You can get help with Groups.io from the articles below. If you'd like more assistance or have questions, please check out the Group Managers Forum.
Bounces and Types of Bounces
When a group email sent to an account cannot be delivered, it is called a bounce.
If the bounce was caused by a problem that is expected to resolve automatically after some period of time, such as a temporarily unavailable email server, it is called a soft bounce. If it was caused by something that would require human intervention to fix, such as an invalid email address or a full inbox, it is called a hard bounce. Sometimes it is difficult for us to determine whether a bounce is soft or hard. In that case, we treat it as a soft bounce.
Overview of Bounce Handling
The first step after we get a bounce is to try to determine, by a combination of the type of bounce and the frequency of the bouncing, whether or not the account is bouncing frequently and seriously enough to require action. If so, our second step is to set the account’s status to Bouncing, stop sending group emails to it, and begin trying to reach the account holder via emails notifying them that the account is Bouncing. If there is a response to one of the notifications, the account is taken out of bounce handling and goes back to normal. But if there is no response within a certain period of time, our final step is to set the account’s status to Bounced and stop sending emails of any kind to it.
When an account is Bouncing or Bounced, we log entries in the activity logs of all its groups that email to the account is bouncing, to inform group moderators. We also display a blue “B” (for a Bouncing account) or red “B” (for a Bounced account) next to the account’s email address in the members list of all its groups, and we include the account in the “Bouncing” member lists of its groups. (It continues to appear in the regular member lists as well.) Users themselves are notified that they are Bouncing or Bounced, and are given a chance to unbounce their account, via a banner that we display at the top of the groups.io site whenever they are logged on.
Detailed Description of Bounce Handling
When we get a bounce, we first try to determine whether it is a hard or soft bounce. If we can’t determine which it is, we treat it as a soft bounce. The account then goes through one or more of the following steps:
Step 1: There has been one bounce: determine if the bouncing is serious and ongoing
The goal in this step is to determine whether the bouncing is ongoing or serious enough for us to take action. If one of the two following two criteria hold, we conclude that it is:
(1) the bounce was a hard bounce
(2) following the first bounce,
(a) we see either a hard bounce or a total of 4 days of soft bounces (including the day of the first bounce) for at least one group the account is subscribed to;
(b) bouncing has not stopped, as determined by there being at least one bounce in every span of 4 consecutive days. (If there is a span of 4 consecutive days with no bouncing, we conclude that the bouncing has been resolved and we take the account out of bounce handling – until the next possible bounce, in which case the process starts over again.)
If either (1) or (2) hold, we conclude that the account is experiencing serious or ongoing bouncing and continue to Step 2.
- We don’t conclude that bouncing has stopped after seeing one seemingly successful email delivery to the account, because emails may bounce belatedly; instead, to be on the safe side, we draw this conclusion only if there are 4 consecutive days with no bounces.
- Failing a hard bounce at the beginning, it is possible (although unlikely) for an account to stay in Step 1 for a long period of time. This could happen if the account continues to have consecutive spans of 3 days or less of soft bounces, interspersed with 1-3-day spans of no bounces, with the result that it takes a long time to show either the 4 consecutive days of zero bounces that would rule out ongoing bouncing and move the account out of bounce handling, or the 4 total days of bounces that would establish ongoing bouncing and move it into Step 2. This could be caused, for example, by an email server having ongoing but sporadic problems. But this situation would not affect the account vis-à-vis its groups in any way, since we don’t log or mark the account as bouncing and we continue to send group emails to it (even though they are sporadically bouncing).
Step 2: Log the bouncing and attempt to send bounce notifications to the account holder
We have determined that the bouncing is serious and ongoing enough to take action. We now
- Internally set the account’s status to Bouncing;
- stop sending group emails to it;
- start sending bounce-notification emails (also called “bounce probes”) to the account every three days for a maximum of 15 days. The bounce probes inform the account holder that their account is bouncing and contain a link allowing them to “unbounce” their account by affirmatively showing that they received the email;
- display a banner whenever the account holder is logged onto the site, containing the information that their account is bouncing and a link to click on to unbounce the account;
- display a blue uppercase “B” next to the account’s email address in all of its groups;
- display the account in the Bouncing Members list in all of its groups (it stays in the regular Members list as well); and
- log the account as bouncing in the activity logs of all of its groups.
