The Sword and Laser discussion

276 views
Feedback Requested: The new Monthly S&L Message

Comments Showing 1-50 of 52 (52 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
One of the things that came out of the 2018/19 Challenge survey is that people wanted more information about the group.

I ran the idea by Veronica and Tom and they are OK with it. They've given me freedom to kind of format it how I see fit.

I know off the bat not everyone is going to be happy about getting extra email, so I want to make it infrequent and keep it short, but informative.


Here is my current plan:

* Letting people know what the monthly book pick is (with a link to the announcement thread)
* The new podcasts that were created since last month (with links to the discussion threads)
* A basic update on the group challenges with a link to the stat posts I make each month.
* Any Additional announcements with relevant links (polls, March Madness, etc)
* Links to the What Else are you Reading, FAQ & Introduction threads

I was originally thinking I'd send this email on the first of every month when I'm doing all the other monthly upkeep I do for the group, but I think it would probably be more valuable if it do it whenever the new book pick is announced instead.

The only real drawback I can think of is that I won't have links to the stats for that month. Instead I'll be linking to the stats from the last month. I think that's probably OK. Anyone that really cares about the stats can always come find them without getting an email from me.

I'll at least include the current totals of the challenge in my message (books pledged, books read, number of participants) so those will at least be up to date for the time of the message.

This way if people somehow miss the podcast/thread announcements, they'll also get an email giving them some time to get a copy of the book before the read begins rather than right when it's starting.


I’m open to suggestions on what else to add/the format. I can always tweak it. What do you guys think?


message 2: by Travis (new)

Travis Foster (travismfoster) | 116 comments The first of the month would be great if it includes the pick for the subsequent month. Having the pick a month in advance would allow more of us to get our hands on the book in time to participate in discussions.


message 3: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2253 comments Obviously the most important question: Will you include the running total in the Scorecard: Dara vs Trike thread?!

All kidding aside, I think all of your ideas are great. Thanks for all the work you do for the group!


message 4: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments I like it. Carry on!


message 5: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey (JWhitsitt) | 10 comments Wonderful idea! Thanks for taking this on.

It will be tremendously helpful to know when the next read is when announced.


message 6: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Travis wrote: "The first of the month would be great if it includes the pick for the subsequent month. Having the pick a month in advance would allow more of us to get our hands on the book in time to participate..."

It won't be a month in advance. Book picks get announced typically 1-2 weeks ahead of time. I don't see that likely to change.

The earliest I can/would do it is the same day/time as the announcement thread. Those go up depending on how/when the book is announced.

There are several ways this currently happens:

1) Podcast
2) Twitter
3) Added to the Group Bookshelf by Tom/Veronica
4) Patreon
5) A poll for the book is finished/results are made public

I don't get advance notice of the book picks. I find out from one of those ways and I post an announcement thread. Sometimes another member beats me to it.


message 7: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Richter (StephenofLongBeach) | 923 comments Also a infrequent hint to check out the events page for the Local Meetups and perhaps an encouragement to start one up. Every year there seem to be more local groups popping up here and there.


message 8: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Stephen wrote: "Also a infrequent hint to check out the events page for the Local Meetups and perhaps an encouragement to start one up. Every year there seem to be more local groups popping up here and there."

That's a good idea. I can add an upcoming events and put links the the various events that get made for the local meetups.


