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I am working on an application where one person consult/answer queries of lot of people (let say 100 to 200). Current system is very similar to any chat application in market, main difference is, it is one to many.

Main purpose of application is to answer users(many users) queries. which is done by consultant(one consultant) user.

Now problem is if consultant user broadcast some thought to all users, most of them respond either with smiley or thumb which flood the consultant user chatbox with unnecessary notifications resulting which lot of genuine queries remain unanswered.

What is a good way to segregate those unnecessary messages from important ones?

One way I can think of is: We recognise all smileys and short messages like ok, hmm etc and either don't show notification on them or put them under a different tab, let say "Other"

Edit:

There are few other cases where unwanted messages come to consultant, like people sending good morning/evening etc

  • Are you looking for an automatic way of separating messages or you already know how to do the distinction and want some feedback on how to show them to the consultant? – Alvaro Feb 10 '17 at 9:40
  • @Alvaro I think its not a correct platform where I can ask for automatic way of segregation but if you know any let me know, i have a dev team which has little bit idea of this. Here I am more concerned about latter part "Good way to show them" – Aman Feb 10 '17 at 9:44
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I feel you would be getting into unwanted territory with analyzing the replies from "broadcast" messages, as you are putting essentially rules on what messages are important or not. If you get it wrong, users may not see the important ones. Short messages can be meaningful and require responses. Examples: "?", "no", "help", "explain", "huh"

Broadcast messages are not meant to necessarily open up a dialog with each receiving person. If the consultant broadcasts a message out, they want everyone to notice something, and if the users have a need to respond, then let them initiate a separate response for one-on-one communication.

Simply put: make broadcast messages one-way (either by restrictions in the app, or just by design make it not as easy for users to reply), but do provide a way (maybe a bit more manual) for users to initiate a response as needed.

  • Having a different channel for broadcasting and keeping it one way is wonderful suggestion, however there are few more cases where people greet to consultant by saying good morning/evening etc. – Aman Feb 10 '17 at 9:32
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If it is possible to identify these smiley and hmm/thanks messages, I would suggest that these 'noisy' responses fall into a thread or submenu beneath the original question. These messages can then be accessed by expanding that area.

This more significant reponsed like further questions or points to consider are then treated like normal responses in a messaging app.

The thought process behind this suggestion is that firstly the original poster will not be plagued by notifications for noisy messages, secondly it is extremely easy to follow for anybody scrolling back through a chat to reviee the main points. Lastly it's discoverable.

It's good to keep the content on hand because although its importance is secondary, it might be useful for the consultant to be able to view the type of feedback they are getting. These responses could potentially act as a small survey to the consultant, enabling them to assess the general feeling of other users.

Though that could still be accomplished in an 'other' inbox, it will likely never be interesting enough on a surface level for the user to scroll through it. Aside from that, it would potentially struggle with discoverability, like Facebook's 'other' inbox folder did.

Hope this helps!

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Restricting the appreciations based on expression pattern recognition might be one of the solutions, but it isn't the perfect solution that you could aim for to minimize clutter. Also, there's only so much you can do to recognize response response patterns.

Instead what you could do is incorporate something akin to Facebook Reactions and embed that with each post published by the consultant. This would serve two purposes. By doing so, you could separate the wheat from the chaff by putting just the reactions to the post in a separate tab under notifications, ensuring what is important doesn't go unnoticed. Also, by incorporating reactions you would be able to calibrate the response from the target audience and gauge what they like or dislike and publish similar broadcasts accordingly.

Also, since the user would have reactions to respond with for every broadcast, he/she would respond with reactions and refrain from using silly emoticon responses to the posts due to its greater ease of use and instant gratification. Facebook's reaction implementation for posts is a perfect case study that vouches for this.

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I think we should segregate the message before its start itself. In this case i would like to redesign the input box (interaction) with clear distinction between a chat and a query. Like "Send a message to consultant" or "Send a query" which open a text input area with distinct CTA.

Hmm , good morning and other regular messages are chat. When I see query the user (anyone among the 100/200 crowd) will take a more cautious mind for framing the right question or important conversation. Its a beautiful interaction let's see how you frame it.

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