Changes to "empty" notification handling

When a message doesn't contain any content - especially when it's an SMS - it's much more likely to be flagged as spam by delivery service providers. This can cause frustration for recipients or missed notifications, and increases the chance of some providers treating ALL your messages as spam. 

To prevent this, we're changing the way xMatters handles empty messages.

What is an empty message?

The system considers a message as empty when both of the following are true:

  • The message has no content. (For email, this means there is no subject and no body.)
  • The alert has no responses configured.

A message might not have any content because it hasn't been configured in the message editor or because the message contained only an optional value (such as an incoming event property or a recipient variable) that was not populated.

How does the system handle empty notifications?

The system is designed to deliver all notifications as quickly as possible, and so it currently attempts to send notifications even if they have no content. These messages may appear with simple placeholders (such as "message") where the content should be, but this can be more confusing for recipients than not receiving a message at all.

We're changing this behavior to help address these issues. After this update, any SMS, email, fax, or voice notifications that meet the above criteria and are considered empty will be marked as failures and the targeted device will not be notified. (Due to some inherent differences in how notifications are processed, empty messages will still be sent to chat and mobile app devices.)

What does this mean for tracking and reporting?

Notifications that would previously have been sent to email, SMS, fax, or voice devices will appear as failures in the Alerts report, and the Log will indicate that the device could not be notified because "No message content or responses are configured."

When is this change happening?

We're planning to implement this change in non-production environments on December 14, 2023 and in production environments on January 16, 2024; we don't anticipate any noticeable impact to customers.

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