Thursday, 25 October 2012

Collaborative Inboxes Now Work!

Google Groups' different types of groups ( Web Forum, Email List and Collaborative Inbox and the other one ) do more to muddy the waters of understanding Google Groups than actually describe what it is they actually do. Anyway...

 I previously have blogged here that Collaborative Inboxes didn't work because in order to receive a reply to an enquiry - it meant that you had to be a member of a group - and therefore able to see everyone else's enquiries. This is the equivalent of group therapy for a clap clinic, in that as a question asker, you get to see everyone else's questions.

I was only now, just showing someone interested in using Collaborative Inboxes, that particular quirk when I discovered a "cc The original sender" checkbox which is by default checked. Yay!

This means you could now use Collaborative Inboxes for private issues, that get responses from the experts who are members in that group. AND fellow experts can see your response. AND the person who replies doesn't have to remember to make sure the person who asked the question in the first place gets a reply.

This is great and means that Collaborative Inboxes can be used for generic enquiry email addresses and responded to by a team of people - which is what they were supposed to be in the place.


  1. So are you assuming the following settings: that the "asker" (or "original sender") is NOT a member of the group, can not see the archive yet CAN post questions to the group?

  2. Yep. I know it's a bit odd, but it's one of our main Use Cases - an example being an address like this ... is answered by a team of people.

    Up until now we've been forced to create accounts that then delegate their access to the team, which is far from ideal and takes some setup time. This lets teams create these sorts of addresses for themselves AND has a few extra cool features ( like being able to mark a thread as completed or assign it to a member of team).

  3. Very handy - thanks Tom.

    A couple of gotchas I noticed in setting one of these up just now, which might be handy for others to know or there may be solutions to that I didn't find:

    - The 'cc original sender' option is, as you say, the default in the web interface but unfortunately replying from within my email (as a group member responding to a non-member query) causes the reply to be sent to the group only. It doesn't get cc'ed to the original submitter.

    - When sending from the web interface it sends from me personally by default. I have to select manually each time if I want to send from the group. Unfortunately sending from me personally is bad, because if the original correspondent just hits 'reply' to my message, it comes back to my email address and not the group, thus moving the conversation out of a shared inbox.

    So long as we remember those two things though, this looks like it should work well.

  4. Agh! Hadn't spotted those. Good work Dan...

    Grr! There might be a setting for setting the default reply-to in the Group. I'll check that out.