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Sending two mass emails to eligible voters for the board elections 2021
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Description

Hello, we are hoping to have two mass emails sent to eligible voters who have not yet voted.

The emails are planned for Aug 20 and Aug 27 during the voting period.

Further background in T278815. T100454 was for mass emails in 2015.

Eligibility requirements are https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021#Eligibility_requirements_for_voters

Please let me know if any additional details are required.

Thank you in advance!

Event Timeline

@Xeno_WMF - Hi! I'm not sure I am the right person to contact about the emails. Do you know who has done this in the past?

@Niharika In the past it has been @Jalexander . I don't know if it has moved onto anyone else in particular since then.

Niharika added a subscriber: Niharika.

Okay. I am going to remove myself as the assignee as I definitely can't do this. Hopefully someone else will be able to help.

Qgil updated the task description. (Show Details)

Today we confirmed that Tim will help us with this task. 🎉

I have updated the dates of the mailings to August 20 and 27, which are consistent with the previous plan (before the election was postponed.

Change 710411 had a related patch set uploaded (by Tim Starling; author: Tim Starling):

[mediawiki/extensions/SecurePoll@master] Add maintenance script findUsersWithRight.php

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/710411

Please let me know if any additional details are required.

I need the translations, or at least I need to know what the translations will look like, because part of the job here is converting text on a wiki into something that makes sense as an email.

Since I'm a fan of HTML email, I would be sympathetic to a request to send this email out as mixed HTML and plain text. That would affect how the text is written.

Change 710411 merged by jenkins-bot:

[mediawiki/extensions/SecurePoll@master] Add maintenance script findUsersWithRight.php

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/710411

Please let me know if any additional details are required.

I need the translations, or at least I need to know what the translations will look like, because part of the job here is converting text on a wiki into something that makes sense as an email.

Since I'm a fan of HTML email, I would be sympathetic to a request to send this email out as mixed HTML and plain text. That would affect how the text is written.

The email and translations are here: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/2021-08-07/Board_voter_e-mail

Please let us know if any changes to the formatting are required.

HTML email with plaintext backup would be ideal, if technically feasible.

Best practice according to this blog post is to write HTML and plain text emails separately. "Most email service providers (ESPs) have an area where you can add or edit the text version of your campaign." That works for me, and it seems like a reasonable amount of effort on our side if we're sending 70,000 emails.

I looked for ways to automatically convert HTML to plain text, but the most common techniques do not produce satisfactory output.

Please let us know if any changes to the formatting are required.

I'm not quite ready to make a specific request.

My drafts are:

My changes are:

  • Reduce number of voters from 80,000 to 70,000
  • In the HTML version, remove the angle bracket sections.
  • In the plain text version, put links on their own lines.
  • Use title links to local wikis as proposed in https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/c/mediawiki/extensions/SecurePoll/+/713088 . Accordingly change link text to "SecurePoll on $ACTIVEPROJECT".
  • "go to visit" -> "go to"
  • "add your user name on" -> "add your user name to"

I'm noting that WMCZ decided to send its own awareness email to eligible users from the Czech Wikipedia (which was sent via a bot through the public emailing API). Maybe those users should be removed from the global campaign, to avoid getting similar mail twice? FTR, the list of users is at https://public.paws.wmcloud.org/User:Martin_Urbanec/data/wmf_BoT_2021_elections_cswiki_users_to_contact.tsv.

The first mailing has "board-elections lists.wikimedia.org" as "from". The result is that now we are getting a big amount of auto-responses in the moderation queue of that mailing list. Given that we don't care (or we cannot do anything) about server autoresponders and out-of-office notices, can we use a "no-reply" type of From address, please?

The query used to determine the "eligible" voter spam list needs work. Bots are not eligible yet three of my flagged bot accounts received an email stating that they are eligible to vote.

Maybe those users should be removed from the global campaign, to avoid getting similar mail twice?

Or you could add more translations in Czech e.g. at
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/2021-08-20/Board_voter_e-mail

can we use a "no-reply" type of From address, please?

I'm not sure how to quantify errors from mail delivery statistics, but improper bounces still need to be handled in some way, and for some antispam methods it matters whether the From is known to be a good regular sender of such sudden batch email (maybe the usual wiki@wikimedia.org is one such address?). In the message I got there's a Return-Path: <wiki-metawiki-178e-qy4jhy-GwAVR2Qhkr63YxSr@wikimedia.org> so it seems the usual VERP mechanics are in place.

The query used to determine the "eligible" voter spam list needs work. Bots are not eligible yet three of my flagged bot accounts received an email stating that they are eligible to vote.

There was an error in the code which filtered out bot users. It will be fixed for next time.

Maybe I wrote my no-reply ask too soon. After receiving a hundred automated replies or so, things stopped. That is a manageable amount of bounces to handle a couple of times every year or so. Cleaning the moderation queue was easy. Also, thanks to that From we have got a couple of genuine replies that were useful.

So yes, maybe it is best to keep the From as is.