If we get a response to a bounce probe within 15 days, the account’s Bouncing status is removed, the account is taken out of bounce handling and the account goes back to normal. If there is no response within 15 days, we go to Step 3.
During this time, group moderators, who can now see that the account is bouncing, may send extra bounce probes to the account if they wish, by clicking on the Send Bounce Probe action from the member’s page.
Step 3: Give up trying to reach the account holder
There has been no response to 15 days’ worth of bounce probes every 3 days. At this stage we
- internally set the account status to Bounced;
- continue to display a banner whenever the account holder is logged onto the site, containing the information that their account is bouncing and a link to click to unbounce the account;
- stop sending bounce probes to it; and
- change the blue “B” to a red “B” next to the account’s email address in all of its groups.
The account now sits in virtual limbo in its groups. Group moderators may elect to issue further bounce probes to it by clicking on “Send Bounce Probe” from the member’s page, or they may try to reach the account holder through a different email address if one is available. Or they may decide to simply remove the account from their groups.
Note that bouncing activity information is accessible to individual users as well as group moderators. Any user can view their own bounce history by going into the Subscription page of their groups and clicking on Email Delivery History, or by going into their Account page and clicking on Recent Bounces.
Dealing with a subscriber whose email is bouncing
The above description explains what 'bouncing' is. However, what can owner/mods do to help the subscriber deal with the situation?
First, realize that groups.io can't fix it*. The subscriber's email service provider is blocking delivery of emails from groups.io to the subscriber. Until that block is removed by the service provider, no messages will get through to the subscriber, including bounce probes.
To resolve bounces:
- Go to subscriber's page (Admin->Members) and view the email delivery history bounce error messages ("Recent Bounces").
- Please also note that 400-level errors usually indicate a temporary condition, such that the message in question could subsequently be delivered.
- 500-level errors are considered permanent.
- There are several good resources on the web to help you sort out SMTP error codes -- here and here.
- Communicate those errors to tech support at the subscriber's email service provider AS THEY ARE THE ONES DOING THE BLOCKING.
- Generally the subscriber will have to do this.
- Wait til tech support at the subscriber's email service provider says they have fixed their problem or whatever they are doing to block the email from groups.io.
- Now send a bounce probe to see if the problem is really fixed.
- If the bounce probe email is delivered and the subscriber responds to the probe (clicks on the link in the email), groups.io will resume sending email to the subscriber.
*Note - Sometimes an email provider will have groups.io listed on a "spam black list". Mark at groups.io may have to get in touch with the black list host and/or the email provider to straighten out the problem.
Unfortunately, there are many dimensions and aspects of this problem and there is no "magic wand" to vanquish the beast when it raises its ugly head.
Integrations allow you to connect your Groups.io group with an outside service. There are two types of integrations, Group Integrations and Member Integrations.
Group integrations allow outside content to be automatically sent to your Groups.io group. Group integrations are configured by the moderators and are not controlled by the group members. Group integrations can be moderated, which means that any integration messages must be approved before they are sent to the group.
One example of a group integration is the Feed integration. The feed integration allows you to post items from RSS feeds to your group. Is there a blog associated with your group? Use the Feed integration to automatically have new blog posts be sent to your group.
Groups.io supports several different group integrations and we're always looking to add more.
Member integrations allow your members to export content automatically from the group. One example of this is the Google Drive integration. With it, your members can have attachments that are sent to the group be automatically saved to their Google Drive account. There are options to specify the type(s) of attachments to save, and whether the messages should be tagged with a specific hashtag.
Member integrations are accessed in the Subscription area of the Group.
Groups have the option of creating customized, pre-written messages, called Member Notices, that can be sent to group members at various times. Member Notices make it convenient for moderators to send commonly used messages to members under various circumstances without having to rewrite the text each time. In the case of a member-initiated event, such as a member leaving the group or joining an unrestricted group, using a Member Notice also makes it possible to have a message sent to the member automatically.
