection to a system to verify the outcome when I receive a notification.

      • Aug 03, 2017 at 08:00 PM

        Ironically, I was one of the most vocal proponents of getting the email notifications back and now I am not using it.

        This is because I had to create a new account and had to link it to my personal email. I rarely have access to it during work hours, so it would be a moot point to receive emails when I can just faster go to SCN and check Notifications online. Also I use a free email and don't have the same features to build the mail rules like in Outlook.

        Before that, I was receiving the email at my work Inbox and could reply much faster. But there is no option to change the email in the account or at least send email notifications to another email. I wouldn't be surprised if some people didn't know the email can't be changed and are now stuck with the profiles linked to inaccessible emails.

        However, this was an issue already since SDN. People would just disappear. Sometimes I wonder if they were abducted by aliens. But then it would likely be in the newspapers or something. Based on a few threads when OP returned sometimes months later an explanation was that they changed their mind or requirement was dropped, etc.

        Actually I might even have a few abandoned questions in my old profile myself. You can't see in your profile which question is closed or not.

        Of course, some people are just jerks. That is certaily a factor here too.

    • Aug 10, 2017 at 09:53 PM

      I would add timezone to the list. In the old SCN (where I was most active in answering questions) I faced this delay many times and some of them was clearly because the person wrote the question at the end of his/her working day and only in the next day (morning for me) I could see that my comment or answer was replied. But in same cases they really just disappear.

      • Aug 11, 2017 at 07:02 AM

        It could also be the vacation season, or just the OP found a solution elsewhere and does not update the question, or the problem was rerouted to the next support level and the OP is not responsible for it anymore, or the OP expected a full solution to be provided directly, including a mind-reading exercise and got disappointed by people asking for clarifications. There could be so many reasons...

        I do my best to keep track of questions, where I participated for a few days (because one cannot rely on notifications for an update by the question asker), but more than a week is difficult, especially if I used comment instead of answer.

  • Aug 02, 2017 at 01:57 PM

    Hi, Vadim:

    I'll need to reach out to a few colleagues, as your post stretches across several areas (Q&A, notifications, reporting).

    Some people are on vacation, so it may take me a bit longer to get an answer.

    But wanted you to know I'm looking into it.

    Best regards,


    • Aug 02, 2017 at 02:07 PM

      Something like: select users with at least one question asked for the last 4 month (e-mail notifications available). Then show percent of users with enabled e-mail notifications for Q&A.

  • Aug 02, 2017 at 04:52 PM

    Replying as a header-level comment to Manish Kumar due to the missing reply option (oh, really? still missing?): Mike is a moderator and moderators can set different visibility options to comments - e.g. visible to OP and moderators, which we (regular users) cannot see, but the thread list is still updated with the activity. Another possibility is that he deleted his comment, which we also cannot see.

  • Aug 02, 2017 at 08:37 PM

    Hmmm.. I attribute most of it to poor manners.

    • Aug 02, 2017 at 08:49 PM

      It was not the case in the old SCN... Do you think that now we have only users with poor manners? :)

      • Aug 03, 2017 at 02:21 PM

        In a sense, yes. I think we lost the experts and examples of senior members. We also lost many of the people that would call people out on these things. Yes, some people got their feelings hurt and left but other newbies would see that and understand. Also, there's not a good training process that I'm aware of. At least with the gamification system, the first badge required new users to read a few blogs on the rules of engagement and community manners.

        Also, since there aren't a lot of notification options, people are not notified that they even have a response in the new community. So if they were a first time visitor and maybe wound up not getting a reply quickly, and they eventually resolved it themselves, they had no reason to come back and check on their posting again. At least not until the next problem or issue came up. So a reply goes unanswered or unacknowledged.

        In my old QM forum, many questions were replied to within hours. Now, with the QM tag I monitor, it might be days for an answer. There were 4-5 experts before in the QM forum monitoring and responding regularly. Now its myself and occasionally one other. As moderator, I try not to answer too quickly as I want others to have a chance to answer, so I often wait 24 hrs before responding. (we aren't supposed to be a place for critical time-sensitive issues. That's what the SAP helpdesk and production support contracts are for).

        Other times I'm on vacation or on business trips so that I might not check-in for 2-3 days. And usually, I find a number of unanswered questions. And frankly, there are questions I can't answer. So without a good cross-section of experts, some questions will never be answered or even provided any guidance.

        So I think there are several reasons for the new, ill-mannered, (perceived anyway), folks.

        For users that came from the old community there isn't really an excuse. I feel it is bad manners to not check on posts you created and to eventually close them. But like anywhere, if no one keeps tabs, people can get lazy and fall into bad habits.

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