Any way to prevent notifications for post merges, moves?

Well, to be quite honest, right now there’s been a bit of a chilling effect because people are overwhelmed by all the email they are getting from discourse, and especially the moderators are anxious to avoid making any more changes than absolutely necessary.

But there are a handful of posts that landed in the wrong places since we launched the forum a month or so ago… these need to be organized and moved to new categories, new topics or merged with other existing topics.

One ongoing issue we’re facing is that we have a few mailing list categories, and notably one for all staff to use for starting topics. Many staff want to use just email for starting topics and participating in topics - not logging into the site at all. Many of these new topics then need to be moved to new categories. We also continue to get posts added onto existing topics that are meant to be new topics, because staff use existing email addresses… but that’s another issue.

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Changing the category won’t generate an email, only topic merges and splits will – as merges and splits result in posted notifications so you can find your way to the merge or split.

I guess if you are doing some kind of spring cleaning with merging and splitting, do that before turning on the email notifications for everyone?

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This makes some sense. So as admin I can go in and deselect “disable emails” and it will not send any messages while I do the spring cleaning? Or moderators, in pinch, can ask me to disable emails before they merge or split a post? Cumbersome, but ok.

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Is that actually necessary?

We merged some old topics regarding meeting planning, and the notifications that went out caused someone to add something to this week’s meeting agenda that was several months old because they assumed the notification was from something current – it looked like it was a new reply.

Or maybe add something that describes what’s really happening, rather than making the email notifications look like a new post/reply?

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I’ve had that thought too - when you rely on the site for notifications, you can always see what it’s about. When you rely on email, you just get posts that look new which is a bit confusing.

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If this is meant to imply that moving topics will trigger neither emails nor new topic notifications, then this information is outdated. I just moved an old release announcement into the announcement topic (which users are watching by default) and it looks like people were notified (at least I received a notification). So I immediately moved the topic back out of the announcements category, hoping that I would prevent emails from being sent out, but it didn’t, even though the emails were sent about 10 minutes after I had moved the topic back again (I just checked the exact times: topic moved out of announcement category: 11:12, user_watching_first_post email sent: 11:26). Is this supposed to happen?

In any case, I’d like to raise this old question again: is there anyway of moving topics into a different category without triggering notifications? Perhaps there could be a setting for “don’t notify new topics inactive for more than than … days”? That way you could move around old (in my case: imported) topics without people getting irrelevant notifications.

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My understanding is that when you use the bulk update modal via the admin wrench on topic lists, it does not send notifications. Don’t take my word for it though and test it out.

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Ah! So you’re saying that it works differently when you move a topic via that method than when you move it by editing the title of the individual topic?

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There definitely are differences between bulk actions and normal edits. Last time I checked, bulk actions allowed you to edit tags without recording an edit :pencil2: to the first post.

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This is the topic I am referring to. My assumption is that notifications won’t be sent just like they won’t be bumped. But I may be wrong.

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Okay, I tried it and can confirm that bulk moving topics to a different category that is being first-post-watched by a user, does not trigger notifications for that user. Just to be clear: the emphasis is on bulk. Moving topics the “normal way” does trigger notifications.

I have not tried it with tags, but would assume that the same logic applies.

No, it looks like you are right. Thanks for clarifying.

Edit: Sorry, this isn’t over yet. I just saw that at least one user did in fact receive an email for one of the two topics I bulk moved. But I didn’t. I can’t make any sense of it right now, especially since that user only was notified about one of the teo topics. Possibly it has something to do with either having previously been notified about some of the topics or having already read them, though, in my case this only applies to one of the two topics.

In addition, I noticed that one of our mods recently moved another topic into the same category (and I’m pretty sure he didn’t use bulk move, but will ask him) and nobody was notified at all.

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I’m seeing “new topic” and “new reply” notifications every time I move topics across categories using the bulk option, for users who have the target category set to “Watching” or “Watch first post.”

An option to avoid notifications for category changes would be appreciated.

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I just recategorized 60+ old topics (via the bulk admin setting) and hundreds of users received 60+ notification emails. I wish there had been a way to prevent this :pensive:

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You could disable all outgoing emails via site settings, do the operation, then re-enable outgoing emails.

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Thanks, lesson learned for next time. Still, it would have been nice to be notified that something like this was going to happen.

I am confused. Are these users all watching the category that you recategorized into?

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That’s correct. It was set to be first-message watched by default

Well, the system is doing what you asked it to do

We had many complaints from users watching first post that they never found out about topics when admins recategorized

I guess I would support some sort of cutoff age wise but it too is hard to explain to end users

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I tried disabling emails, changing the category of a post and re-enabling them, and it didn’t work (the emails got sent).

I assume in order for this to work I would have to leave emails disabled for 10+ minutes before re-enabling them again.

Okay, I wish it was easier but I can confirm that this works:

  1. Go to your admin site settings

  2. Search for “email time window mins”, set it to “0” and click the green checkmark.

  3. Search for “disable emails”, set it to “yes” and click the green checkmark

  4. Change the categories of your posts

  5. Search for “email time window mins”, click on “restore” (so it goes back to “10”) and click the green checkmark.

  6. Search for “disable emails”, click on “restore” (so it goes back to “no”) and click the green checkmark

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