Heartfelt Plea: We REALLY Need Improved Inboxes & PMs

Hello Friends. I know this has been brought up in the past. (In fact I swear I brought it up here back in January or February, but cannot for the life of me find the post.) I just closed the Harry Potter Holiday Swap Signups, and sent out partners and questionnaires. It drove home to me that we really, really, NEED to do something about the Inbox functionality on LC.

It is nearly impossible to find a PM you are looking for, without the sender’s name appearing in your Inbox. Yes, there are user icons, but let’s face it: they are super tiny in the Inbox, and since most folks upload a pic of themselves, those icons are just small blurs of nothing. I can think of 3 or 4 people whose icons I can recognize at a glance. Others might as well be randomly generated images for all I can tell.

We also need to be able to sort and file PMs into folders. I have Archived everything I CAN archive as best as possible, but there are still too many messages in the Inbox to slog through to find what I need.

If we cannot improve this lack of functionality, I fear that people will stop offering to organize swaps. I’ve been a regular swap organizer and participant since 2008, and I have to admit, the frustration with this is causing me to wonder if I want to bother organizing in future. And with a lack of swap options, users will drift away from the site. I know none of us want to lose this community.

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Yeah, even as just a swap participant, it’s often hard to find my partner’s address again when I want to send. The other problem with no names showing up, is you can’t Find on Page with user icons. I usually end up clicking on six or seven mails before I find what I’m looking for. I’m not going to leave the site or anything over this, but it would REALLY improve QoL on the site if the Inbox showed all usernames in the thread, if nothing else!

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This is not really on the subject but might help with finding your swap partner’s address again-if you are in your messages and type in your partner’s name. All the emails concerning them will come up.

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Chiming in to say that it does get a little messy trying to search thru old messages.
I’m currently running the sts swap and we have more than 50 claims so far. Mulitiply that number by 3 for each claim (i.e. a message each for claim, send, received), that’s well over 150 messages for the swap. I never realized how much I relied on the ability to file and search messages on the dead site…oh boy.

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Good to know; thank you!

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Yes, this. I really really want a folder system for messages, so I can corral and sort them by swap. (no idea how possible that is from the code side, but that’s my ideal.)

Failing that, better attribution of who sent what would definitely be an improvement over what we have now.

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I love you all (and your hearts). Message folders are not currently possible. It’s not that I don’t want to make this happen for you, it’s that it’s not possible yet.

We are all creative people. Can we brainstorm some creative options or possible solutions? I’ll offer one. If everyone offers at least one solution to a problem, imagine what we could do together. Maybe instead of PMs for swap check ins, a Google Form would be a better option?

As for usernames appearing in the inbox, I’ve tried a few ways to make this happen and they both compromised security for one reason or another, so it’s still a work in progress. It’s not an option that is native to our code. It is an option I wish to provide to the community.

You are correct. Again, please know, it’s not that I am purposely withholding this feature from our community. Some features are not possible at the time of request – no matter how much coding, money, or time I am willing to throw at them.

Lots of modifications and plugins are available to communities that are willing sacrifice the security of information and the integrity of the code, but the risk, especially with something as sensitive as user information (names, addresses, etc. in personal messages), is not worth it. Because I refuse to do so, it may take longer to develop some features.

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Thanks so much for all you do for us, @sweets4ever ! I think the google forms idea is a good one. Or even one of the various poll websites, just for signups and the likes/dislikes part of questionnaires. More sensitive information could then be sent later; like perhaps you get your partner’s username, and message them yourself to ask for their address?

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I know in my swaps I requested that when participants send in their questionnaire that they include their name in the title of their message along with the swap name. It honestly helped.

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I save everything to my AOL mailbox - this helps me find stuff, even tho each message is “Carlee from LettuceCraft” rather than @geekgirl. But it’s a make-do until we figure out something else.

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That’s something I’ve been trying to do in all my swap msgs to maybe help alleviate the original-sender ID issue. That’s as a participant; I’ve never organized, so I can’t speak to that side of things.

Another helpful thing might be to encourage swappers to just hit the heart button instead of sending a simple “Hooray!” or “Glad you liked it!” type reply that doesn’t give the org vital information. Or at least to drop the org from the thread on such replies to avoid muddying the waters. Especially if the Quote function works within msgs (I don’t think I’ve tried it), I think starting a new msg for that would be pretty easy.

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It’s good to read this, I’m going to start adding my username to my messages to people!
Could we tag pm’s?
Like add a tag saying OWS2 swap or something as we do with the topics.
So you could search for the tag in your messages?

You can also rename messages if anyone forgot to add their username or you want to include information.

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Adding names is a brilliant idea. I know a few people have done that for the OWS and it is really helpful.

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Oh, that’s so smart!

This one, too!

When we originally opened, there was a feature for tagging PMs, but it was built to only allow Moderators to tag PMs. I thought that was so weird, so I disabled it. Let me see if it’s evolved at all since December!

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Is there a way to tag the messages then? If folders are not option, what if we can use our own tagging system?

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That should work pretty well; even if we’ve only got a few tag options it’ll be a lot better than present.

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Okay, friends! I have added usernames to inboxes now. Due to the screen size/real estate they take up, they are viewable on desktops/laptops (not mobile). They should be available in both Light and Dark themes, too.

Check your inboxes and let me know if you see them! :heart:

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I see it! Yay!

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Thank you so much.

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Fantastic!! Thank you so much for working so hard to problem-solve for this community, @sweets4ever!!

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