Ways to notify participants beyond prolific messaging?

Hi all,

I have been piloting a video study where we pair a couple of prolific participants to meet at a video chat at a specific time. Since the study requires two people to engage with each other, it was essential for us to make sure the participants show up at the right time. To make this work, I have programmed a custom scheduling platform that automatically send participants messages through Prolific messaging to remind participants to show up.

I have been piloting this system for a couple of weeks now. The system’s been working as it intended, except we still are running a massive issue where participants don’t show up at a time they signed up for. Sometimes I would have as much as 50%+ of participants missing their appointments. I have chatted with some participants who missed their appointments. For some things just came up, but for a quite a few of them they simply forgot, or the prolific message didn’t reach them on time.

So here’s my question: what options do I have to notify participants beyond the prolific messaging system? Collecting their email or phone number would obviously the easiest, but that violates the “no collecting personal info” rule. One idea is sending participant to a 3rd party reminder app and ask them to set up a reminder themselves. I can’t think of anything else.

Any other ideas?

Hi Lok

Welcome back.

Good news, I think.

You can send “pseudonymised” email, without having to ask for personal information, via the prolific system.

The participants’ email address is of the following form.


I guess also judicious use of bonuses to those that show promptly, and a bare minimum or zero to those that don’t would be in order but I am sure you have thought of that. If this longitudinal study is within 21 days you can withhold payment to the first, scheduling part too.

Other than that, I don’t know.

I hope that helps a little.


Hi Tim,

Thanks for the suggestion. To clarify, the pseudonymised email is actually the method I use in my automated system. It sends an reminder via the participant’s email.prolific.co address. My understanding is that the email turns into a Prolific message, and the participant gets an email notifying them about a message. Somehow many participants still missed these messages. I suspect that they might have turned their email notification off.


I am sorry. I did not consider that obvious possibility.

I don’t know what to suggest.

Perhaps there is some other online service that you can use.

But perhaps you might make sending an email to you via a pseudonomizing email service, assuming such exists,
a condition of participation.

Googling I find that such things do exist

But then they could turn off notification on that too.
Sorry. I can’t think of anything.


Thanks Tim! I will explore that possibility. It’s a tricky problem so I suspect there isn’t an easy solution. I also have a couple of other ideas that I will try.