Best way to achieve MLM daily summary today?

I’m part of a relatively new private Discourse which has rapidly become super-active – in part because it’s a migration from prior solutions to a new one. And Discourse is better.

We have several critical members who are finding the default Discourse emails insufficient (or not comprehensive) and are unwilling or unable to leverage their own email systems as part of a solution; we are trying to accommodate them.

In searching, we see that the old Mailing List Mode Daily Summary feature can be brought back via the Restore Mailing List Mode Daily Summary plugin.

However we also see that this can cause problems - both due to potential SMTP volume (we are self-hosted) and because of potential conflicts and future bugs (Discourse updates may break the plugin from time to time, and then we need to await a fix on the plugin.)

We see that the recent Discourse Priority Action Mailer Plugin may address the SMTP problem, but the possibility of future problems with the other plugin remains.

So, the question:

What is the best way to achieve MLM daily summaries now with the lowest risk of the solution breaking for some time at some point in the future?

The specifics of our use case:

The “Board” of the group conducts business as a series of long-running online meetings in discussion threads must be open for to all members to see, whether or not they participate on the Discourse forum. These threads will be Topics in a limited Category made just for this purpose. Call it the Board Meeting Category.

We’re looking to give people the option to turn on a mailing list mode which will give them comprehensive (inclusive of all responses) emails for Topics within the Board Meeting Category, but which combine all messages into a single email to be sent daily (like an old-style mailing list daily digest.) One daily email per active Topic might work out ok, but one email per response is unacceptable.

This is functionality they currently have with a pre-Discourse solution, with no extra action required from their email clients, and they’re unhappy about a move to Discourse unless we can accommodate this.

Thanks, in advance, for any suggestions or links to other solutions/Topics.


In your post above, you are basically saying, or so it seems when I read it, is that you find plugins unacceptable because (regarding the two plugins you mention above), you imply they may break in the future.

This seems to imply, again, you are opposed to “unofficial” plugs in general; but you want custom functionality, not “officially” available.

Seems to me, based on reading your post twice @MentalNomad, you should have a professional Discourse plugin developer design and maintain a plugin for your specific use case, which will accomplish your objective for your site and then you can insure that your custom plugin works for you in the future in and when the Discourse core changes (which may effect a plugin).

Sound reasonable?

All “unofficial” Discourse plugins run the risk of breaking when Discourse upgrades the core and some plugin developers maintain their code and others may not. When you want a custom feature and you are worried about this risk, then a good option for you, as it seems from your post, is to post your requirement over in #marketplace and let a pro develop a plugin for you which meets your requirements.

In general, but not always, a plugin which alters a core Discourse functionality, requires opening and modifying a Ruby class. Modifying any core Ruby class runs the risk of breaking if the core changes. Generally speaking, this is always the case when you wish to extend the functionality; you will need to maintain that code if you want to insure that “unofficial” Discourse plugin code is maintained over time.

Hope this helps.

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I’m afraid I’ve given the wrong impression, @neounix.

Not quite. But our IT staff are concerned, having looked at the threads for said plugins, that they have, indeed, broken in the past after core updates. It’s less “something might break” and more “this has been breaking.”

No, not at all! I was hoping for feedback as to whether there are other available plugs, official or unofficial, which may be more appropriate or reliable, or perhaps word that the particular problems which affected these plugs are unusual and unlikely to be frequent. IOW, I’m looking for advice for our team.

Also not quite… would love to hear that the functionality some of our users are demanding is available through some more official or less intrusive approach - or even just to learn that there’s an existing feature we just haven’t stumbled upon that will address what our users are asking for.

Really, I’m asking for advice on the best approach to address the current need. I hope that sounds reasonable.

While I thank you for you time and attention, I don’t see why hiring someone to create yet another plugin makes sense when an existing plugin fits the use case. Building (and debugging and maintaining) yet another plugin would seem to be a less reliable approach.


This is not true at all @MentalNomad

I am the author of one of the plugins (which I only posted a few day ago) you mentioned, and that plugin has never broken and there is no discussion thread where anyone mentions it. In fact, it works flawlessly without errors.