A list of these notices is on the Member Notices tab of the group's Settings page.
To create a notice, click on the "New Notice" button, located at the bottom of the list of notices. The Notice Type defaults to "Welcome"; click on the right arrow to bring up the dropdown menu and pick the type you want. A default Subject (used as the subject line of the email message) and Name (used to identify the particular notice of the given type, in case you create more than one) for the type you've chosen will appear, both of which you can edit if desired. Type in the desired message body. For Welcome, Direct Add, and Invite notices, we provide default text for the message body, which will appear automatically and can be edited as desired.
Existing notices can also be edited on the Member Notices page.
You can create more than one notice of any type except Group Guidelines, of which at most one notice is allowed. To specify which notice is to be used at the time of a corresponding event, activate it by checking its "active" box. At most one notice of each type can be active at any given time. No activation is needed for Note to Member notices, because you choose which notice to use at the time of the actual event. No activation is required for the Group Guidelines notice; once created, it is active.
Specific notices and their usage
Notices come in various types and are created and used in various ways.
1. The following notices are sent automatically at the time of their corresponding events:
Sent automatically to a member who is banned from the group. The notice marked "active" is the one sent; if there is no active notice, none is sent.
Sent automatically to a member who leaves the group. The notice marked "active" is the one sent; if there is no active notice, none is sent. Some groups use this notice to ask the member why they left the group; responses will go to the group owner address.
Sent automatically to anyone who applies for membership in a restricted group. The notice marked "active" is the one sent; if no notice is active, none is sent. Some groups use this notice to ask a series of questions of applicants in support of their application; responses will go to the group owner address and be recorded in the member's page under "+owner messages."
Sent when a moderator rejects a pending message by email, using the link in a Message Approval Needed notification. The notice marked "active" is the one sent; if no notice is active, none is sent.
Note: this Notice Type may also be used as the default to a web action, see below.
Sent automatically when an application for membership in a restricted group is rejected. The notice marked "active" is the one sent; if no notice is active, none is sent.
Sent automatically when a member is removed from the group. The notice marked "active" is the one sent; if no notice is active, none is sent.
Sent automatically to members who join an unrestricted group, or whose membership in a restricted group has been approved. A Welcome notice is always sent to new members. If the group has not created and activated a custom notice, we activate and send a default.
2. The following notices are used in a slightly different way.
Instead of being sent completely automatically, each is used as the default text of a message to the member at the time a moderator initiates the corresponding event, and can then be edited if desired by the moderator before finalizing the event:
Message sent when a moderator direct-adds someone to a premium or enterprise group. The active notice, if any, is used as the initial text and can be edited for one-time use during the Direct Add process. A Direct Add notice is always sent; if the group has not created and activated a custom notice, we activate and use a default.
Message to be sent when a moderator invites someone to the group. The active notice, if any, is used as the initial text and can be edited for one-time use if during the Invite process. An Invite notice is always sent; if the group has not created and activated a custom Invite notice, we activate and use a default.
Sent when a moderator rejects a pending message from a moderated member or in a moderated group or topic. When a moderator rejects a pending message by email, the notice marked "active" is the one sent. When a moderator rejects a pending message by web the text box for the rejection notice is initially left empty. The moderator can write the entire message by hand or choose one of the Rejected Message notices as initial text.
Note to Member
Note to Member notices are pre-written messages on any subject that can be sent at any time to a member, or group of members, using the Send Message feature from either the member page or the member list. To send one, instead of filling in the message subject and text on the Send Message screen, select "Notices" and use the dropdown to select the one you want. It can then be edited for one-time use if desired.
3. A special case: Group Guidelines
The Group Guidelines notice is a unique type that provides a convenient and versatile way to communicate and maintain the group's posting and conduct guidelines, if any. It has the following features and options:
- can be sent automatically on the first of each month as a message to the group, with an option to include members subscribed via Special Notices Only
- can be sent automatically to all new group members
- can be sent manually by a moderator to a group member at any time, in case the member needs a review of the guidelines
- appears under its own "Guidelines" tab at left on the group's pages, with an option to be visible either by group members only or by the public
Unlike the other notice types, a group can create at most one Group Guidelines notice. If created, a Guidelines tab will automatically appear on the group home page. The rest of the features are optional and are specified as follows when creating or editing the notice:
Subject - the subject line of the message as it appears in the group archives, if mailed monthly to the group.
