Communicating with Users

Messaging


What is messaging?

Well, um, it’s like chat. You send some characters to another user, they read them, and maybe they send some characters back to you. You do this enough and it’s called communicating. Communicating, or “messaging,” has been around for centuries. This is just our take on it. 

How do I start a conversation?

That’s easy. Just look for this guy: 

From the app:

  1. Tap the chat bubble to open activity and messages.
  2. Tap the new message bubble.
  3. Enter a blog name.
  4. Start a conversation. “You complete me” is the traditional opener but “Hello” is also acceptable. Feel free to experiment with your own openers and see where it goes. 

From posts:

  1. Click or tap the paper airplane icon.
  2. Enter the name of a Tumblr you want to send that post to.
  3. Discuss.

From the web:

  1. Click the chat bubble at the top right of your dashboard.
  2. Type the name of the Tumblr you want to message.
  3. Say something. But, like, be cool.

What happened to Fan Mail?

Think of Fan Mail like a shoebox where you keep your old love letters. They’re still there (under the envelope on the web, and under blog info on mobile) but if you want to respond, it’ll start a new messaging conversation.

Who can I message?

Pretty much anyone. It’s really up to the receiver—they have all the control. If they want to accept messages from everyone on Tumblr, then you can message them. If they only accept messages from Tumblrs they follow (see next question), you have to get them to follow you first.

For example, let’s say @cheezbag follows @pocketcheez, but @pocketcheez isn’t following back. It’s a one-way follow. 

  • If they both accept messages from anyone, then either person can initiate a conversation with the other.
  • If they only accept messages from Tumblrs they follow, then only @pocketcheez can initiate the conversation because @cheezbag follows them. 

A couple other caveats: You can’t message group blogs (not yet, anyway) or anyone who’s blocked you (obviously). 

How do I prevent people from messaging me?

Just go to blog settings and flip the “Only allow messages from Tumblrs I follow” switch. Now Tumblrs you don’t follow won’t be able to start conversations with you. Presumably the people you do follow aren’t jerks. 

You can also block users individually but that will prevent them from interacting with you or your posts in any way. 

Can I disable messaging?

No, that’s not a thing. But you can block anyone who’s being a tool.

 

Ask


What is the Ask feature?

Asks are more of a one-off Q&A, not a two-way conversation like messaging. And unlike messages, Asks can be published to a blog and reblogged by other users. 

As the asker (the sender) you can choose to submit a question as yourself or as an anonymous phantom. As the askee (the receiver) you can choose to respond publicly (by publishing to your blog) or privately. 

One quirk: You can only respond to anonymous asks publicly, since we don’t know who sent it.

How do I enable the Ask feature?

  1. Click "Settings" under the Account menu at the top of the dashboard, then on the right side of the page, choose the blog you’d like to update.
  2. In the Ask section, enable “Let people ask questions.”
  3. Fill in “Ask page title” with whatever you’d like to name the Ask page (and the Ask link on your theme if it shows one).
  4. If you want to allow anyone (not just Tumblr users) to ask questions, check the box that says “Allow anonymous questions.”

Is there a limit to how many Asks I can send?

You can send up to 10 Asks per hour, and only five of those can be anonymous.

 

Submit


What is the Submit feature?

This feature allows other users to submit posts to your blog(s). Whether or not you publish them is up to you.

How do I enable post submissions?

  1. Click "Settings" under the Account menu at the top of the dashboard, then choose the blog you’d like to update on the right side of the page.
  2. In the Submissions section, enable “Let people submit posts.”
  3. Customize your Submission page title, guidelines, and tag field.
  4. Toggle which types of posts users can submit.

 

Other Useful Info


How do I send Asks or Submissions?

Assuming that the blog has those things turned on:

  • In the app: Go to a blog, tap the person icon, and then Ask or Submit.
  • On the web: Hover over an avatar and click the person icon. 
  • From the web: Look for the Ask or Submit link, or add /ask or /submit to the end of their URL.

