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Jane
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Private Messages

Post by Jane »

Can I remind you that using the private messaging facility to send unsolicited messages is not allowed. Users reported for doing so will have their ability to send private messages removed. (Any message you receive will have instructions for reporting it if necessary).

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If you wish to disable the receipt of private messages, go to your User Control Panel , click on Board Preferences and Edit Global Settings, and then set the options shown to your personal preferences. Admins and moderators will always be able to contact you.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by Mark1834 »

Jane, could you clarify please? I’m not sure what you mean. Surely, if somebody has messages enabled, they have given permission to other users to contact them offline? I’ve been PM’d many times by users following up forum posts or asking for advice on something they know I can help with. That’s fine by me - they don’t need permission first.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Mark,

People may not have realised that receiving private messages is enabled by default; it's not uncommon for the admins to receive reports of private messages as unwanted, hence this post.

Ideally, all contact would be via the forums, where it's available for other to learn from. If you're happy to receive private messages, great, but user should check in the first instance on the forums to avoid sending unsolicited messages.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by Mark1834 »

No problem with reminding users what the defaults are, but it was the first sentence that confused me. FHUG rules appear to be silent on use of the PM facility, but perhaps I missed it…
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Re: Private Messages

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Common courtesy, Mark? Plus common sense.

If I receive an unsolicited email from an address that I'm not familiar with, it's deleted unread.

Other people might report it as spam -- and the last thing Jane needs is for FHUG to be reported as a source of spam.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by Jane »

I have recently had several complaints about unsolicited messages being sent via Private messages. As Helen says this worries new users. This was a reminder that sending out these sort of messages is impolite and highly discouraged. I will update the rule to include details as above, unfortunately the Forum FAQs are standard from PHPBB so it will mean some work to override the standard ones.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by Mark1834 »

Thanks Jane, that makes sense. I’d be opposed to a blanket ban on unsolicited PMs without wider consultation, as I think it would be unworkable (sending a message to ask for permission to send a message… :?). However, the Community Rules and Etiquette Guidelines appear to be free text, so a reminder in there that PMs should follow the same rules as postings may be the simplest option.

There may be a case for PMs to be off by default for new members if that is possible. I suspect it’s mainly the older hands who would be contacted this way, and I for one would be happy to leave it on. Helen’s point about unknown e-mail addresses may be a red herring, as messages are clearly shown as sent from FHUG in my experience.

Perhaps it should also be made clear that if you send a PM, it exposes your actual registered e-mail address as the reply address.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Mark1834 wrote: 16 Mar 2024 18:14 Helen’s point about unknown e-mail addresses may be a red herring, as messages are clearly shown as sent from FHUG in my experience.

Perhaps it should also be made clear that if you send a PM, it exposes your actual registered e-mail address as the reply address.
As you pointed out, any private message sets an (unfamiliar) email address as the reply address.

I also delete all private messages from other forums of which I'm a member if I can't turn them off. In my experience 99% of them are spam.
There may be a case for PMs to be off by default for new members if that is possible.
They already are, but there are a large number of users who joined before we had the capability to adjust the defaults for new users.
Mark1834 wrote: 16 Mar 2024 18:14 However, the Community Rules and Etiquette Guidelines appear to be free text, so a reminder in there that PMs should follow the same rules as postings may be the simplest option.
But they shouldn't. There's a difference between a public message on a forum where everyone can see what is said and hold posters to account if they break the rules; and a private message arriving unsolicited in your email. Both ought to follow the same rules as a minimum, but there's an additional layer of care required for private messages because of that word: private.

Nobody is saying: send a message to ask for permission to send a message. Anybody can ask in the forums for permission to send a follow up private message on a topic; it won't happen so often as to swamp the discussion, I suspect. If somebody wants to send a message that isn't related to a topic in which somebody has participated, that's spam in my book.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by neil40 »

Jane wrote: 16 Mar 2024 13:36 Can I remind you that using the private messaging facility to send unsolicited messages is not allowed.
Whilst I am generally in agreement with this, there are times when you couldn't ask on the forum "May I PM you".

I am baffled by the above statement though as well. Where on the forum does it say that?
I very rarely come in this sub forum, my main ports of call being "General Usage" and "Ancestral Sources"

If this is a rule, then maybe post it as a sticky in the General Usage forum, where I suspect most people go?

If I've missed this 'rule', then please direct me to it. I did look around before replying to this.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

neil40 wrote: 12 Apr 2024 14:38
Jane wrote: 16 Mar 2024 13:36 Can I remind you that using the private messaging facility to send unsolicited messages is not allowed.
Whilst I am generally in agreement with this, there are times when you couldn't ask on the forum "May I PM you".
Why not?
I am baffled by the above statement though as well. Where on the forum does it say that?
Jane wrote: 16 Mar 2024 14:53 I have recently had several complaints about unsolicited messages being sent via Private messages. As Helen says this worries new users. This was a reminder that sending out these sort of messages is impolite and highly discouraged. I will update the rule to include details as above, unfortunately the Forum FAQs are standard from PHPBB so it will mean some work to override the standard ones.
To add, we have changed the defaults for new users to disable the receipt of private messages. Existing users aren't affected.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by Mark1834 »

