Has Google Groups restricted the ability to post replies?

+8 votes

I have started noticing that I am now unable to reply from my Android smartphone to messages in Google Groups that I subscribe to in digest mode. For these Groups, I no longer see any links to reply, reply all, forward, etc.

I can still reply to these messages from within Google Groups using a computer, and if the message is in a group that I subscribe to with the notify me of every new message option I can use Gmail to reply from my phone,  but I am getting the impression that Google Groups now provides only read-only access to smartphone users.

WikiTree relies heavily on Google Groups for communication and I belong to a lot of different WikiTree Google Groups, so this situation seriously handicaps me in using my phone to participate.

Are others of you seeing this behavior? Have you found workarounds?

in WikiTree Tech by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
recategorized by Ellen Smith

Well, @%$#!!!

A fellow WikiTreer sent  me a private message pointing out a Google support page that describes this as one of the new features introduced by Google in its "improvements" to Google Groups.

That page (which does not allow me to copy its content) confirms that mobile devices now have read-only access to Google Groups, but we can get additional functionality on a mobile device by selecting the desktop version of the Google Groups site. Since I use Google Chrome on my phone, the instructions on that support page told me how to do that. So there is a workaround, but I am annoyed...

I've recently had messages posted to one google group rejected and not posted and they were sent from my desk top. I use Firefox.
Glad you figured it out Ellen! I am not impressed with the last round of changes to GGroups, but it is what it is for now.

I believe the Team has been looking at ways to provide better options in G2G in order to lessen the dependance on GGroups, but I think it is a low priority for now.
I have frequently and repeatedly had the problem that Todd describes, and it is not a new phenomenon.

Google Groups has many nice features, but it has a number of technical quirks that require me to use a variety of workarounds to accommodate the website. Google does not allow me to participate using the email address I registered at Wikitree,  apparently many of my posts get held for moderation (I often am unsure whether other group members can see my posts), and I often get warnings from Google saying that my post to a Google Group looks like it might be spam. When someone sends a PM to a project account's Google Group, I usually cannot reply to the message; if I  need to reply, I need to copy the address into a new message. And now this.

I know that the desire for a replacement has been on the Wikitree Tech to-do list for years, and I wish it had higher priority, because Google Groups exacts a high overhead cost on my participation.
I concur with Ellen on giving a higher priority to something other than Google Groups for these interactions. I have also noticed that posts to Groups can be flagged as problematic simply by virtue of the path it took on the interwebs. When I have local ISP issues and have to reroute email through a different server I often experience all kinds of entirely unfounded Google impediments (a major factor in my decision to abandon Google entirely except for these few WikiTree groups).
I absolutely hate the new Google group "improvements." They've taken some of the features away I need as a project leader. I used to love Google groups, but now I would love to have a different platform to work with.
Seeing that several of us have concerns about Google Groups, I changed the category of this post from Tree House to Tech, and I added the tags improvements and communication.
Two months since Ellen posted this and I tried to write a message on the 'new look'  google groups using a phone.

 I can't get the 'work around' to work  so can't seem to post using a phone at all. I can change the setting to desk top. I can see + new conversation but clicking on it does nothing.

1 Answer

+3 votes
I cannot post on any of my 8 Google Groups using my Chromebook, which is all I use. The only way to post is to look for an email from another member, and 'reply all' to that thread like an ijit. Highly inconvenient and impractical. Surely other Rangers have needed to make a time-sensitive post?
by Stephanie Ward G2G6 Pilot (103k points)

Considering that Chromebook is a Google product, one would think that Google would ensure compatibility with Google Groups....

I do not have a Chromebook to use for testing, but I do find that I can still get Reply to All and Reply to Author buttons to appear when I use the Desktop version option to open a Google Group post from my Android phone.

One issue I do have with Google Groups replying (on all platforms) is that I cannot use the Google Groups interface to reply to the authors of private messages sent to the Group. Google Groups logs the senders of such messages as noreply at WikiTree, so a reply to author goes nowhere.

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