We've got a bunch of improvements for Crowdstack coming your way via the Digest Release (now deployed to everyone).
The main focus is on streamlining and improving the notification system - making it easier for your community members to manage their notifications and making the system more turnkey in general.
Let's get into it!
The "What's New" Digest
This brand new weekly or daily email digest summarizes new and trending posts on your Crowdstack, as well as upcoming events and content by people you are following. It's a snapshot of content activity for the given time period that is designed to keep your community members coming back. It includes all content types. We send the emails based on each member's time zone, so that they always receive it in the morning.
All new members are subscribed to this digest by default. By default, it is sent weekly, but each member may opt for daily (or turn it off entirely) in their own settings.
Importantly, though, the new "What's New" email is only supported if your Crowdstack is set up in "Digest Mode". New sites will only ever be in Digest Mode, but existing sites will need to opt into this new mode via Manage > Settings > Registration Settings > New Content Notification Settings. Look for the "Switch To Digest Mode" button.
The main difference between Digest Mode and Legacy Notification Mode is that Digest Mode does not support notifications per specific content type. We realize that many existing sites are accustomed to that model, which is why they can keep using it. Just keep in mind that if you switch to Digest Mode, all of your existing members will immediately be subscribed to the "What's New" digest and their old per-content-type notifications will no longer be supported.
We added a few new notification settings, as well, for Digest Mode, including the ability to be notified about ALL new posts to the Crowdstack (for those that want instant notifications about everything).
The Follow Button Is Gone (In Digest Mode)
Because notifications are much simpler in the Digest Mode, we no longer display a "Follow" action in the main navigation menu. There is no need to because it is much less complicated. You'll still see the "Follow" icon, however, if you remain in the legacy notification system.
Email Theme Changes
We've replaced our complicated email theming system, which required understanding all of the different class names we associated with our emails, with a much simpler set of settings that are applied to the Theme editor for your Crowdstack. You'll see a new "Emails" section in the theme which, by default, inherits all of the colors used for Default Content.
The upshot of this change is that notification emails from subgroups will now reflect the theme that is applied for each subgroup, which was not possible before.
New Email Format
All notification emails in Crowdstack are now much simpler and easier to read.
Conversational Email Subjects (Threads)
We've also reworked many of the subjects used in the notification emails, especially those about content, so that they are automatically grouped/threaded in email clients. Thus, for a new content notification, the subject of the email will match the title of the post. And a notification about a comment to that post, will have have the same email subject.
Smart Links in Moderated Content Notifications
We've made the content links in moderated content notifications intelligent so that they always reflect the current state of the content. Sometimes, by the time you click on the link, the post may have already been reviewed by another moderator. Now, when you click on the link, it will take you wherever the content currently lives - the content review queue or the actual content page. (And we'll display a message to you explaining why, if it moved.) A time-saver. 🙂
FeePod is the name of the service we use to manage premium membership payments for Crowdstack sites. We're rebranding that to be Crowdstack Pay, which should lead to less confusion for your purchasers, since they already see a "powered by Crowdstack" graphic on all pages.
Note: we'll be separately notifying all of your current premium members about the name change as well.
Premium Membership Wording
Currently, Crowdstack admins are able to customize all of the wording we use in the transaction emails (when premium members purchase, renew, etc.)
However, due to legal compliance issues, we will no longer be able to allow Crowdstack admins to change any of the wording used in those emails. While we love the idea of letting you tweak wording here or there to suit your style, it exposes us to too much risk, since we have to ensure that these transaction emails are legally compliant with all regulatory authorities.
As one example, check out these rules from Visa:
We must ensure that all wording we use in the emails passes our compliance checklist... and ultimately that is one of the things you are paying us to do. Just as importantly, these emails are coming from us (Crowdstack) and to have someone else change the wording that we are sending is potentially damaging. We need to maintain an arms length distance in these emails, since we have a fiduciary obligation to the purchasers.
You will still be able to apply your logo to the top of the emails.
You will also still be able change any of the other public-facing application wording in Crowdstack. This limitation only applies to our FeePod/Crowdstack Pay emails.
As usual, there were many other minor tweaks, bug fixes, and improvements. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know in the support area!