ColeValleyGirl wrote: 12 Apr 2024 16:38 Why not?
Perhaps to offer private advice if a "discussion" is getting acrimonious...? It would be perfectly reasonable to do that below the radar.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by AdrianBruce »

Mark1834 wrote: 12 Apr 2024 17:31
ColeValleyGirl wrote: 12 Apr 2024 16:38 Why not?
Perhaps to offer private advice if a "discussion" is getting acrimonious...? It would be perfectly reasonable to do that below the radar.
Indeed - with a security hat on (not that I ever went in for one much), asking, "Can I set up a confidential dialogue with you?" and copying everyone in, is more than a little illogical...
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Re: Private Messages

Post by neil40 »

Mark1834 wrote: 12 Apr 2024 17:31
ColeValleyGirl wrote: 12 Apr 2024 16:38 Why not?
Perhaps to offer private advice if a "discussion" is getting acrimonious...? It would be perfectly reasonable to do that below the radar.
This is precisely what I meant - it's happened to me. I took the conversation to PM. To ask in the forum if I could do so would have been very awkward!
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Re: Private Messages

Post by neil40 »

ColeValleyGirl wrote: 12 Apr 2024 16:38
I am baffled by the above statement though as well. Where on the forum does it say that?
Jane wrote: 16 Mar 2024 14:53 I have recently had several complaints about unsolicited messages being sent via Private messages. As Helen says this worries new users. This was a reminder that sending out these sort of messages is impolite and highly discouraged. I will update the rule to include details as above, unfortunately the Forum FAQs are standard from PHPBB so it will mean some work to override the standard ones.
To add, we have changed the defaults for new users to disable the receipt of private messages. Existing users aren't affected.
First, I was challenging that we are "reminded" when there isn't such a statement/rule

Second, by 'disabled the receipt of private messages' do you mean 'turned off' or truly disabled - IE cannot be enabled by a user?
If it is the former, great, it gives the user a choice, but given the lack of a statement about such a 'rule', there needs to be a sticky post somewhere, or a 'welcome' to new users to state
a) that PM's are discouraged/not allowed'
b) how to turn off/on the options - the majority of users would probably not have a clue to look at the settings for such things
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Re: Private Messages

Post by t4ms »

Hi everyone,

I'd like to post my 2c worth (Australian dollars) about this and to, perhaps, provide a different perspective.

I'm looking at the gender of the OP and those who have replied. I absolutely do not want to start any kind of 'gender war' but, as a female myself, I can attest to receiving all kinds of (at best) weird and (at worst) let your imagination run wild DMs on different forums.

For years I've enjoyed the 'ask politely in a public space before you DM' on other forums and I made the assumption it was baked in here (thanks for baking this in). I have always turned off DMs.

If you have never received an unsolicited and deeply inappropriate DM from a member of a forum I guess you might be pondering why asking first in a public space matters. I will not open a DM if I haven't established communication with someone in advance. It's internet safety 101 for females.

Peace out,
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Re: Private Messages

Post by neil40 »

Thanks Tamara

As a male, I have stated, I have no real problem with the OP's intent, just that the statement that it's a reminder is wrong - we've not been told this before to my knowledge, and there is no 'rule' set anywhere I can see.

FYI - as you've been the victim of abhorrent DM's/PM's on Forums, you are not 'baked in' on this forum - note there is a 'Contact' with speech bubble under your details on your reply - when clicked it opens the PM facility to contact you, so you might want to go to your settings as per the OP and turn it off.

I presume your profile, like mine, fell under the 'Existing Users aren't affected'

Thank you for your perspective here.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by t4ms »

neil40 wrote: 12 Apr 2024 22:08 FYI - as you've been the victim of abhorrent DM's/PM's on Forums, you are not 'baked in' on this forum - note there is a 'Contact' with speech bubble under your details on your reply - when clicked it opens the PM facility to contact you, so you might want to go to your settings as per the OP and turn it off.

I presume your profile, like mine, fell under the 'Existing Users aren't affected'

Thank you for your perspective here.
Hi Neil,

My DMs are off so, unless you can see the email feature (I have no problem with my spam filter nuking any random weirdos), that's a bug with the forum.

Cheers,

Tamara
The footnote would seem to be the smallest detail in a work of history. Yet it carries a large burden of responsibility, testifying to the validity of the work, the integrity (and the humility) of the historian, and to the dignity of the discipline.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

t4ms wrote: 12 Apr 2024 23:27 Hi Neil,

My DMs are off so, unless you can see the email feature (I have no problem with my spam filter nuking any random weirdos), that's a bug with the forum.

