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email notification on responses

eric moon
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 26, 2000
Posts: 133
I notice there is a checkbox on the page for email notification of a reply when starting a topic, but there is none on a reply page. I'd like to able to be informed whenever something I write generates a response, whether or not I started the topic. Sometimes I have an incomplete answer, or a further related question. And I can't see starting a new topic just for that... but I'd still like to be informed.
It *seems* like it would be a simple change....

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paul wheaton

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20965

I'd like that too. We plan to upgrade the saloon softare soon. If we're lucky, something like that will be in it.

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Terry Roe

Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 13
I went searching for discussions of email notifications for forum threads/posts. Looks like people have wanted this feature for a very long time judging by the thread I'm replying to (2001!). Is there any hope that the forum software will be upgraded or changed to allow this?

It's nice that you can get email notificaitons on new threads you start "if" you remember to check the box. However, I'd also like to be able to mark other interesting threads and posts for automatic email notifications when new posts are made. I know phpBB offers this capability (and many other niceties). So it's not Java. Is that important? I'd really like to see the JavaRanch make a big step forward and use some better forum software like phpBB.

My $.02.

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Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15302

GenRocket - Experts at Building Test Data
Terry Roe

Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 13
I've already looked at the FAQ. Building software from scratch when there is already an excellent solution available doesn't seem like the best approach. Looks like there's a "not invented here" thing going on.

It seems to me that the most important thing is to have a forum that does it's job and works well. phpBB is the standard of feature-rich forum software and everyone seems to use it. I don't know PHP. I don't want to know PHP. But that doesn't mean I won't use a solution written in another language if does what it needs to do and saves repeated effort.
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11776

Hi Terry,

It's great that you are suggesting ways we can improve - we do appreciate that.

In this particular instance, as mentioned in "New Forum Software", it is not a case of "not invented here". We have looked at multiple forum software offerings, and in all cases so far they have all been lacking in several areas that we consider critical.

We then started asking ourselves the (not unreasonable) question - if they cant do exactly what we want now, are they well enough supported that we might get our features added? If not, could we do the modifications ourselves? As a side note to that, we have also had to look at migrating the current data from our existing system to the new system - in almost all cases, this would require us to write dedicated applications to do this.Once we start going down the path of "lets enhance ourselves", the natural question of language comes up. Most of us are here as Java people, and enhancing software in any other language is not something we care to do.

You mentioned that you would like to have the ability to get email notification whenever a "watched" thread is updated. Fair enough. But is that enough to go to phpBB? In my personal opinion: no. Even if we did, what about those people who feel that threaded conversations are the must have feature? It doesnt exist in phpBB - and if we wanted to enhance the software to allow that, we would be back at square one: trying to enhance software in a language other than our favourite.

It's also my understanding that phpBB doesnt allow private forums, such as our Author's forum, our Moderators Only forum, or our Trashcan (and phpBB doesnt appear to have the concept of a Trashcan). We consider this to be esential.

But, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong about those. We welcome any suggestions on how we can improve, so do keep the suggestions comming.

Regards, Andrew

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Terry Roe

Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 13

Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed response. This is the kind of information I was looking for, but hadn't found so far in the ranch. (Perhaps I wasn't thorough enough in my search.)

Perhaps I don't understand how you're using the term threaded discussions. I "believe" phpBB has that. Again, maybe we're not referring to the exact same thing.

I'm not a phpBB "guru" by a long shot. I'm just a user. On the many other forums I visit, phpBB does everything (and I'm sure a lot more) that I want it to do.

From an admin perspective, I have no idea what phpBB does. (At least, not right now. My web hosting provider provides phpBB as a one-click install and I may install it for use on my web site(s).) So, you definitely have the inside track as to whether other forum software meets your needs because I only know the other software from a user perspective and only you folks know what you need from a system admin perspective.

You probably already know this, but I thought I'd relate it on the off chance you don't. When I recently started using JavaRanch, I noticed a significant drop off in usability from other forums I use, as well as having to learn a different set of features. Here, it's not as easy to track my posts and other threads I'm interested in. Also, one of the big pluses of using standard software is that it significantly lowers the ramp up time for new users to get acquainted with the new forum.

That's all I have for now. I guess I'm up to $.04 worth at this point.

Take care,
Akhilesh Trivedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1599
Yes, many a times I post on some threads and keep refreshing the page long often, two days later i found it burried somewhere down.
How about customized look without changing anything anywhere? I mean instead of going-for an e-mail notfication there can be a customize link, the core fourms, topics and board can remain same, except that, we can customize it based on "user-perspective". Something like "my-forums" if the user choses to view from such a perspective, only threads to which e/she is associated are listed, we can have them catgorised as My JSP, My SCJP & My JNLP forum...
[ October 04, 2006: Message edited by: Akhilesh Trivedi ]

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eric moon
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 26, 2000
Posts: 133
how awkward and surprising that there is no java-based bbe software!! open-source gods where are ye, when we needed ye???

Well, let me add to the annoyances with this bbe, the fact that, unlike virtually every other forum I belong to, there is no

"to stop recieving updates on this topic, click the following link"

message tacked on to the emails I am recieving.

Nor is there the reassuring

"you will recieve no further emails until you visit this topic"


No, I get the FULL REMINDER with every single posting lo these many YEARS after lodging the original complaint.

oh the IRONY!!! the mind reels.

Terry Roe

Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 13

Sheesh! I didn't even think of that. I guess I don't want to ever check that box now!

(Sorry to ping you with yet another message on this thread. :roll: )
Kai Witte
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 17, 2004
Posts: 356

sorry for digging this out - again.

In my opinion some more information on the "recent posts" site would do just fine: An extra column that shows the current number of posts for example.

Isn't it a problem for you that people who are waiting for an answer keep reloading a page again and again, wasting a lot of traffic? It seems to be more a problem for the operators than it is for the users.


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Ilja Preuss

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Kai Witte:

Isn't it a problem for you that people who are waiting for an answer keep reloading a page again and again, wasting a lot of traffic? It seems to be more a problem for the operators than it is for the users.

The question is which solution is more feasable: reducing the load by patching the code to incorporate this feature, or simply handling the increased load with more potent hardware.

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Akhilesh Trivedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1599
Thanks to javaranch that I have a "my posts" link near "logout". This really helps me in keeping track of my posts. Thanks again. [ ]
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: email notification on responses
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