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Request to fix the email problem

By Christian Scheuer @chrscheuer2021-05-27 11:07:59.772Z

Hi @KajMagnus

As you know, lots of users end up responding to forum emails because they believe their response will end up with us.
You've been manually forwarding this to us.

As our user base grows, that's unsustainable for you - and for us.

Those forwards bypasses all of our inbox automation, so it means we spend way too much time on dealing with these emails. With our expected huge growth in the fall, this could become very unmanageable very quickly if we don't find a way to fix it soon.

From our perspective, the best implementation would be that there's an autoresponder at the no-reply email you're sending from, that would simply reply to the user sending the email that their email won't be read.

Longer term, of course, you could implement some parsing logic etc. that makes it into an actual reply on the forum. But in my opinion, that is not necessary, and such an implementation would likely take very long and be very prone to errors / different reply-formattings in various email clients etc.

Would it be possible to set up an auto-responder at the no-reply address without making it too complex?

  • 9 replies
  1. C
    Christian Scheuer @chrscheuer2021-05-27 11:09:58.345Z

    It also might be worth it to look at the formatting of the emails sent from Talkyard to see if it can be made more visual/clearer that they can't reply to them.

    1. KajMagnus @KajMagnus2021-05-30 16:35:51.187Z

      There could be a big colorful "Reply" button that is in fact a link to the post, over at the forum.
      Bigger than the Reply button in the email client :- )

      1. CChristian Scheuer @chrscheuer2021-05-31 07:47:40.044Z

        That sounds like a good idea :)

    2. In reply tochrscheuer:
      KajMagnus @KajMagnus2021-05-30 16:39:25.722Z2021-06-04 11:19:12.385Z

      I've had a look at Amazon SES and Postmarkapp, and I didn't see any quick way to configure automatic replies (autoresponder). (Unlike with personal email, e.g. Gmail, then it's quick & simple, right.)

      What's on my mind right now, is to listen to Postmarkapp webhooks / API, and then send an email back to the person who tried to reply via email. — This shouldn't be that much work. And later, when supporting other email services, or having an incoming email handler in its own container as part of Talkyard, then, some of that work would already have been done.

      1. CChristian Scheuer @chrscheuer2021-05-31 07:47:19.057Z

        Gotcha, thanks for looking into this. This sounds like a good idea.

        Only thing I would say to look out for is to make sure it doesn't go into loops (if the user you're sending to has an auto-reply) - so maybe the reply-to address from the email you're sending in return to their reply should be a different, even more nonono-reply address. That would ensure there are no loops, while still providing the user with a response.

        1. KajMagnus @KajMagnus2021-06-04 11:18:59.807Z

          make sure it doesn't go into loops

          Yes, good point. There's going to be a flag in the database, so one can reply just once. And the "you can't reply" info email, wouldn't be possible to reply to.

          I'd think this'll be fixed in about 3 weeks — the next version will include an incoming emails webhooks endpoint that just logs to a log file, and the next-next version might send a "you can't reply" email.

          1. CChristian Scheuer @chrscheuer2021-06-04 12:44:57.604Z

            Awesome! Thank you :)

      2. In reply tochrscheuer:
        KajMagnus @KajMagnus2021-06-10 09:15:34.597Z

        Status update: Now the incoming email webhook that just logs to a log file, works.
        Now I'm adding a reply-to unique random value in the From: SMTP header so Talkyard knows who's trying to reply: From: no-reply+UNIQUE_VALUE@talkyard.example.com.

        1. CChristian Scheuer @chrscheuer2021-06-10 09:45:23.200Z

          WOHOOOO

        2. Progress
          with handling this problem
        3. @KajMagnus marked this topic as Planned 2021-05-30 16:43:44.314Z.
        4. @KajMagnus marked this topic as Started 2021-06-04 11:20:19.089Z.