Cheers,

Tamara
Tamara, you need to turn off DMs and Email messages.
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And I'm totally with you on Internet Safety 101. I have DMs and Private emails turned off everywhere except in forums I moderate.
neil40 wrote: 12 Apr 2024 21:12 First, I was challenging that we are "reminded" when there isn't such a statement/rule
As Tamara has said, it was a baked in assumption -- Jane is going to document what had been assumed to be obvious.
Second, by 'disabled the receipt of private messages' do you mean 'turned off' or truly disabled - IE cannot be enabled by a user?
If it is the former, great, it gives the user a choice, but given the lack of a statement about such a 'rule', there needs to be a sticky post somewhere, or a 'welcome' to new users to state
a) that PM's are discouraged/not allowed'
b) how to turn off/on the options - the majority of users would probably not have a clue to look at the settings for such things
Disabled by default; users can enable it if they wish. Instructions are in the Forum Usage article in the KB.
Mark1834 wrote: 12 Apr 2024 17:31 Perhaps to offer private advice if a "discussion" is getting acrimonious...? It would be perfectly reasonable to do that below the radar.
That's a moderator role, and nobody can turn off receipt of messages from moderator. Unless all the moderators are asleep at the wheel, there should be no need for anyone else to intervene.

Or do you mean that you want to continue an acrimonious discussion off-line :) Doesn't seem like a great idea to me...
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Re: Private Messages

Post by Mark1834 »

Asking people to behave shouldn't be controversial, but it got off to a bad start with a false statement in the very first sentence of the thread.

I've read the ensuing comments, and had some further one-to-one discussion with Helen offline. If PMs are off, users who are happy to receive such messages will miss out on them. If they are on, users who don't want them many be offended and deterred by unwarranted and inappropriate messages (although given the age profile of FHUG, I would expect the more threatening sexually explicit messages are probably a non-issue here).

The latter scenario is clearly the more important, so my simple solution would be to turn off PMs now for all, and add a "sticky" post to the top of "Web Site Usage" to say that this has been done and explain how to re-enable them.

It then becomes a safe "opt-in" facility, without having to jump through hoops explaining when they can and can't be used, or clunky "PM's permitted" statements in individual signatures, which would get very boring and repetitive.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by AdrianBruce »

ColeValleyGirl wrote: 13 Apr 2024 08:45... As Tamara has said, it was a baked in assumption -- Jane is going to document what had been assumed to be obvious. ...
It may be because I'm a bloke but it absolutely wasn't a baked-in assumption from me. My assumption was that the facility exists and that it's therefore intended to be used. In fact, my first encounter with the "Please can I send you a DM...?" culture was on another board and I was somewhat bemused to be asked the question.

The one good thing, thank you Helen, is that I've looked at the User Control Panel and it's finally got through to me (unless I'm still behind) that there are 2 off-board communication methods - PMs and emails. I'm less certain about which of those two, people mean earlier in this thread when they refer to "Private Messages". Both? (I'm also unclear on the relative merits / demerits of the 2 mechanisms)
ColeValleyGirl wrote: 13 Apr 2024 08:45 ...
Mark1834 wrote: 12 Apr 2024 17:31 Perhaps to offer private advice if a "discussion" is getting acrimonious...? It would be perfectly reasonable to do that below the radar.
That's a moderator role, and nobody can turn off receipt of messages from moderator. ...
Actually, that wasn't the scenario I had in mind. Rather it was a case of a thread in danger of getting acrimonious when I have, on a couple of occasions - at least one of which was not here - PMd a third party to ask "Are we missing what the OP is going on about?" As Mark says, it seems reasonable to do that below the radar, especially if you feel that the OP is liable to go off like a bottle of pop.
Mark1834 wrote: 13 Apr 2024 09:46 Asking people to behave shouldn't be controversial, ...
And it isn't as far as I'm concerned. But I am slightly puzzled why the focus is on the mechanism (PMs etc) when surely the issue is about the content (e.g. spam, offensive content, etc.) - although Helen makes a good point right at the start when she refers to people marking FHUG originated stuff as spam and thus threatening FHUG's rating with whatever agencies monitor messages and/or emails.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by BillH »

This is a bit off topic, but I was wondering if someone could explain how to do a PM on FHUG. I've looked around and can't find it. I see how to send an email, but not a PM.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by AdrianBruce »

BillH wrote: 13 Apr 2024 17:44 This is a bit off topic, but I was wondering if someone could explain how to do a PM on FHUG. I've looked around and can't find it. I see how to send an email, but not a PM.
Hesitant because I'm not sure myself - but is this because everyone you've looked at has PMs switched off?
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Re: Private Messages

Post by BillH »

I don't know if everyone I checked had it off. I was just curious because in all the years I have been using FH I have never seen any PM capabilities. I've used the email capability a few times. This thread refers to both methods. I couldn't find the PM capability anywhere.
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Re: Private Messages

Post by AdrianBruce »

Bill - I'm now completely confused because I've checked on a phpBB Board where I do have PM - it's on the User Control Panel, on a tab called Private Messages between Board Preferences and UserGroups. No sign of it on FHUG...
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Re: Private Messages

Post by BillH »

So I guess this entire thread is about emails rather than PM.

I have only sent a couple of emails using the email capability in FHUG. Those were for questions I had of a couple of users that didn't apply to any existing topics on FHUG. It would have seemed a little weird to create a topic for a particular user in order to determine if it was okay to send them an email.
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