Experts: Be alerted by email when a user mentions your name in a question

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Terry Woods
Bridging the gap, in a way you can understand, between what you want and tech that can achieve it. Websites, web based software, email...
Currently, it's non-trivial for users to draw the attention of a particular Expert. Let's make it easier for them!

You can set up a Saved Search with email notification so that you receive an email when a user mentions your name in their question. Here's how:

1. Create a new Saved Search

From the EE home page, click the "Create a new saved search" button. This is on the far right, and down a bit, and it looks like this:
Create a new Saved Search

2. Set up the details for the Search

Check all the Content Types checkboxes, and enter your name or username as a Keyword. If your name is multi-word (with a space in it), then ensure you change the "All these terms" option to "This exact phrase". If your name or user name is a commonly used word like "database", then see my notes on this at the bottom of the article.
Entering the search keywordsCheck the "Save this search" checkbox near the bottom of the form, and enter a sensible title for the search such as "Mentions of me". Then click Search to save it. If you have any other saved searches at all, then you're not quite done yet though.
Save the search and give it a title

3. Setting the notification precedence

Go back to the EE home page, and click the "View all saved searches" link (just above the "Create a new saved search" button).

Click the upward-pointing chevrons against your newly saved search which has been added to the bottom of the list so that it is moved to the top. The reason for this is that if you have any other email alerts active, then matching results for those alerts will be sent to you labelled with the name of the other alert, rather than your (possibly more important) "Mentions of me" alert. This is of course optional, however when I had another expert help me test this process (without this done) I missed seeing the test alert because it was labelled with something unexpected.
Give the new search maximum precedence

If your name or user name are commonly used words...

Sadly, the search functionality doesn't recognise a @ character in front of your name, so searching for "@database" is still going to find all occurrences of "database". If you go into your profile, you can "Add your name" (at the top of your profile) if you haven't done it already. This doesn't have to be your real name, so you can choose something unique. This may work in some cases, though users still might try to tag you with your username. Perhaps EE can implement a new feature that makes this article redundant, and automatically notifies experts when @username is written... (feel free to request this in a comment against this article)


Unfortunately, email alerts aren't triggered by comments so users using this method of alerting experts must mention the expert name as part of the Question text and not a Comment. Again, EE could implement something to make this work, so please comment below if you think it's a good idea.

You might also like to add the following text to the top of your EE profile (don't forget to change the username to your own!) for curious users to find:
Want to get my attention? Just mention JoeBloggsUser in the text of your question (not a comment), and I'll receive an alert email.
If you have any improvements to suggest, please post a comment below, and I'll happily edit them into the article.
Author:Terry Woods

Administrative Comment

by:Eric AKA Netminder

Great article; thanks!

Page Editor
LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:Ryan McCauley
Agreed that the search should include these features! On other competing sites, it's trivial to tag a particular user of the site Facebook-style (Type @ and then start filling in their name and it will suggest a completion, favoring people who have already participated in the question, but allowing you to select anybody to receive the alert).

It seems like functionality that would be relevant here as well and I'm in support!

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