Sean Lookielook Sandulak (SeanSandulak) | 408 comments I've been doing a monthly update for Vaginal Fantasy for a while now. The format I use is:
• Current book
• Next online chat
• Monthly book poll
• Reading challenge update
• Group re-read (of previous group picks)
• Miscellaneous announcements (host projects, appearances, new merch, etc)

I can confirm that they greatly increase member involvement, especially on polls which can bump participation up 200%. The best recommendation I can give is to keep the message brief and then link to the relevant information. And always put the most important stuff first.


message 10: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2253 comments Sean Sandilookielook to the rescue!


message 11: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 3665 comments I like the idea of it but it should be short and sweet. If I have to read a ton of links/click through a lot to find what I want, I'm not going to bother. Or, if there is a lot of chaff and not much wheat, if the wheat (current book, next book, any polls) is at the top, it will help the auto-deletion rule.


message 12: by Dave (new)

Dave Packard | 93 comments Might not need to be in this update, but it might be cool to start getting some stats on the local meetups - number of attendees, of those how many read the book + ?? I think it would be cool to see how many people are involved in this way. I have to say I love getting together with my local group (Orange County, CA) http://gsbyvalentinoschoolwear.co.uk/event/show/... as I don’t have the opportunity to hang out with a bunch of nerds like me very often!


message 13: by Rick (last edited Dec 21, 2018 05:43PM) (new)

Rick | 2193 comments My thoughts... There's a natural tension between wanting to put everything in so that nothing's missed and keeping it readable. My suggestion would be to do one of two approaches:

First would be to have 1-3 main items that I can read entirely in the email. Link out to a long explanation if you want, but if I read just the content in the email I should get the important stuff. Then, under those items, have a list of links to other things that some might be interested in, e.g. local meetup info.

OR

Second, do the same approach as above but if you think there are going to be more than 3 items whose content should be in the email then do 1-3 main items as above and another 1-3 smaller items that give a sentence or three and link out. THEN the list of links if needed.

IF you can, get analytics on what people click on. Email marketing platforms like Mailchimp have this built in, if you're using a GR product I don't know. But the idea is to see if anyone even clicks on the items past the first 3 or so. IF not, including them is a waste of your time. IF so... keep on keeping on.


message 14: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Yeah, Goodreads doesn't provide any feedback.

I'm about to send out the first message soon, so people don't miss out on voting for the January pick, rather than waiting until the vote has ended/a winner has been decided.

People will just have to come back to the site to see the winner after the poll ends.

I think this first message is going to be a bit longer than in general, because I plan to link to this thread.

Part of me wants to create another survey, just to get some feedback on the format for this. lol.


message 15: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 2338 comments Mod
Just a suggestion Rob. But in future messages it might be best to use country/continent neutral date formats.

Like January 2, 2019 or 2 January, 2019

Written as 1/2/2019 it could be viewed as 1st of February to us foreigners ;-)


message 16: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Tassie Dave wrote: "Just a suggestion Rob. But in future messages it might be best to use country/continent neutral date formats.

Like January 2, 2019 or 2 January, 2019

Written as 1/2/2019 it could be viewed as 1st..."


Good Suggestion. I'll make the change for next month.

Personally I use the form 20190102 so that it sorts in date order. But then I'm a software engineer..so..yeah.

Also, I'm glad someone got the message. I did't get a copy, so I was starting to panic..

I've used it on my other group and I get an email. Of course that group only has 625 people. This one has like 24k..


message 17: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1023 comments I got it too Rob. Thanks for all the work you do for us.


message 18: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Hmm. Mine finally showed up and it appears not all of the links are working for me. :(

The html looks right. I'm not sure what happened.

What's worse is the voting link doesn't work.

I think next month I'll do away with the html links, and just have direct links so it doesn't happen again.


message 19: by Dave (new)

Dave Packard | 93 comments Hey Rob, the link to this thread worked at least. I love the update and wouldn’t change a thing... except the non functioning links. I’ll have to see if they work for me now!


message 20: by David (new)

David (farrakut) | 751 comments Rob, hit me up sometime, I've used HTML and GR-style links in these messages before without any issues (I send out bi-monthly messages for a GR group I'm a moderator of with 4k+), and yes, the emails can take a bit to show up in one's own box. :)


message 21: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 7 comments Yeah I just came here to say that my voting link didn’t work either....


message 22: by Rob, Roberator (last edited Dec 22, 2018 02:10PM) (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
David wrote: "Rob, hit me up sometime, I've used HTML and GR-style links in these messages before without any issues (I send out bi-monthly messages for a GR group I'm a moderator of with 4k+), and yes, the emai..."

