Jorge Manrubia

March 19, 2021

A Basecamp email: before and after

As a longtime fan of Basecamp copy, I always enjoy asking for help with user-facing texts I need. This time we had to send an email to some users that were impacted by a bug. I went to Jim Mackenzie. Here's the before and after.

Before:

Hi <name>,

We recently discovered a bug in HEY where it could fail to move emails to the designated box after screening them in. The bug can happen when screening an email and, at the same time, selecting the Feed or the Trail Box as the designated box.

You probably haven't noticed this problem because the next emails from that sender arrived fine. It's only the emails that were screened that could be missing. Also, these emails will appear in searches and in "Everything", but not in the designated box.

This bug affected these contacts in your account:

- https://app.hey.com/contacts/123
- https://app.hey.com/contacts/456

We are reprocessing the affected emails to fix the problem, and they will appear in the designated box in the next hours.

We're really sorry for this. Do let us know if you have any questions about this or anything else related to HEY.

- The HEY Team 💌

After:

Hi <name>,

We've fixed a bug that affected your HEY account, and we want to tell you about it.

Here's what happened: you said Yes to an email from a new sender in the Screener, and you chose to send their emails to the Feed or the Paper Trail. We got the Yes part right, but failed to move that first email from them to the right place. Instead of showing up in the Feed or the Paper Trail, their email only appeared in searches or in Everything. Every email after the first wound up where you told us to put it, but the bug meant those first emails didn't.

This bug affected these contacts in your account:

- https://app.hey.com/contacts/123
- https://app.hey.com/contacts/456

We are fixing up those emails on our side, and they will appear in the right place soon. You don't need to do anything, we'll take care of it. We've also fixed the cause of the problem, so you won't see this happening in the future.

We're really sorry this happened, and we hope you weren't confused. Please let us know if you have any questions about this or anything else related to HEY.

- The HEY Team 💌

This is the difference between an amateur and a (very good) pro trying to explain a problem to a user.

UPDATE: Jim shared the motivation behind the changes he made here. Totally recommended.