Inactivity Email Alert

I’d like to request a feature that will send users emails when they’ve reached a certain milestone of days inactive with no posts, reshares, or likes.

What’s your rationale for wanting this feature? And what sort of an email are you thinking of sending to them? To me, as a long-term user, it has the whiff of the practices of e.g. Facebook in trying to pull users back in for their regular endorphin hit. But I am quite cynical, perhaps.

There is a feature to expire long-unused accounts (original pull request here), so that could perhaps be adapted to send other emails to people who hadn’t posted for a while. But I’d like to know more about what it is you want from this feature before deciding what I think about it.


I suppose my main reason for wanting it is kind of like you said. I pay for my server and to have the website up and for the services, and work hard to make sure I can provide a great community for people to enjoy that’s up to date and secure. If I have users who joined and haven’t logged in in a while, then I’d like to ping them and let them know this awesome service is still here. I’m not selling them anything, and all the expense is on my end, but it’s a lot like sales really. You’ll get more sales if you follow-up. Same thing here. If you never follow-up with your users when they’re inactive, you run a much higher chance percentage that they won’t come back, and if you do follow up, the chances of bounce rate dropping gets much better.

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I agree with @goob that sounds like standard Facebook/Google/etc practice. I’m not necessarily opposed to it because I know I’ve sometimes enjoyed being notified that I hadn’t logged in awhile to a site I forgot about and then went on to indulge myself a little in their interactions again. If we were to add something like this I would say that it should be an opt-out default.

I guess if it were done in the right way, it could be OK. Just something friendly, like:

We notice you haven’t visited diaspora* for a while. We’d love to have you be a regular part of your community. If you want to pop back to see what people are saying, just sign in here [link].

If you don’t want to remain part of diaspora*'s community, you can close your account. All your personal data will be removed. Click here [link].

Let’s see what other people think.

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I don’t think we need something like this, we aren’t facebook (or whichever other social network does this too). I’m usually always annoyed by such messages.

But if such feature is added only if it’s disabled by default and only if a user can opt-out to it too, because some users only want to login every two months and don’t need a reminder for that every month.

If it’s going to be opt-in by each user I don’t think it would be worth creating this, because I can’t imagine any user (or at most, very few) would tick a box to receive reminder emails if they don’t log in for a while. So if the consensus ends up being that this should be opt-in only, I don’t think it should be added at all.

I meant opt-in for the podmins and if enabled by the podmin, opt-out for the users.

If a system like this were to be made, it would make sense that it have anti-spam enabled. Like, you can’t set it for 24 hours. Once a MONTH is far more than enough, and if someone is annoyed by getting an email because they haven’t logged into a server after a month, then 1. They should turn off their email, and 2. They should close their account or opt out of any emails at all.

I don’t mean this to be rude at all, but I’m quite tired of the “we’re not facebook” rhetoric. It’s pretty obvious what we are, and what we aren’t. This method of sending out emails, for example, was never initially used by facebook, actually, and has been used for a very long time, because it’s a good tactic. I suggest we get the “we’re not facebook” idea out of our heads and just focus on what works.

This is indeed marketing. Marketing has bad reputation in open source project. IMO that’s a shame, as it is helpful to have users, and users are why a project is useful. However, this proposition isn’t the best way to bring back users in my opinion: the content would only mean “come back” without telling a reason. If the user stopped to come in the first place, we need to solve the reason he leaves before asking him to return.

So, write emails to inactive users to tell them to come back, yes, doing so in an automatic way without specific news, no. I guess a good timing to contact them could be when we release a new major version. We usually write a blog post about it, we could provide it to podmins as an ready-to-be-sent email, they’ll then decide if they want to send it to their users, or not.

I think it would be a good idea to have such a reminder email in place. Not only FB and G use this. Also these forums send an overview of “what you have missed the passed x days”.
Some people just need to get reminded that they do have an account on diaspora*.
What @goob suggested to send the reminder with login link and remove link could do the trick to not have it a desperate scream for people to return.
IMO there is no use in having a lot of accounts registered on a pod with 90% completely dead accounts. It is one of the reasons that I have activated a cleanup of accounts after long (990 days) period of time of inactivity with a warning 3 months prior to removal.