Thanks, but I know how to do HTML already. I think I figured out what happened.

It looks like it's an issue with the double quotes. Half of the links seem to have ” instead of ". It's subtle, but once I popped the draft into an html editor it was immediately apparent.

I created a template in Google Docs first and the copy/pasted. However about half of the links I ended up adding on the fly and just typing the html out by hand. I think those are the links that actually worked.

The Mass Spam interface is TERRIBLE. I hit preview and it looked fine, but I was unable to open any of the links in a new tab to test them.

Oh well. Live and learn. Next month I'll copy/paste the draft into an html editor to make sure they links aren't broken before sending.


message 23: by David (last edited Dec 21, 2018 11:21PM) (new)

David (farrakut) | 751 comments Sorry, Rob, didn't mean to imply you didn't know how, just trying to figure out how. I've never done the messages outside of the text window so I can see where Google Docs messed up.

However, I do want to say that I **am** able to open the links in the preview window for the "Broadcast to All Members" message. (Right now, using Firefox, but usually use Chrome)


message 24: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
David wrote: "However, I do want to say that I **am** able to open the links in the preview window for the "Broadcast to All Members" message. (Right now, using Firefox, but usually use Chrome) "

Hmm. I did it in Chrome. It could be that, or maybe I couldn't click them because they were broken.


message 25: by David (new)

David (farrakut) | 751 comments Rob wrote: "David wrote: "However, I do want to say that I **am** able to open the links in the preview window for the "Broadcast to All Members" message. (Right now, using Firefox, but usually use Chrome) "

..."


I won't get home from work for another 5 hours (no Chrome at work), but I'll double check it when I do.


message 26: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 2338 comments Mod
Rob wrote: "Personally I use the form 20190102 so that it sorts in date order. But then I'm a software engineer..so..yeah."

I use that form as well for all my computer files, docs, photos, etc for automatic sorting.

My excuse is that I'm a nerd ;-)


message 27: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Tassie Dave wrote: "Rob wrote: "Personally I use the form 20190102 so that it sorts in date order. But then I'm a software engineer..so..yeah."

I use that form as well for all my computer files, docs, photos, etc for..."


Lol. I was talking about date formats with someone and they are like normal people don't name files that way, you're just a programmer.


message 28: by Marisa (new)

Marisa Gettas | 6 comments I just got the email update, Rob!
I think it's a great idea. Got me over here, all likety-split-like, to vote in the poll ;)


message 29: by Ben (new)

Ben | 53 comments As someone who follows the group closely, there wasn't anything in there that I wasn't aware of. I wouldn't mind the email being longer if it included cool things that are easier to miss :)


message 30: by David (new)

David (farrakut) | 751 comments Rob, just tested it with my Chrome browser, I definitely get working links in the Message Preview (whether Goodreads [book] links or actual HTML "a href=" links).


message 31: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Spencer (BryanSpencer) | 21 comments First off I would like to say thank you for the monthly email, very happy to see it and love that this will be a thing.

Maybe a way to support blurb at the end.. Patron, Tom's Books, etc.


message 32: by Troy (new)

Troy | 57 comments I liked it. If you've got time to write it I'll find time to read it.


message 33: by Aeryn98 (new)

Aeryn98 | 159 comments This is a wonderful idea!


message 34: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "First off I would like to say thank you for the monthly email, very happy to see it and love that this will be a thing.

Maybe a way to support blurb at the end.. Patron, Tom's Books, etc."


