Evil Smartsheet email preferences

Some time ago I joined a service called Smartsheet. It claims to offer joined work on timelines, documents, calendars, tasks and other items. I have not worked jointly on anything yet, but I got an email from them – an automated message trying to give me some tips. I am not interested in such things. I saw a link “Update your email preferences” at the bottom of the message, so I followed it. I wanted to unsubscribe.

Smartsheet Email Preferences

You’re in control of which emails you receive. Check all that apply.

[text field] * xxxxxx@xxx.xxx

[clear checkbox] I don’t want product tips and how-tos

[clear checkbox] I don’t want monthly newsletters or product updates

[clear checkbox] I don’t want assistance from the Smartsheet sales team

I want no emails

[clear checkbox] Unsubscribe from all

[button] Update My Email Preferences

I was surprised to see that all checkboxes on the Smartsheet Email Preferences page were clear, yet I received that email. I started wondering that maybe there was some hidden rule or additional thing. Then I noticed what the page was actually telling me that I was subscribed for everything. This was evil.

I selected Unsubscribe from all and clicked the Update My Email Preferences button. I got this:

Your email preferences have been updated.

*You may still receive emails from the Smartsheet application. Log in to Smartsheet to update those settings – or click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any Smartsheet application email.

Am I now unsubscribed or not? Well, it proved not. I logged in and after some fiddling with the app, I found this:

Personal Settings > Settings > Email Preferences

[selected checkbox] Send me Product Update News

[clear checkbox] Send me my Smarthseet Daily Mail


  1. The preferences page reverses the way a checkbox is perceived to work. Normally, you would expect something to be on when the checkbox is selected, and off when the checkbox is clear.
  2. There are two different places for controlling email preferences.


Use checkboxes in the straight way: selected means on, and clear means off. Put all email preferences on one place. Do not auto-subscribe users to things they do not need.

5 May 2016 | Smartsheet


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