Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

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russellhltn
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Re: Not receiving emails

#21

Post by russellhltn »

lkrsfn wrote: Wed Oct 26, 2022 7:14 am We have a problem in our ward where a member of the Ward Council does not get emails sent through the church site (including ones she sends). Would be interested to know more if this gets resolved.
I've merged your post into a more appropriate thread. There is a known problem with sending to Yahoo and Aol.
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hmonglish
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#22

Post by hmonglish »

This issue has been going on for almost a year now. Anyone have any updates? It's too hard to keep my email distribution lists updated as members move in/out of the ward.
kristaanncook
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#23

Post by kristaanncook »

I'd like to hear updates on this too. Has this been solved? I need to know what to advise my church leaders on this.

I did notice that instructions to unsubscribe or address email preferences are at the bottom of emails now.
BrianEdwards
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#24

Post by BrianEdwards »

Any updates?
I do not believe there have been any satisfactory updates on this issue, from what I'm aware of in the various threads in the Forum covering this topic (see this post for references to a few of them). One of the threads has a Nov '22 post from "the product manager for the Church's email infrastructure", stating the intent to go live in Dec with a new solution that would solve everything. I'm not sure what that final solution actually entails, perhaps a portion of that solution is the unsubscribe option now available. But it's Sep '23 and there's no official (or unofficial) news about this solution.

My suggestion is to take the oft-repeated mantra seriously, that Church IT solutions should not be counted on to be delivered in any timeframe, even if (as the PM stated in his post) a delivery date is specified. While I'm certain there's a lot of spinning wheels and activity inside Church IT related to this, don't expect all members or leaders to reliably receive emails from the Church system anytime soon. Manual email lists and distribution are a pain, but will be much more reliable for the foreseeable future.
dkarbuckle
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#25

Post by dkarbuckle »

kristaanncook wrote: Thu Sep 07, 2023 7:39 am I'd like to hear updates on this too. Has this been solved? I need to know what to advise my church leaders on this.

I did notice that instructions to unsubscribe or address email preferences are at the bottom of emails now.
I know that at least Yahoo emails still aren't working. I'm the stake executive secretary and email our high councilors regularly. We have one that refuses to change his Yahoo email account, and he still isn't getting my email messages as of just a few days ago.
hmonglish
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#26

Post by hmonglish »

BrianEdwards wrote: Thu Sep 07, 2023 8:48 am Manual email lists and distribution are a pain, but will be much more reliable for the foreseeable future.
Thanks for the update. While not a great solution, this will have to do. I keep hoping it will get fixed, so I send my weekly ward broadcast through the Church's system, but I always send a follow up message to my list of Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, AOL, etc. email addresses. I was anxiously waiting for the day when a member told me they received my email twice. At this point, I think I'll give up and just start sending my own distribution list.
russellhltn
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#27

Post by russellhltn »

hmonglish wrote: Sat Sep 09, 2023 11:21 pm At this point, I think I'll give up and just start sending my own distribution list.
You may discover that sending bulk email is a lot harder than it seems. There's a possibility that your ISP may decide you're a spammer and kill your account.
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garystroble
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#28

Post by garystroble »

russellhltn wrote: Sun Sep 10, 2023 12:07 am
hmonglish wrote: Sat Sep 09, 2023 11:21 pm At this point, I think I'll give up and just start sending my own distribution list.
You may discover that sending bulk email is a lot harder than it seems. There's a possibility that your ISP may decide you're a spammer and kill your account.
It's also possible that a couple hundred email addresses is not considered bulk email by an ISP.
kristaanncook
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#29

Post by kristaanncook »

When I first became a Ward Website Administrator in 2007, other administrators were being labeled as Spammers because the emails were sent out using the ISP of the administrator sending them out to the members. This caused intense problems and their ISP’s were threatening them, I know.

Later, the Church set things up so that the emails came directly from the Church.

I would never send out anything from my own distribution list because it is fraught with legal problems. If people’s names and emails are on the Church’s system, they have agreed to receive emails from the Church. They have NOT agreed to receive church emails from individuals. You are violating the law if you do so and the SPAM laws are very strict – any unwanted email is SPAM.

If you use the Church’s email system properly, you avoid legal problems. Anything else and you risk being sued.

From what I can gather, these reasons explain the current problem.

· Church units send out a lot of bulk emails which look a lot like SPAM to email providers.
· Church units send out a lot of bulk emails at the same times – Fridays and Saturdays.
· Many of the emails local units send out to are dead, inactive or bad.
· Many of the emails local units send out are bouncing back to the Church as undeliverable.
· People are marking many of the emails they receive from the Church as SPAM and/or unwanted.

The Church has been labeled a Spammer and these email providers are refusing to deliver emails from the Church.

