This month we revamped the forum notification system, made visual changes for event pages on smartphones and tackled other minor issues. You’re here, and we assume those interest you, so without further ado…
In the passing month, forums received some updates. First, we sped up forum notifications. This was done by improving the way JudgeApps finds out who should receive said notifications, which is one of the most time-consuming parts of the notification system (some forum posts used to tie up the notification process for almost 10 minutes!). Next, we improved it some more by reducing the amount of notifications settings checked before deciding whether to send a notification to a specific user. With all the events and projects using the forums to notify a lot of people about a lot of stuff, we hope these improvements will have a positive effect on all JudgeApps users.
Did we mention notification settings? Well, we made some changes to how these are configured as well. The changes will affect new JudgeApps users as well as existing ones who get access to new forums. Previously, the default setting for “New Generic Forum Post” was to not send notifications to users. This default was good for most cases, since most users don’t want to get notified for each post in every forum, there are some special cases for which the default isn’t a good fit. The most obvious exceptions to the rule are the Official and Un-official Announcements forums. Silencing those by default caused a lot of judges to miss important information. Another exception are some special forums created for sub-groups of people (e.g. L2+ judges of a region). A user wouldn’t get notifications for posts in such forums unless they change the forum’s notification settings, but knowing that such a forum exists without being notified about it was… impractical.
A primer on how the settings work: You have three categories of notification settings: Global, Forum, and Topic. The Global settings can be edited at https://apps.magicjudges.org/notifications/settings, and the Forum and Topic settings can be edited on the page for each individual topic. The most specific setting that exists, applies. If you haven’t chosen a special setting for a Topic, we check the Forum. If that also doesn’t have a special setting, we use your Global setting.
New users now have a Global default to get email notifications for new generic forum posts, and public forums have a Forum setting of off (except for the two forums mentioned above, which default to on). As part of the initial account setup, the user is prompted to review the default. That said, most of you are probably existing users who wonder how the change affects you, so please read on…
Existing users whose Global default did not include email notifications had that Global setting changed to enable email notifications. However, we first transferred your current setting to each public Forum that you currently have access to. The difference is that now all the public forums that were silenced by default, are now specifically silenced on a forum-by-forum basis. You won’t see any notifications you weren’t getting before, but if you are now added to a new forum, you will start getting notifications by default.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t help the existing users who are unaware of the fact that they aren’t receiving official announcements, or that there are some new forums that they have access to. Accordingly, we encourage you to check your notification settings, as well as going through the list of forums you have access to to make sure you’re getting all the notifications that interest you.
We fixed a bug that caused some confusion among unexpecting users. When working with events, the list of countries for the event location would sometimes display the countries’ names in an unexpected language (we got reports about Spanish and French). Apparently, the language would be set according to the first user interacting with that specific instance of our web server, and then would never update when other users (with different language settings) access it. We made sure the list of names is updated every time the event form is created, so now the list will match the language of the current user.
In other event news, we changed the display settings for images in event pages to scale down when the screen is smaller than the image. When viewing an event on a big screen this wasn’t really an issue, but when used on a phone, viewing an event was a nightmare when big images were involved.
Like every other month, this month saw some small changes and fixes:
- We are testing Catalan as a supported language on JudgeApps. Currently this means that you can choose this language while writing Exemplar nominations. If you’re interested in helping translate JudgeApps itself into any of the languages we support, contact us to help out: https://apps.magicjudges.org/projects/69/
- The oracle text we use for exams is now updated automatically from mtgjson.com.
- Users are now required to verify their emails to use JudgeApps. This requirement already existed for new users, and we have now switched it on for existing users as well. This ensures that we can contact you if there are problems with your account, that you can reset your password, and that we aren’t sending notification emails to an invalid address. If you haven’t done so already, you should get instructions – and a verification email message – the next time you log in.
As always, we really appreciate your input, so if you have anything to share with us, please do so through our support site.