Stakeholder: In user profiles, I want users to be able to renew gift memberships for their giftee.

Me: ???

SH: For example, if I buy a gift membership for you and it expires or is about to expire, then I want to be able to renew it for you.

Me: Typically, gifts aren’t the gifter’s responsibility to manage. There’s no reason for you to be able to manage my membership from your account, even if just to renew. You’re opening up Pandora’s box here. If you let users renew for giftees, you’ll eventually have a user ask if they can cancel the giftee’s membership because they got into a fight and want to stick it to the giftee.

SH: But our users aren’t using the gift membership sales flow correctly. That results in all sorts of data issues for our reporting services and we spend so much time fixing it by hand.

Me: Your sales flow is confusing. The website asks users to verify membership for a giftee in case the giftee has or had a membership. How it the gifter supposed to know that? You’re trying to make things easier for you, but you’re expecting the user to know that and comply. That’s unrealistic.

SH: But there must be a something you can do.

Me: No.

  • 2
    can’t you just track if a gift has a gifter and give them access to memberships they gifted? that doesn’t seem unreasonable - it’s like any group admin granting access to a subscription service then revoking it
  • 7
    @bebetter If it’s a membership they both share, that’s one thing. Or if it’s just to show an order history that’s ok. But the gift membership should only be managed by the recipient. Once the gift is given, it’s out of the giver’s hands. Letting the gifter have access to it just because they are the gifter opens up questions about user privacy and it’s something that my stakeholders would have to check with our legal team about.
  • 1
    @ctnqhk I understand now. That's a strange request. Did the SH really ask for that much power to be given to the gifter? Your rant doesn't really explicitly say that he made that request, just that he'd like the ability for a gifter to renew a person's subscription?

    Are the subscriptions monthly?
    I feel like if that's the case, then just simply unlinking the gifter from the giftee would mean that the giftee never gets a renewal. At that point giftee would just get a notification that their subscription will expire soon, and that if they'd like to continue their subscription they will need to input a new card, or something of that nature.
  • 2
    @iSwimInTheC It would still require us to consult with legal because it’s a deviation from what the business currently does with gift memberships and I’m sure the terms and conditions need to be updated. I’m not investing engineering time unless I get a legal ok. It’s a habit from when I worked at a business that had to comply with HIPAA.
  • 0
    So you got a system, where people can gift credits of some sort to other people. And now management wants that the gifter gets informed about ending receivers running out of credits. Also, the sender should be able to use a shortcut for gifting more credits to anyone he already gifted some.

    The latter one is just a list of shortcuts to the credit gifting workflow with prefilled receiver IDs. So this shouldn't be a problem as the information about whom i already gifted stuff, should already be known to me.

    The notification about receivers running out of credits though... Well, that information wouldn't be free (you have to at least gift credits to exactly that account once) and it would probably only be good for a single use too (only inform when receiver credits run low once). So maybe, just informing a sender about the opportunity to regift whenever the receiver is about to run out of credits isn't actually a bad idea.
  • 2
    @Oktokolo Well, if someone gave me an Apple Store gift card, I’d sure like to be able to send my gifter a notice that my gift card needs more money 😂
  • 1
    @ctnqhk Lulz.

    But yeah, that would basically be Patreon light. Maybe, some of the people who wouldn't accept a monthly subscription would still occasionally donate "on demand"...
  • 1
    @Oktokolo I think I’d be on board with it if my stakeholders didn’t mess with user data so much. There’s something that creates duplicate user records by accident and we’re still trying to figure out why that’s happening. It’s a problem that exited before I started working there. Stakeholders will mark records as “do not use” and not care if they’re tied to active user accounts. So I don’t want a gifter to find that they can’t renew a gift because all of a sudden their giftee is marked “do not use.”
  • 0
    @ctnqhk Wow, that record duplication should be a max prio senior ticket. Go get that damn bug!
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