The question is what can be done, especially when the Church cannot completely control how it is viewed by email providers.

I’m told that a notice is now on the Send-an-email feature on the LCR suggesting that emails go out on weekdays and not wholly on Fridays and Saturdays. This can help future problems from developing with even more email providers. If it develops with Gmail, for example, I think we’re sunk.

Along with this notice, there is a change in the emails themselves. In the lower left-hand corner, there is now a link to “Email Preferences” and “Unsubscribe.” These had been absent in the past, or even erratic. The Church has changed these email signature items over the years. Being able to change preferences and unsubscribe is now much more transparent.

On the local level, much more consideration, caution, and intention needs to happen before emails are sent out to ward members. Sending out every imaginable issue to every imaginable member in bulk is not wise. This past practice needs to be rethought.

Text messaging is not the answer.

Consider that the Church does have the capability to text message. For example, I receive a text message containing a passcode in the two-factor authentication procedure when I sign onto my Church account.

Myself and others have been hoping/waiting for the Church to follow suit with bulk text messaging. The Church will not be offering bulk text messaging ever.

After querying the Church via the floating Feedback button on the Church’s website, I was informed:
We have considered this, but texting is much more expensive than sending emails. Texting also gets really complicated internationally with all the cell phone carriers. We have a parallel project looking into using WhatsApp or other direct messaging tools for this use case.
Some units are compensating by using Twilio or Remind. However, there is a substantial limitation with doing this: You have to have people’s express permission to put their personal information/phone numbers on these systems otherwise you are violating the law and these companies’ terms of use. This goes for any service like this.

This is basically an unsurmountable problem for bulk ward emails although it might work for select groups within it. However, people in various callings have their own text messaging groups and already text messages each other all the time. The groups are small enough to not cause problems.

I’ve also discovered that most carriers will not deliver more than 10 bulk text messages at a time. They cut it off after that number. Twilio and Remind get around this somehow by staggering delivery or something else, I’m not really certain.

I looked into whether text messaging via email would work, but I suspect the 10-text message limit would be a barrier with that as well.

Bulk text messaging is not going to happen in the Church and I don’t think it is a viable option for wards either.

So, what can be done?

Remember, the Church’s tools are set up so that they are consistent with all privacy and other laws. When you use them, you can be certain you are not running afoul of any laws, as long as you use them correctly. So, if you use the Send an Email and other features, you are SAFE. I wouldn’t use anything else.

We can help members get a viable email on the system along with correct personal information and assist them in managing their email and other preferences and settings.

I had an interchange with a new sister in the ward, I told her I was the Ward Technology Specialist and asked her if her contact information in the Ward Directory was correct. She told me she thought it was. I texted, then emailed her during the week with a few questions, like whether she was getting the weekly bulletin emails from our Executive Secretary. She didn’t respond.

The next Sunday, I asked her if she had received my email or text. She couldn’t recall it and looked for it in my presence. She told me she had over 6,000 emails on her phone. She even showed me where her phone told her this. Sure enough, it was 6,000.

I was dismayed, I thought, “Even if people’s contact information is correct and they do receive emails from the Church, the emails are likely to get lost in a sea of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of emails. What can be done? This is seemingly hopeless.”

Then, I got an epiphany. It occurred to me that perhaps we ought to follow the Church’s example.

· It has established a website and expects us to access it.
· It posts news on the site and expects us to access it.
· It places official letters from Church leaders on the site and expects us to access them.
· It puts the Handbook online and expects us to access it.
· It puts lesson manuals and other guidance online and expects us to access them.
· It puts just about everything online and expects us to access it.

I see a theme here.

Perhaps the ward and stakes simply need to fully utilize the Calendar properly (with explicit details instead of cryptic references and abbreviations/acronyms) and put everything there and depend on members to access it.

We’re still in the “old” mode that we need to get information and materials into the hands of members like we did under the paper system. Maybe we should just get it online so they can access it. Then, we wouldn’t have to send out many emails and we wouldn’t have to be concerned if their email provider would block it. Also, if people consciously access the information we put online it won’t matter if they have thousands of unread emails on their personal devices.

Nearly all the information members need can be placed on the Calendar and members can access it there.
rmlds2000
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Re: Church IT having trouble with legacy emails like Yahoo and AOL?

#30

Post by rmlds2000 »

Great post. Lots of well thought out information. I've been an advocate of using the calendar properly for years; however, ingraining a culture of accessing that calendar has been very difficult to do. Part of the problem is that a lot of people would try to access it through the app on their phone which would never update properly so the information was too often not reliable. That combined with the vague and incomplete information provided made it ineffective as a sole solution. It would be great if we could get members churchwide to use this as an effective resource. Some video tutorials showing people how to sync the calendar with their regular calendar would be helpful as well.
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