I am not advocating you use my plugin, but your statements about it are totally wrong, so I am correcting you.

Your statement about this plugin is factually incorrect, sorry to tell you @MentalNomad :slight_smile:

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You put them together, calling them a “they.” And “they” have been broken, because there have been problems within that group.

When I brought them up, I put it like this:

But let’s stop arguing semantics. I appreciate the existence of your plugin, and your hard work to produce it, and I appreciate anyone who contributed code that you used in your plugin, and all those who worked on the MLM Daily Summary plugin, and the Discourse devs who created the initial MLM Daily Summary functionality and who work so hard to maintain Discourse.

But I’m here looking for advice on how to best and most reliably meet our users’ needs with available tools; thank you.


Hey @MentalNomad

Good luck to you and your IT staff to meet your requirements. #marketplace

Take care and glad you clarified your post!

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It doesn’t matter how often a plugin breaks, it matters how quickly it is fixed. As long as a plugin is being actively maintained, it will be fixed before the majority of users even notices it was broken.

I would even argue that the greater the plugin, the more often it will break (and will get fixed).


I suggest you work with the critical members and tell them how much effort it would be to please them to suit. Sometimes the vocal minority doesn’t get to say what is actually needed.

On the other hand if they are so attached to email, maybe your perception of discourse being a good fit for this group is off ? Maybe a mailing list is all they need and deserve.


Your well-meant comments are well-received.

But, to remind you of the flavor here, note that we’re talking about a small subgroup which is called “Board” and whose Category is called “Board Meetings” for a reason.

Discourse is definitely a fantastic fit for the great majority of the broader group’s discussions. This small subset is the only problematic area, and it’s not easy to dictate what’s “deserved” in this case, both because of the people involved and the long traditions behind it all.

I agree! But if I’ve missed a better-maintained plugin that meets this need, I’d love feedback to that effect.


Last time the plugin had an issue it was fixed within a day. If that is not good enough for you then you should indeed try to live without any plugins.


How about letting them use a mailing list (eg Mailman) and have that list be mirrored, read-only, to the Board Meeting Discourse category for others to view?

There are a few topics that show up here when searching for “Mailing list mirror”.


Oh that is clever. That will show them all. Just keep them in an email only environment.

Fascinating suggestion. I’ll bring that up and look into it, but I suspect most of them would rather come into Discourse. If we can blend the two, this might work.

I actually thought the same… and then realized only a few would be made happy by this, most not.


I think one of the unusual aspects of this is that you want a daily summary only for a single category, not the entire forum. I’m not aware of anything existing that can do this.


Yes, that is “odd.” A tool that would do daily summaries and allow the user to specify which categories to include would also suffice.

We’ve just installed and had someone test Restore Mailing List Mode Daily Summary… the email was fairly large for one day at 341KB, but the real problem was that when the user opened it, the image download made his mobile phone struggle.

We’re considering modifying it for our purposes, to hard-code it just to the target Category, which is much less active than the whole site and has few, if any, images. This will still modify the “key” people who insist on this function for the “Board Meeting” Category, while letting norm… er, typical users interact with Discrouse as designed.

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This is an interesting and useful discussion. I have been investigating something similar, but not quite the same. I want to be able to generate a daily list of new topics and optionally number of new replies for topics in specified sub-categories. This would be cross-posted (through an API) into a chat service, and also generate an email for the old-school members.

There would actually be several different summaries for different subsets of categories generated and sent to different destinations.

This as a way of building engagement and nudging people away from having in depth discussions in chat, and also as a way of engaging the non-digital enthusiasts who still think that a mailman type list is pretty cool and advanced :roll_eyes: (it would have to be a read-only list!) or prefer plain text only communication to fancy flashy websites (they do exist! :unicorn: )

I’d be interested to see what solution you come up with…

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If it is supposed to be a summary, rather than a complete copy, couldn’t you just exclude images. Make 'em go to the site to get the full picture.

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