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Here's how we explain it to our users:
The Join and Follow features serve two separate functions.
Join: The basic function of joining a group is to become a member, to gain access and the ability to view and post content. By Group type
- Open Group: You do not have to join to view or post content
- Members Only: You do not have to join to view content, but you must join in order to post content. A request to join is automatically approved
- Private: You must join (aka be a member) in order to view or post content. A request to join must be approved by a Group owner.
- Unlisted: You must be a member in order to view or post content. A Group owner must invite you to join, there is no way for you to request to join.
Follow: The basic function of following a group is to monitor content and activity in the Group
- Following a Group will automatically add the activity from the Group to your Followed Activity feed on the Activity page
- You can use your email notification preferences to control when, or if, you receive email notifications of followed activity
- Your ability to follow a Group sometimes depends on whether or not you have joined
- Open Group: You do not have to join in order to follow
- Members Only: You do not have to join in order to follow
- Private: You must join in order to follow
- Unlisted: You must join in order to follow
By default when you Join a group you will also automatically Follow that Group in your Connections stream. It is possible to Follow a Group without Joining it (Open, Members Only). If you change a Group to a more closed setting, for example from Open to Private, it is possible for someone to be Following the Group but not actually be a member of the Group (in which case they won't get any notifications, even though they are "Following" the Group).
Thank you for the helpful reply! That much more eloquently explains what I thought was the process . I wish it was a little more straightforward to our clients who do not see the visibility settings for a group, but this will help explain internally how we should think about setting up groups. Much appreciated!
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Thanks G. Brett Miller - really helpful indeed!
Still a terribly convoluted process, though, and adding the complexity of Inbox / vs Email / vs Daily - just turns it into a real muddle....
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After "joining vs. following", one of the next big questions we get from people is about "Inbox/streams vs. email notifications" (we don't have Daily yet). Usually the question comes in the form of, "How do I sign up for email notifications?" To which we have to reply, "Well, first you follow it in your Inbox or a stream, and then you set your preferences so that your Inbox or that stream sends an email notification...."
It can come across as convoluted, but to me it provides a nice flexibility, a way to control my own experience. And I think that is a big challenge for a lot of corporate users: most employees are not used to having the ability to control how/when/where they receive notifications, and in the case of Jive it's not just a matter of "having the ability" but of actually being responsible for setting up your own configuration.
I won't disagree that it can be complicated to figure out, though
Agreed Tanya, I think our Product Managers are particularly confused as to why the process is so muddled. Perhaps this is something that makes sense for internal communities, but it's creating adoption issues both internally and externally with our client focused community. I hope with a little more testing, it'll eventually make sense so that I can explain it to my teams . Thanks to G. Brett Miller for breaking it down!
For me at least Groups don't give quite the granularity of control.
Either groups are public (meaning anyone can initiate discussion and comment) or they are private (meaning, not exposed at all).
My preference would be to have an access level where anyone can read a group but to participate at all, they have to become a "member" of the group.
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Secondarily you asked about following vs. Inbox. Jive maintains its own inbox. So if users don't want their Jive content flowing to their email, they can review and respond via their Jive Inbox.
However, if users are more email centric and want their Jive content to flow into their email, they can under preferences change the Inbox setting to On. This will push the Jive Inbox items to their email.
Thanks Jamie Battin! So to drill down a bit more....if they do not have Inbox settings to On initially, when they select "Follow" a group, it will not automatically go to their Outlook inboxes? I would say all of our community members are dependent on Outlook/gmail/external email notifications and will not check the Jive inbox unless prompted to do so. I noticed with one client, she was a member of a group and selected "Follow", but did not select inbox. She was not receiving any notifications, either in her Jive inbox or email inbox.
Thanks Christy Schoon! Perfect timing since my Product Managers are still confused and keep trying to dial in on a clearer answer . So with the latest Group Membership Evolution....joining a group is not a possibility anymore? You either follow or you don't follow? What if it's a secret or private group and you receive an invitation?
Christy Schoon Thanks for that update. We are not yet on Cloud, still trying to get the cloud blockers removed...(slow going). The concept of non-members seeing the content of member groups is not a use case that we would utilize across the board. We have reasons for private and secret groups so we would never user the "Group Membership Evolution" feature. If as some point it could be applied to a specific group we might possibly have a use, but not right now.
Marissa Dimino I appreciate your comments on your community members dependency on email. Getting them to their Jive inbox and a stream is a tall order.
At least I don't feel like our external customer community is unique, but that does not help the current situation. I did create an idea on this, so if interested please help support it.
I miss the old "Receive email notifications" link that used to be available. That went away when Streams were introduced in Jive 7. It was so much simpler. If that was back with an easy way to unsubscribe and manage subscriptions in a list under user preferences that would improve the process 10 fold.