One thing that Stitch Groups and Stitch Activities have in common is the ability for members of the Group (or attendees of the Activity) to post comments in order to have a discussion with other members.
If you have opted to "follow" a conversation for a group or activity you have joined, it means you get notified about every comment posted.
If you've been a member of Stitch for any length of time you'll know how important these conversations are to the community. They help attendees at an event find out about venue changes, ask questions of the organizer, connect with each other to arrange shared transport, and so on.
In principle this is great, as it helps all members stay informed about important information about the Group or Activity.
In practice, however, it can create a lot of unwanted email notifications, with some attendees or group members posting comments that aren't necessarily of interest to all other members.
A common example of this is when members post a comment apologizing for not being able to attend, such as "I'm sorry, I have a work commitment that evening and can't make it".
These members are only trying to be polite, but if 50 members are following the conversation, every one of them gets notified. Ten people posting a response like this means 500 email notifications and a lot of overflowing inboxes.
That's why Stitch now supports two types of messages in a conversation: comments, and announcements.
What's an "Announcement"?
When you start typing a comment on a Stitch Group or Activity, you'll see an option to make it an "announcement", as shown in the image below:
If you select the option to make an announcement, the comment button changes to an announcement button, as shown below:
Comments and announcements work very similarly, the only difference being who gets notified when an announcement is posted. Specifically:
When a Comment is posted, only members who are following the discussion will be notified
When an Announcement is made, ALL members of the group (or attendees of the event) are notified, regardless whether they are following the conversation or not
Following a conversation is optional
Before Announcements were introduced, anyone who wanted to attend an event usually had to choose to "follow" the event, to make sure they would be notified about any important announcements about the event, such as a change in venue, information about parking, and so on.
Unfortunately that meant they sometimes received notifications about a lot of other comments that were of little interest to them.
Now, the choice to "follow" a conversation is optional.
If you'd like to be involved in the Group conversation, or be notified about all conversation comments, that's great. You just need to choose to "follow" it by clicking the link shown at the top of the conversation, as shown in the image below:
If, however, you only want to be notified about important announcements about the Group or Activity, you don't need to do anything. Stitch won't force you to follow the conversation unless you actively choose to do so. That means you won't be notified about any regular comments, just announcements.
Please note you can't turn off announcements: if you don't even want to receive announcements for a Group you have joined or Activity that you are attending, you need to leave the Group or stop attending the Activity.
The introduction of Announcements is a big improvement for those Stitch members who are only interested in meeting other Stitch members in person at Stitch activities, and don't have much interest in online discussions.
At the same time, the existing commenting & conversation features allow those members who like getting engaged online to do so to their heart's content.