Email subject - the subject line of the email when the notice is sent to a group member separately from the monthly message to the group.
Private - if this box is checked, the Guidelines tab on the group's home page will be visible only to group members. If unchecked, the tab will be visible to the public.
Send on Join - if this box is checked, the Guidelines will be sent automatically via email to new members
Send monthly to the group - if this box is checked, the Guidelines will be sent as a message to the group on the 1st of each month. Note: we send the message with the #guidelines hashtag, which, if it doesn't already exist, is created with a topic duration of one month, causing the archived message to be automatically deleted after one month in deference to the next monthly message. The hashtag is set to "Use by moderators only" and "replies by moderators only," so that no non-moderators can use it.
Send monthly to special - this box appears only if "Sent monthly to the group" has been checked. If checked, the monthly Guidelines message to the group will be sent as a special notice, so that members whose email delivery option is Special Notice Only will receive it (in addition to members whose email delivery is Individual Messages). In this case, the #guidelines hashtag is also set to "Special."
Groups.io offers several options to control how much, if any, email to receive from your groups. To change your subscription, go to Your Subscriptions page and then click the link in the Delivery column for the group you're interested in changing. You have a separate set of subscription options for each group and subgroup to which you subscribe.
The Email Delivery options control how you wish to receive group emails.
Individual Messages will send each email individually, as soon as it's posted.
Full Featured Digest will group the days messages into batches of 12 and send each batch when the twelvth is posted. Any that remain at the end of the day will be sent as the final (or only) digest of the day. The digests include the full text of each message, omitting any quotes of prior messages. Full Featured Digests include at the top a list of the enclosed topics, clickable as links to take you to that topic.
Plain Digest works the same way, but is sent as a text/plain email message, with no clickable links.
Daily Summary sends a once-daily list of topics posted that day. Unlike the digests the summary does not include the text of any of the messages, only the list of topics.
Special Notices Only sends only those messages which a moderator has designated as a Special Notice.
No Email (not available in all groups) sends no posted messages to you by email. You may still receive individual notifications from the group and/or from Groups.io.
You may choose to apply a group-specific signature line to messages you post.
Clicking Advanced Preferences will expose additional options. These options filter the message posts that you will receive. You may leave this section closed if you want normal email list behavior (all messages posted are sent to you).
All Messages is the default and sends to you (individually or in digests, as you've selected above) every message posted to the group except those which are in topics (threads) you've specifically muted or which are tagged with one or more hashtags you've specifically muted. See the section below.
Following Only sends you (individually or included in your digests) only those messages posted to the group which are in topics (threads) you've specifically followed, or which are tagged with one or more hashtags you've specifically followed. See the section below.
First Message Also sends you the first message of each new topic (thread), disregarding the fact that you haven't followed that topic yet. This allows you to know that a given topic has been posted so that you can decide whether to follow the (rest of) the messages in that topic.
Auto Follow Replies marks any thread that you start or that your reply to as one you follow. This mimics the common web forum behavior of providing email notification for topics you post in.
Max Attachment Size allows you to opt out of receiving attachments that are larger than a limit you set. This is useful if you have a metered or limited connection, or limited storage space for attachments. Instead of receiving the attached file, you will receive a link to it so you may open it from the group's web pages.
Muting and Following
You can limit the number of group message postings sent to your email. There are two options for this:
- Receive messages in all topics except those you mute.
- Only receive messages in those topics that you follow.
You choose the mode of operation under Advanced Preferences in your Subscription settings for each group. See the prior section.
Note that muting and following affect email delivery only; they do not change what is shown in a group's Messages pages.
Muting topics and hashtags by email
Muting applies if you have selected All Messages in your Subscription. Muting a topic or hashtag means that you will not be sent any further messages associated with that topic or hashtag.
