Page MenuHomePhabricator

Multiple notifications when subscribed to mass-posted topics
Open, Needs TriagePublicBUG REPORT


Steps to replicate the issue (include links if applicable):

  • Use the (otherwise very cool) topic subscription feature to subscribe (at exactly one page) to a mass-posted topic, for example, Tech News: 2023-15 posted by MediaWikia message delivery bot on en-WP at the Village Pump. (Tech News threads probably don't get much conversation but I asked for clarification on an item and got such useful responses I subscribed.)
  • Wait until some human user or archiving bot deletes or archives their own particular copies of the mass-posted topic.
  • Check your notifications and observe the huge increase in volume...

What happens?:
For each and every deletion or archival of users' copies of the mass-post, wiki-wide, a notification appears, for example:
Topic "Tech News: 2023-15" was archived or removed from User talk: Jonesey95.
You might no longer receive notifications about this topic.

What should have happened instead?:
I should receive notifications for changes (edits, deletions, archival) to the thread only on the page where I subscribed.
Another editor at a thread I started suggested that " a more fine-grained time stamp for tracking subscriptions" might be a possible approach. Neither of us know how feasible that is, though.

Event Timeline

In case people are not aware of the practical issue here, I'm now getting a:

Topic "Scottywong case opened" was archived or removed from User talk:xxx

each time this archives off a user's talk page.

Just to demonstrate:

image.png (1×1 px, 350 KB)

It's not a bug per-se, it's working-as-designed because it's supposed to allow subscriptions to survive a page-move. But MassMessages specifically hit an edge case on it because they wind up with identical topic IDs on multiple pages...

Great spot, thank you for filing @JohnFromPinckney; we've filed T349316 to investigate what approaches are available to address this issue.

I experience this too. It affects my staff account (Trizek (WMF)), which is used to contribute to content delivered by massmessage, or used to use massmessages, but only for a few messages all at French Wikipedia.

But it also affects my personal account (Trizek). I got a notification for this diff while I never subscribed, watched or even visited this user talk page. And I never edited this issue of Tech News with my personal account.

Our current proposal would be to show a warning message whenever a user tries to subscribe to a comment which is duplicated on more than N pages (e.g. N=10), requiring the user to confirm they want to subscribe knowing that they may receive multiple notifications. Calculating this number is a fairly cheap lookup in the DT items database.

Thanks Ed (and everyone who's looked at this). That current proposal would at least reduce the surprising/confusing effect of unexpected notifications, although IMO N should be an even smaller number, like 5.

I documented the limitation in the docs, I'll update it when the proposal will become a patch.

This comment was removed by Trizek-WMF.