blog notification

One of Movable Type’s many features is the option to send an email notification for a new post. I’ve known about the feature ever since I installed Movable Type, but never bothered to do anything with it. You see, there’s the issue of unsubscribing. When a person who was at one time subscribed wants to stop getting the emails, they can’t just stop. They have to ask me to take their email address off the list. If taken the wrong way, it can be mortally offensive to a blogger, similar to removing them from your blogroll. Lives could be ruined and lifelong friendships ended. However, even if I were to make it abundantly clear that I wouldn’t be offended if anyone wanted to be removed from the notification list for whatever reason, I don’t know how useful it would be to the reader.

If I visit a blog once a day, I don’t need to be notified when they’ve made a post because I’ll see it. On the other hand, if I visit in the morning and they post in the afternoon, it might be nice to get the email so I can read it right away and make a comment while it’s still fresh (the discussion of a post’s freshness will be reserved for another time). Then again, if a blogger doesn’t post often, a notification can be helpful because you avoid checking their page day after day, seeing the entry they made three weeks ago. Of course, a blogger could forget to send the notification causing you to miss out on an incredibly captivating post. There’s also the case when a blogger makes multiple posts in one day. Few people want to be spammed about someone else’s blog, but the notification is optional on each post, so that becomes less of a concern as long as the blogger is mindful of other peoples’ inboxes. It’s really quite a complicated issue.

Your thoughts?


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  1. My MT notification doesn’t work, so it’s somewhat of a moot point. I say somewhat, because it refuses to notify me when someone posts to my blog. Because of this, I doubt it would notify others if a new post is made.

    Comment by Cameron on May 1, 2003 @ 1:00 pm
  2. I’m pretty sure nobody has ever signed up to receive notifications from me. Then again, I’m not sure I’d know if anybody had.

    Comment by Meredith on May 1, 2003 @ 3:00 pm
  3. You can see who’s on your notification list by going to the ‘Notifications’ section in Movable Type. There’s always the option of subscribing people at random. They’ll probably let you know if they want to be taken off your list.

    Comment by dan on May 1, 2003 @ 3:19 pm
  4. I think there are about five people on my notification list. I asked each one if they wanted to be notified and what it meant. I don’t mind and actually I prefer to be notified of blog updates via email. I think of it as an indication light on a piece of equipment. When I see the email in mutt I delete it and then goto the site to read the post. If you’re the type of person that reads their email once a week I could see how notifications could get annoying. In fact my wife had me remove her name from my notification list for just that reason.

    Comment by jason on May 1, 2003 @ 3:42 pm
  5. That’s a good point. If you read blogs more often than you check your email, it would be a nuisance.

    Comment by dan on May 1, 2003 @ 3:51 pm
  6. You could use the MT notification to send mail to an email list server list. The email list server allows people to subscribe and unsubscribe at will (usually without admin intervention) and would possible solve your problem. Then MT sends email to the list server list every time something is posted and users are given the opportunity to unsubscribe with each post. This could work if you could make it “easy” for people to subscribe to the email list.

    I am a “member” of a couple websites and find their daily notifications extremely useful. I don’t check the site unless email is sent with a link to the new items. The email message links automatically log me in to the website. It’s great.

    Comment by scott on May 1, 2003 @ 4:18 pm
  7. Scott – That’s an excellent suggestion. I think you’ve solved my quandary.

    Comment by dan on May 1, 2003 @ 5:54 pm
  8. That is a good idea. We just set up some mailing list/announce software here at work. It’s easy to install and configure. I’ll have to look into that for Nicely done Scott.

    Comment by jason on May 1, 2003 @ 6:28 pm
  9. It’s funny you asked about how to solve this problem. I recently installed MT and the thought just crossed my mind. I didn’t even realize that MT required the admin to add/remove people manually.

    Glad I could help.

    Comment by scott on May 1, 2003 @ 10:31 pm
  10. I’ve decided to try out topica for the list. If anyone wants to be notified when I make a new post, send a blank email to this address.

    Comment by dan on May 2, 2003 @ 9:14 am
  11. Actually, I was just reading some of the MT docs, because no notifications of any kind work for me (it refuses to notify me when someone posts a comment). If you look at docs/mtmanual_notifications.html it actually gives you some code you can on your site to let people add themselves. A mailing list is probably just as easy, but I thought I mention this.

    Comment by Cameron on May 8, 2003 @ 8:55 am
  12. Yipee! I’m so excited — I just got notification working. For some reason, sendmail wasn’t doing its job, so I got the Mail::Sendmail Perl module, installed it, changed the mt.cfg file to recognize the changed, and now I’m all better.

    Comment by Cameron on May 8, 2003 @ 9:25 am
  13. I believe I looked at that code, but it only handles the subscription, not the unsubscriptions.

    Congrats on getting your MT notifications working.

    Comment by dan on May 9, 2003 @ 5:03 pm

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