Celly Blog: New Features! Moderated Chat and a New Privacy Option2011-05-02
We have introduced a couple of new features that make Celly Channels even better. The first one is moderation. When a channel owner turns moderation mode on, messages from other members are sent privately to the channel owner, instead of to everyone in the group. The channel owner can then decide to rebroadcast the message to everyone, reply privately, or reply to the whole group. This really makes Celly Channels the ideal way to communicate for large groups and for unpredictable behavior (we’re looking at you, 8th graders.)
To set the conversational mode on your channel, text MODE or use the channel settings page on the website. You can choose from “Everyone”,”Just You”, or “Moderated”. In Everyone mode, which is the default, everyone can send regular messages to everyone else in the channel. In Moderated mode, you can send out normal messages to everyone, but messages from other members come to you privately. In “Just You” mode, only you can send out messages and the other channel members can’t message at all. This replaces the “Channel Type” setting that was available before (Alert / Feedback / Chat) and we think this is a better way to represent your messaging options.
The moderation mode opens up some cool new ways to use Celly Channels: you can send people alerts and gather their replies privately. This works well for more than just chat: allow students to text you questions and you can answer to the group at large, sports team members can send a text saying they aren’t going to make practice and not everyone on the channel has to see it, and late-night chat and obscene messages can be prevented on making it to everyone in the channel. You could also create a channel for your restaurant and let your customers text you feedback and questions. Let us know if you have any cool ways you use moderation!
Our second new feature is a new privacy option. We have also changed the names of our privacy options to make them easier to understand. The names of the privacy options now reflect how new members are approved on your channel. The default privacy is the same: your channel is invite-only, but new members can also try to join your channel by texting #channelname to Celly. When they do this, you are asked to approve or decline them, provided with only their username to pass your judgement. This privacy option is called “Username”, because you are given their username to decide if they can join.
The new privacy option is called “Username + description”. When users try to join your channel, they are prompted to provide a short description to share with you, so you can better make your decision. We have found this is helpful for classroom and large group settings: you can tell students to put their real name in the description, for example, so you know which username is which user.
Text PRIVACY or use the channel settings web page to set the privacy of your channel. The other privacy options remain the same: Password is still called Password, and Public is now called “Anyone can join”.
To set your channel mode or privacy, you can just text SETUP and you will be given a little menu to choose which attribute you want to setup. This way you don’t need to remember the individual commands. We will be moving more options into SETUP soon.
To make things easier, we have set it up so you don’t need to include the channelname when texting MODE, PRIVACY, or SETUP, you will be given a little menu if you have more than one channel. We are working on converting all commands to interactive menus, so you don’t need to text complex commands if you don’t want to. We prefer menus :)
We also deployed a bunch of other fixes and tweaks. Let us know if you have any feature requests or bugs we need to tackle.