How do I access my Asks, Fan Mail, and Submissions?

In the app: Go to the account tab (the human), then tap the human next to your Tumblr and choose “Asks, Fan Mail, and Submissions”

On the web: Click the envelope in the top right.

Probably! Most themes automatically detect when you turn on Asks and Submissions. But if you know that you turned them on and you’re not seeing them, go to tumblr.com/customize to find the right switches.

How do I put Ask or Submit links in my blog description?

If you enable any of these features and the links do not appear on your blog automatically, you’ll need to manually add the links to your blog’s description.

  1. Click "Settings" under the Account menu at the top of the dashboard, then choose the blog you’d like to update on the right side of the page.
  2. Click “Edit theme” in the Website Theme section.
  3. Edit your description to add the links. For example:
    • <a href="/ask">Ask me Stuff!</a>
    • <a href="/submit">Submit!</a>
  4. Click “Save” and “Exit.”

What happened to post replies?

Existing replies are still there in post notes, right where you left them. The ability to reply will be back soon, and better than ever.

 

Blocking Users


What if I receive unwanted messages, reblogs, or follows?

Simple: Block the person who's sending them. You can do so from a number of places within Tumblr.

  • From your mobile or web dashboard, open the user's blog by clicking or tapping on the avatar, then go to the user menu (the little human), and select "Block."
  • From your blog settings page on the web, just click the pencil to edit your blocked users then type in the user that you want to block.
  • From your mobile or web inbox, click or tap the three dots, then "Block" (or if you're on Android, click or tap the big fat X on any message).

(Note that if you got an anonymous ask, it isn’t associated with any particular account, which means you can’t really block the person that sent it. You can, however, permanently block the IP address the ask came from. Any further anonymous asks sent from that address will never see the inside of your ask box. FYI: There’s no way to unblock an anonymous IP address. Additionally, the person sending unwanted anonymous asks could still send you anonymous asks from another IP address. If you’re receiving these anonymous asks from multiple IP addresses, you can disable anonymous asks or even disable the Ask feature entirely in your blog settings. If you need help with any aspect of Asks, check out this help doc!)

What happens when I block someone from my blog?

  • They won't be able to follow your blog.
  • They won’t be able to message you.
  • They won't be able to send you Fan Mail or Asks to your Tumblr. 
  • They won't be able to see your posts in their dashboard.
  • They won't be able to like or reblog your posts.
  • You won't show up in their search results.

Just a note for anyone with secondary blogs: when you block someone, you'll be blocking them from a specific blog on your account, not all of them. If you want to block someone from all of your blogs, then you'll have to add them to each block list.

Will someone know if I've blocked them?

Probably not. We don't tell people when you block them, but they might figure it out on their own if they visit your website, try to reblog one of your posts, say, and are prevented from doing so.

Can I hide my blog from people who don't follow me?

Yup. Just head into the settings for the blog you want to hide from public view and turn off the switch that says "Show this blog on the web." Your followers will still be able to see your posts in their dashboards, but anyone who tries to go to your blog at its URL will need to sign up and/or log into Tumblr to see it. 

Tip: This may be especially useful if you're worried about someone you block visiting your URL and reading your posts that way (blogs are, by default, public, and stuff you post can be seen by the public at large—even if they're blocked from interacting with it). 

 

Troubleshooting


Why aren’t my Asks getting delivered?

These are the most common reasons: 

  • The sender exceeded the ask limit. You can only send 10 Asks per hour, and only five of those can be anonymous. 
  • The Ask included links, paragraph breaks, special characters, emoticons, or ellipses, or didn’t have spaces between sentences. 
  • The Ask was longer than 500 characters. 
  • The recipient blocked an entire network location. This can happen if a user blocks an anonymous Ask sent from a library or other public location. When that happens, no one from that location can send that person an Ask.