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"MediaWiki message delivery left you a message on Wikipedia" and similar e-mail subject lines need further thought
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Description

I received an e-mail in my inbox with the subject line "MediaWiki message delivery left you a message on Wikipedia".

I know what this means (sort of), but this is pretty cryptic and unfriendly, I think. I suppose it could be worse (e.g., "MediaWiki message delivery left you a message on Wikimedia"), but still... perhaps we need to rethink how we structure subject lines like this. I imagine bots and other automated processes have a similar issue.

Copying a few people who might be interested in this ticket, not necessarily anyone related to e-mail subject lines in particular. I'm assuming HTML e-mails like these are from MediaWiki core, but I suppose it's possible they're not... hmmm.


See Also:
T71954: Add support to MassMessage to allow using the sender's username for deliveries

Details

Reference
bz60119

Event Timeline

bzimport raised the priority of this task from to Low.Nov 22 2014, 2:58 AM
bzimport added a project: Notifications.
bzimport set Reference to bz60119.
bzimport added a subscriber: Unknown Object (MLST).

Can someone link to the existing strings.

Screenshot of the problem, as it exists in onwiki Notifications, too: http://i.imgur.com/zPvh0F7.png

I believe it's to do with how a post is made - whether it is 4tilde ~~~~ signed or not. Some bot-notices are standard-signed, some are not.

It is related to (or duplicated at ?):

  • bug 57152 (talkpage messages without a 4tilde signature, do not generate correct section links or summary)

But that has cross-issues with

  • bug 53132 (Notifications are not sent when a user mentions another if the signature of the sender contains localized namespaces)
  • bug 54639 (Echo is not triggering notifications when a mention is made while reorganizing comments in the page)

I particularly worry about https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=53132#c20 (If the signature requirement is removed, will "archiving a talkpage" trigger dozens of accidental pings?)

(In reply to comment #2)

I believe it's to do with how a post is made - whether it is 4tilde ~~~~
signed or not. Some bot-notices are standard-signed, some are not.

I think you may be misunderstanding the bug. :-)

(In reply to comment #1)

Can someone link to the existing strings.

https://git.wikimedia.org/blob/mediawiki%2Fextensions%2FEcho.git/008401cb82ecff973ed63aca9175b48628c455f3/Echo.i18n.php#L68

Warning: that page/file is large.

There are actually at least two inter-related issues here:

  1. Whether MassMessage, which currently uses the username "MediaWiki message delivery", should instead use the username of the user actually sending the message. There's a related bug about this ... somewhere.
  1. Whether this type of construction "<Username (or bot username)> left you a message on <site you happened to give your e-mail address to>" in an e-mail subject line is best. We have some... interesting usernames and bot names that make for odd constructions. It feels a bit strange to see "Bongwarrior left you a message on Wikipedia" or "MediaWiki message delivery left you a message" in an inbox.

I though I understood the bug befor your post nick, now I'm confused.

Is this an issue with echo or Massmessage?

(In reply to comment #5)

Is this an issue with echo or Massmessage?

For MassMessage and Echo interacting, let's use bug 57234 instead.

(In reply to comment #4)

I though I understood the bug befor your post nick, now I'm confused.

Yeah, that was my fault. For this bug, let's focus on the general construction issue.

https://git.wikimedia.org/blob/mediawiki%2Fextensions%2FEcho.git/008401cb82ecff973ed63aca9175b48628c455f3/Echo.i18n.php#L68

  1. Whether this type of construction "<Username (or bot username)> left you a

message on <site you happened to give your e-mail address to>" in an e-mail
subject line is best. We have some... interesting usernames and bot names
that make for odd constructions. It feels a bit strange to see "Bongwarrior
left you a message on Wikipedia" or "MediaWiki message delivery left you a
message" in an inbox.

This. ^

Hmmm,

"$username left you a message on $sitename" seems to me to be the most efficient string to get the most information across in the shortest number of words. Especially on my phone where eliding happens pretty quickly.

Do you have a proposal for a better subject construction?

(In reply to comment #7)

"$username left you a message on $sitename" seems to me to be the most
efficient string to get the most information across in the shortest number of
words. Especially on my phone where eliding happens pretty quickly.
Do you have a proposal for a better subject construction?

Nope. :-)

Though this bug does now have me thinking in other directions. For example, you could remove the username from the subject line and instead have the sender of the e-mail be the username. Some sites have experimented with this. There are also additional variables available, such as $section_header for talk page posts.

(In reply to comment #8)

(In reply to comment #7)

"$username left you a message on $sitename" seems to me to be the most
efficient string to get the most information across in the shortest number of
words. Especially on my phone where eliding happens pretty quickly.
Do you have a proposal for a better subject construction?

Perhaps adding the "User:" prefix to the $username string? To clarify that "User:NuclearWarfare" is emailing you, and not the event itself.

That would get slightly longer at some of the other languages though... eg. "Benutzer:" in German. What's the longest i18n string for that variable?

There are also additional variables available, such as $section_header
for talk page posts.

(The occasionally missing $section_header in the body of the email, is the separate bug that I was confusing with this one. My apologies for that!)

I think that could be confusing, to have the originator as the name of the "from" especially if the email associated with it is a noreply@ type email address, also at that point what would the subject be?

I don't have a problem with the current strings, although I'll give you that the specific "MediaWiki message delivery left you a message on Wikipedia" is a bit awkward. but i assume this is due to all message originators use the same subject line, for MassMessage we might want to say something like "You have a message on Wikipedia" but if its a major change to Echo just to allow MassMessage to have a custom subject I'm not sure its worth it.

TTO added a comment.Apr 14 2014, 10:00 AM

(In reply to comment #10)

for MassMessage we might want to say something like "You have a
message on Wikipedia"

Yep, I like "You have a new message on Wikipedia" when MessMessage sends the message. The current message is confusing.

Legoktm moved this task from Backlog to Needs plan on the Notifications board.Jul 6 2015, 8:39 AM
Restricted Application added a project: Collaboration-Team-Triage. · View Herald TranscriptJul 6 2015, 8:39 AM

I left a relevant note at T71954#2237889.

"‪MediaWiki message de...‬ left you a message on Wikipedia" is even worse. We really should fix this.

matej_suchanek removed a subscriber: wikibugs-l-list.
Restricted Application added a project: Growth-Team. · View Herald TranscriptSep 4 2018, 2:47 PM