Activity summary e-mail on demand

I am looking for some way how to create the activity summary e-mails on demand, not automatically and not based on the individual activity of the visiting (or not-visiting) user.

Background: we have a discourse instance with about 1,1k active users and about 1,5k posts per week. But there are a number of users “outside Discourse” who still prefer classic mailing lists (based on GNU mailman), for various reasons.

The goal is to use the nicely formatted and information-rich activity e-mails as an “appetizer mail” to gain more interest for the Discourse-based discussions. Especially among those users who still prefer “old school” classic mailing lists (because they don’t know yet that Disocurse is much more powerful ;-=)) ).

Possible requirements:

  • activity e-mail should be creatable “on demand”
  • format should be either static html or as a pdf file
  • administrators or moderators should be able to create these activity mails and forward them to users “outside” of the group of regular Discouse users (e.g. by posting it to a classic mailing list).
  • the content of the activity summary e-mail should be variable, based on either categories or topics
  • it should be limited to a particular time window (e.g. only include activity which appeared last week)

a) is something like this already possible, eg. with some specialized API requests?
b) If not, what needs to be done to get this implemented?

Thanks for some info/feedback

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I believe Kris’s reply in a different topic answers most of your questions well and gives good clarity, so let me just paste a link to it.

Maybe there is a misunderstanding. The intention is not to use discourse as an “e-mail marketing plattform”. Both systems mentioned (discourse and the mailman mailing lists) are only used for an internal group of users (non-public).

We have a number of users that still do not use discourse for various reasons (e.g.because they think its “too complicate”, because they dont want to use a browser instead of an e-mail-client etc.). The intention is to use the activity e-mails as a “discourse appetizer”.

The goal is to make these users more open towards the usage of discourse. This could be achieved with a number of e-mails with interesting content and links from the discourse platform which are manually sent by moderators who have access to both the discourse instance and the old mailing lists.

The final goal is the migration of all users and their team communication to the discourse instance and the replacement of internal mailing lists.

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I totally understand you, while it seems like what you are describing is different from an email marketing platform, it would mean extending the email system in Discourse to allow granular customisation and being able to select users based on activity within the community. This will be tricky because emails sent from Discourse are transactional and more notification-based.

What you have described does sound useful and I can definitely see the need, additional email functionality isn’t an uncommon request. Most of these are doable with 3rd party systems, so it’s likely that any email improvements will rely on integrating with third-party services (something we’ve started to look into more recently).

Some integration with third-party emailing services can already be achieved through webhooks, but those can be hard to approach if you’re not technical… and even then you’re a bit limited.

What future improvement will probably look like is a more direct integration with email marketing platforms like mailchimp, convertkit, constantcontact, etc… So it’s possible you may be able to configure some simple no-code automation like:

if [user hasn’t logged in within X days] then [subscribe user to X mailchimp list], where the list has customised email templates that pull specific data from topics in the community into a nicely designed view as you’ve described.

Initially I thought about some special SQL request through GitHub - discourse/discourse-data-explorer: SQL Queries for admins in Discourse but I havent played with it yet. From a first guess the data explorer is more useful for information about overall user activity statistics, but not for getting the content (or links to the content) itself.

And I assume that any SQL request still does not solve the functionality that I would need some kind of formatted output (content and/or links to the “real messages/threads”).