Note: some hashtags may be set by the group's moderators to be unmutable.
If you receive Individual Messages the footer of each will contain a link to Mute This Topic and links to mute any hashtags associated with that topic. If you receive digests the Mute This Topic link will be at the bottom of each message.The links take you to the Groups.io web site to confirm or cancel the action.
When muting a hashtag you are given the opportunity to specify a duration for the muting, for example, “Forever,” “One Hour,” etc. It is useful to limit the duration of muting a hashtag because the same hashtag may be used later in topics that might be of interest.
When following a hashtag you are given the opportunity to specify a duration for the following, for example, “Forever,” “One Hour,” etc. It is useful to limit the duration of following a hashtag because the same hashtag may be used later in topics that might not be of interest.
Managing muted and followed topics
The Groups.io home page provides a place to manage the topics you've muted or followed in all of your group subscriptions. The default home page show a list of all of your group subscriptions.
To get there click on the Groups.io logo in the upper left corner.
In the left column you can select a page showing all of the topics from all of your groups, or just those topics you've Muted, or just those topics you've Followed. To change your options for a specific topic find it in one of those lists and click on it. Then you can use the buttons at the top of the topic display to change its selection options.
- Stop email delivery of messages in an unmuted topic.
- Restore email delivery of messages in a muted topic.
- Begin email delivery of messages in a topic you are not following.
- Stop email delivery of messages in a topic you are following.
Note that follow buttons are shown even when your subscription is set to All Messages and muting buttons are shown even when your subscription is set to Following Only. This is for two reasons: first, this allows you to control where messages are displayed here in the Groups.io home page; and second, you may use these buttons to set options on particular topics before you change your message selection mode.
Managing muted and followed hashtags
The Groups.io home page also provides a place to manage the hashtags you've muted or followed in all of your group subscriptions. To get there click on the Groups.io logo in the upper left corner of any page (as shown above).
In the left column you can select a page listing the hashtags you've Muted or a page showing those you've Followed. To remove a hashtag from either list find the hashtag in the list and click on the checkbox next to it.
Then click the Delete button.
Above and to the right of the Muted or Followed list are links to add hashtags to the list:
- Add a hashtag to the list of muted hashtags
- Add a hashtag to the list of followed hashtags
Enter the name of the hashtag (be sure to include the # sign), the group name in which you want to mute or follow it, and the duration (“forever,” “one hour,” etc.).
Groups.io supports subgroups. A subgroup is a group within another group. When viewing your group on the website, you can create a subgroup by clicking the 'Subgroup' tab on the left side. The email address of a subgroup is of the form firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subgroups have all the functionality of normal groups, with the exceptions that to be a member of a subgroup, you must be a member of the parent group, and you cannot invite people to join subgroups.
Once a person is a member of the parent group, they can subscribe directly to the subgroup if it's permitted, they can be added directly to the subgroup, or they can ask to join the subgroup if it is restricted.
How Can I Change My Email Address
To change your email address, log into Groups.io. Then look for the dropdown in the top right corner of the page, which will be either your name or email address. Click that and then click Account.
On the edit profile page, you can change your email address. Once you do so, you will receive a new confirmation email. Once you reply to that, you will be all set.
If the email address you wish to change to is already a registered member on Groups.io, you will need to have your accounts merged. To do so, email email@example.com and specify the address you wish to merge from and the address you wish to merge into.
I Have Forgotten My Password/I Don't Have A Password
To log in without a password, go to the login page and click the 'Email me a link to log in' button. Once you enter your email address, you'll immediately be sent an email with a link that will automatically log you into Groups.io. You will stay logged in for up to 30 days, unless you log out. You can then set a password if you wish, or you can continue to utilize the Email me a link to log in function to log in when needed.
I Am On Gmail And I Don't Like Getting Copies Of My Messages
To turn off duplicate emails, log into your account. Then look for the dropdown in the top right corner of the page, which will be either your name or email address. Click that and then click Account. From your Account page, click the Preferences sidebar tab. Look for the 'I always want copies of my own messages' checkbox and uncheck that. Then click the Update Preferences button.
