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Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_maintenance2013-04-20 11:46 am

Heads up: Replying from comment notification emails will be changing with next code push

Monday night/Tuesday morning's code push will include a change to comment email notifications designed to make it much (much!) easier to reply to comments from the email notification. I wanted to give everyone a heads up ahead of time so y'all don't worry when you see the change!

As it stands now, replying to a comment email notification requires you to a) have HTML emails enabled, b) be able to load a Dreamwidth web page by submitting the form (so it doesn't work if you read the email while you're at work if your work has Dreamwidth blocked, for instance) and c) be logged in as the account you're trying to reply as. This causes problems and annoyance for people who use text-only emails (like me!), for people who are trying to reply somewhere that they can't load Dreamwidth itself (which kind of defeats the purpose of comment notification emails in some cases), and -- most often -- for people who have multiple Dreamwidth accounts, who have to log in and out of different accounts all day. People have developed all kinds of workarounds, including browser extensions that will do the logging in and out for you, but not only is that still kind of annoying, those browser extensions have a really annoying habit of losing your login cookies, and of course they don't work if you're not on your own computer.

So [personal profile] fu has completely overhauled the process of replying by email. After our next code push, the reply form will be removed from notification emails entirely. Instead, you'll be able to reply to a notification email inside your mail client, just like you'd reply to any other email, and your reply will be posted to the site.

You can read the FAQ -- How do I reply to comments from email notifications? -- before the feature goes live, but some questions I anticipate:

Do I have to do anything special in my email reply?

Just reply to it the way you'd reply to any other email. The only requirement is that the text of your reply must come before all the quoted material. (In other words, you need to "top-post" your reply text.)

Do I have to set anything up first to make it work?

If your email client is set up to send emails from the same email address you've confirmed for your Dreamwidth account, you don't have to do anything special to set things up ahead of time. If your email client is set up to use a different email address -- maybe you forward your Dreamwidth comment notifications to a different address than your confirmed email address, or are using the email format as your confirmed email address (to sort your emails locally) but send email from instead -- you'll need to set whatever email address you send email from as an authorized email address for email posting/commenting.

How do I set the subject for my comment?

To change a comment's subject, change the subject of the email. If you leave the subject alone, the comment will have the same subject as the comment you're replying to (or no subject if the comment you're replying to didn't have one).

How do I set an icon for my comment?

To pick an icon other than your default, add "post-icon: keyword" as the first line of your reply. For instance, if the text of my comment is "I am happy!" and I want to use the icon keyworded "happy", the text of my reply email would be:
post-icon: happy
I am happy!
> Quoted text appears here

What if I have multiple accounts with the same confirmed email address?

Replying to a comment notification email will always post the comment as the account the notification was sent to. For instance, even if [personal profile] username and [personal profile] username2 have the same confirmed email address, if I receive a notification email to [personal profile] username and reply to it, the comment will appear from [personal profile] username -- even if my browser is logged in as [personal profile] username2 at the time.

Can I reply to a comment email as an account other than the account that received the notification?

No. For security, the reply will always be posted as the account that received the notification. If you need or want to reply as another user (or anonymously), you'll have to follow the link to reply at the website, same as before.

So how does it work?

After the code push, each comment notification email will have a unique reply-to address that includes information about what comment it's replying to, plus a secret authorization token to identify you. When you hit 'reply', your email client should use the reply-to address, which will make sure the email gets to where it's going. (If your email client isn't set up to use the reply-to address rather than the 'from' address automatically, you'll need to either change that setting, or remember to always use the reply-to address instead.)

If you ever accidentally share the reply-to address with someone else, that person might be able to reply as you under some (rare) circumstances, so it's important to keep the reply-to address secret. If you ever accidentally share it with someone, you'll be able to reset the secret authorization token on the Mobile tab of Account Settings. Resetting the token will mean you won't be able to reply to old comment emails anymore, but new comment emails will generate a new secret authorization token for future use.

Again, this will not be live until the next code push, but if you've got any other questions in advance, let me know! I think that as soon as you see it, you'll fall in love with it as much as I have -- especially if you're trying to juggle multiple accounts. :)

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