TL;DR; How we used passwordless authentication to give users a low friction way of accessing private data.
A popular feature on Gaggle Mail is the searchable message archive, this has always been available to group administrators but we wanted to make it available to group members.
Group administrators already have an account with us which they used to create their group but all we know about members is their email address. Requiring members to create an account to view the message archive seemed a little too heavy weight for something they probably wouldn’t do often. However making the full message archive available to anyone who had acquired a ’secret’ member link was far too open.
Giving It a Try
Passwordless authentication seemed like a great fit for what we needed and since we already had the standard ‘forgot password’ workflow adding it was quite straight forward. I won’t go into how passwordless authentication works here since there’s already some great articles out there explaining it. Now when a member goes to the message archive they see a note asking them to click a button to receive a link giving them access to the archive. They immediately receive the email and on clicking the link they’re taken straight to the full message archive. After an hour the link will expire and clicking it will just redirect to the standard member page where if necessary they can request another time limited link.
This feature was a real hit with our users, the convenience of having access to the message archive without creating an account is a big plus.
A concern with this sort of workflow can be the latency while waiting for the email to arrive, since email is a massive part of what we do we already have lots of infrastructure in place to get the link in their hands as quickly as possible.
Passwordless authentication was worked well for us here, it’s not going to be the best fit for all circumstances but when you want to give a level of secure access without burdening the user with creating a user account it works well – especially if you already have their email address.
Gaggle Mail has supported message moderation for a while but we’ve just made some enchantments to make it more flexible and powerful. The first thing you will notice is that we’ve moved all moderation options into their own tab.
In the new Moderation tab the first option is to switch moderation on or off. Below that is a new section where you can specify who should the moderators for your group. Previously the group moderators were just the administrators but now you can nominate people to be moderators without being an administrator. However administrators are still moderators.
Next is a section where you can specify whose messages get moderated. There are two options; “Everyone expect these people” and “Just these people”. If you select “Everyone except these people” then everyone sending to the group will have their messages moderated apart from and names you add below. Alternatively selecting “Just these people” will only moderate messages from the names listed below. As was previously the case administrators (and now moderators) don’t have their messages moderated.
Finally at the bottom of the moderation tab is a new option “Notify sender when message held for moderation”. When enabled this option will send an email to anyone who’s message has been held for moderation to let them it has been held an will be sent to the group once someone has approved it.
How messages are handled once they’ve been held for moderation hasn’t changed and you can read about it here. If you have any comments or thoughts on these changes we’ve made please don’t hesitate to let us know.
After introducing the ability to compose new messages last month we’re pleased to announce that you can now reply to messages directly from within Gaggle Mail. We’ve rearranged the layout of the message popup to now show ‘Reply to Group’ and ‘Reply’ buttons.
As you can imagine clicking ‘Reply to Group’ will open the message for editing and pre-select your group address as the recipient. Likewise the ‘Reply’ button will open a reply going to the original sender of the message.
The ability to reply to messages from within Gaggle Mail gives us the opportunity to fulfil a long term user request and that is the ability to reply to messages send in a daily digest. We now include a ‘Reply to Message’ button at the bottom of every message listed in digest emails. This now makes the Daily Digest feature a much more viable option when you want to remain part of the conversation but not get overwhelmed.
As with many features we build this came about from a user suggestion so if you have any ideas of how we can improve Gaggle Mail or make it work better for you then we’d love to hear them.
Sending a message to your group has just got even easier; you can now compose and send messages directly for the Gaggle Mail web interface. The full functional text editor allows you format your message with ease. Adding links, lists or images is a breeze using the toolbar actions. You can even directly edit the HTML generated for your message to give you even more control.
This feature works great on desktop or mobile and is easily accessed from the Compose button on the top left (desktop) or slide-out menu (mobile).
As with all features we add to Gaggle Mail we’re really tried to keep things as simple as possible, you just type in your message and hit send – that’s it!
We are also planning to add the ability to reply to messages directly from our web interface which will be especially useful to people using the Daily Digest option – so watch this space.
I’m delighted to let you know that we’ve just made adding members to your group even easier. You can now drag and drop a .csv or Excel (.xlsx) file containing member names and email addresses directly into Gaggle Mail and we will extract all their details and prepare them to be added to your list.
It now takes just seconds to go from zero to 1000 members!
You can still directly enter member details or copy and paste them into the text area to get them added. As long as each member is on a separate line then they can be entered in a wider variety of formats; comma separated, tab separated, email address first, name first or just email address on it’s own.
If any of the addresses you are adding already belong to members of your group we will let you know, as well as if the list contains any duplicate addresses.
We hope you will find this streamlined approach to adding members to your group both more powerful and easier to use. If you do have any feedback about this feature or anything else then please do let us know.
Gaggle Mail is all about making group email as easy to use as possible. With that in mind we’ve just released an update which makes setting up your group even easier. Now when you create a new group with Gaggle Mail we show you a quick setup up wizard that walks you through the main customizations that are made to groups. These few steps explain what each setting does and how it affects messages being sent across your group. This setup process is totally optional, you can quit it at any time and go back and change any of the settings later at any point. We have always been about making group email discussion lists as easy as possible to use and opening them up to an audience that would have previously been put off creating one. With this new step-by-step approach to getting your list up and running we think we’ve made things even easier. As we’ve previously said “If you can use email, you can use Gaggle Mail” this is now truer than ever.
Sometimes groups want to communicate via group email but keep their individual email addresses hidden. To facilitate this we’ve added Privacy group setting which hides the email addresses of members from other members but allows them to communicate freely.
With this feature enabled your group will continue to work as usual but the email addresses of other members will be hidden. You can still reply directly to a member however this will use a proxy email address which will keep the original senders address hidden.
You can read more about this feature here.
Our daily digest feature is very popular allowing people to receive one digest email a day. However if you’re not actually receiving the individual messages then you can’t reply to them and join the discussion. Until now.
Now when you receive your daily digest and click the link to view the original email we show you a “Send to me” button on the message to get it straight to your inbox giving you the opportunity to reply.
I’m delighted to let you know we’ve just introduced the ability to resend messages to any member of your group. This option is only available to administrators of your group and you can do this from the Message archive.
Messages can be resent to any current member of your list even if they we’re not a member of your group when the message was originally sent. This can be really useful if you have a special welcome or introduction email you like to send to all new members to your.
we hope you find this feature useful and if you have any feedback then please let us know.
When running a community group email list your main concern is that your members are getting the messages sent to them. Emails can failed to be delivered for lots of reasons but before you can fix the delivery problems you have to know which mails are not getting through.
To make it super easy to see any delivery problems with your group email listsrv we’ve introduced a group Health Score. Your group’s Health Score is calculated be analyzing the last few messages sent to your group and rating, out of 100, how well those messages were delivered to your members.
When there are delivery problems we list the members which are having problems along with the specific issue they are facing and most importantly a solution of how to fix the problem.
All this useful information can be accesses from the new Health section in your group management page.