I like that idea. Ill add a link to the Patreon


message 35: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Ben wrote: "As someone who follows the group closely, there wasn't anything in there that I wasn't aware of. I wouldn't mind the email being longer if it included cool things that are easier to miss :)"

Im not sure what else I'd highlight. I do have a section for special announcements (like the March Madness stuff), but I think if you follow the goodreads group closely, it's going to be hard to add stuff you're not aware of without overrunning it with links.


message 36: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
David wrote: "Rob, just tested it with my Chrome browser, I definitely get working links in the Message Preview (whether Goodreads [book] links or actual HTML "a href=" links)."

I'll just take it as a sign that it wasnt working because of the bad quotes and I should have investigated BEFORE sending it to 24k people instead of after.


message 37: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4913 comments Dara wrote: "Obviously the most important question: Will you include the running total in the Scorecard: Dara vs Trike thread?!"

Capital suggestion! 2 points for you!


message 38: by Ian (new)

Ian Seal (Rebel-Geek) | 85 comments I think the email was good. I already voted, so I didn’t try the links.
Some graphics would be nice.


message 39: by Minsta (new)

Minsta | 57 comments Thank you Rob - your email was appreciated! It was very good to have the heads up about the poll for the January pick. I might have missed it if I had not received your email. This time of year it can be difficult to keep up with the group.


message 40: by KevBayer (new)

KevBayer (SporadicReviews) | 513 comments I replied to the email with my comments. I think it sucks!

KIDDING! I told Rob I thought it was a great idea and thanked him for his efforts.

I hope our overlords are paying him well! Keep up the good work, Rob!


message 41: by Camille (new)

Camille | 1 comments Tried to vote for “Ninefox Gambit”. Button didn’t work.


message 42: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Camille wrote: "Tried to vote for “Ninefox Gambit”. Button didn’t work."

You mean on the poll page (http://gsbyvalentinoschoolwear.co.uk/poll/show/1...) or in the message I sent?


message 43: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Richter (StephenofLongBeach) | 923 comments yes Camille, click the above and vote. One vote may decide it . At least I hope


message 44: by David (new)

David | 67 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Rob wrote: "Personally I use the form 20190102 so that it sorts in date order. But then I'm a software engineer..so..yeah."

I use that form as well for all my computer files, docs, photos, etc for..."


No need for an excuse for doing things the right way.


message 45: by Mark (new)

Mark (mmtz) | 1027 comments A fine effort Rob. Thank you. I think this will be useful for many folks.


message 46: by Meaghan (new)

Meaghan (ladymeag) | 10 comments How does one get the email? I'd be very interested in having the book title as soon as announced as I often forget to check for the new title and I'm not a podcast-listener (I just have enjoyed reading discussion and following along with reading challenges and reading suggestions.)


message 47: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 2338 comments Mod
Meaghan wrote: "How does one get the email? "

Rob will send a "Group Message" to everyone in this group.

You will automatically get this as an email also if you have it set up in your "Accounts Settings" to receive an email whenever someone sends you a message.


message 48: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 591 comments So far I've liked it


message 49: by Meaghan (new)

Meaghan (ladymeag) | 10 comments Tassie Dave wrote:
Rob will send a "Group Message" to everyone in this group.

You will automatically get this as an email also if you have it set up in your "Accounts S..."


Odd. I get emails for another group I'm in (and my settings indicate that this is what I'd prefer) but didn't get an email for this one. I checked my messages feed here on Goodreads and see it there, though. Probably just some temporary error or issue. I'll keep an eye out for the next one. Thanks!


message 50: by Sean Lookielook (new)

Sean Lookielook Sandulak (SeanSandulak) | 408 comments You'll always get a broadcast message in your Goodreads inbox which you can read on desktop or with the app.

You can get the messages sent to your regular inbox by going to the "Email" tab in "Account Settings" (Click on your avatar on desktop). Scroll down to "Event Notifications" and check the "Also send me an email" the box for When someone on Goodreads: " Sends me a message".

If you had that checked and didn't receive an email, check your spam folder and whitelist it.


« previous 1
back to top