I Never Received My Confirmation Email
Please check your spam folder to see if the confirmation email ended up there. We can confirm your account for you if you wish, but if you're not receiving emails from us, it won't do much good.
How Do I Change The Cover Photo For My Group?
To change the cover photo for your group, go to the Settings page under the Admin menu dropdown. Then click the Cover Photo button at the top of the page.
Why Are Emails From Some People Changed To Be 'via Groups.io'?
The reason that some email addresses are changed to be 'via Groups.io' is because of something called DMARC. Some email services, like Yahoo and AOL, have set up their DMARC profiles so that we have to change all their users' email addresses to this form, otherwise the messages would bounce. This is not limited to Groups.io, all email groups services have to do this.
How Can I Delete My Group?
To delete your group, go into the Settings page for your group. At the bottom of the page is a Delete Group button. Click that and follow the instructions.
Once you delete your group, the group name will not be able to be reused for some time. If you're interested in renaming your group instead, you can do that through the Settings page as well.
How Can I Delete My Account?
We're sorry to see you go, but we will be happy to delete your account. Simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org from the email address you wish to delete, and we will delete your account. Note that we will not be able to delete your account if you are the only owner of at least one group. If that's the case, you should either transfer ownership to someone else, or delete the group before requesting that your account be deleted.
What Is Counted Towards The Storage Limits For My Group?
The following are counted towards the storage limits for your group:
- Images in databases
- Images in wiki pages
- Message attachments
Messages themselves are not counted towards the storage limits, only any attachments.
How Do I Set Up A Signature For My Account?
To set a signature for your account, go to the Subscription page for your group (it's the 'Subscription' tab in the left hand sidebar when viewing your group). On the subscription page, look for the 'Use Signature For Web Posting' checkbox and check that. Then you will be able to add a signature. Once complete, click the Save button at the bottom of the page to save your changes.
How Can I Add Moderators To My Group?
Groups.io supports groups with multiple moderators and owners, along with a full permissions system. To add someone as a moderator, they must first be a member of your group.
Navigate to the group on Groups.io and click on Admin/Members in the left sidebar. From there, click on the member you would like to make a moderator. After opening the record of the person to be made a moderator, click on the selector "Role". It offers three options: Owner, Moderator, and Member. Select moderator. Click "save" at the bottom of the screen after making your selection. Each person can have only one role; the owner has all permissions, the moderator more limited permissions.
How Can I Invite People To Join My Group?
Groups.io provides an invite system, where you can submit the email addresses of your members. We will send an email invitation to each user. To join the group, each member simply has to click on the link within the invitation, or reply to the invitation.
You can track each invitation and see whether it's been accepted or not.
If you wish to directly add your members to your group without the invitation step, we offer that feature (called direct add) with our premium groups.
How Can I Download My Member List And Message Archive?
On Groups.io, navigate to your group. To download your complete member list, click on the Members tab under the Admin tab in the sidebar. From there you will be able to download your member list.
To download your complete message archive, click on the Settings tab under the Admin tab in the sidebar. From there you will be able to download your message archives.
How to trace the headers of an email
To investigate "slow" emails, you can use a header analyzer tool which Google has made available (for anyone). Info here -> https://support.google.com/mail/answer/29436?hl=en
You need to get the original source document of the received email with headers (Show Original in Gmail) and paste that text into the tool.
For example, one email I got from an original post to the GMF took 15 minutes.
Created at: 5/14/2018, 4:09:38 PM CDT ( Delivered after 15 mins )
||5/14/2018, 4:24:23 PM CDT
So, in this case, at that specific time, there was a 15 minute delay from when you posted/sent the message to when groups.io processed that post and sent to the group.
What Are The Available Email Commands?
You can send a blank email to the following email addresses (substituting your group name for GROUPNAME):
- To join a group
- To unsubscribe from a group
- To receive an email containing a list of these commands
- To receive plain digests instead of individual messages
- To receive full featured digests instead of individual messages
- To receive a daily summary instead of individual messages
- To receive individual messages instead of digests or a summary
- To only receive special messages
- To stop receiving messages via email (you may still read messages on the Web)
- To contact the owners of a group