Can Users in Anonymous Mode Receive E-mails?

Is it possible for anonymous users to receive e-mail notifications when someone replies to them, or for their deanonymized Discourse accounts to receive notifications when someone replies to their ‘anonymous’ alias?

For more background, my use case is using Discourse to run a forum for a large undergraduate subject, as a replacement for Piazza, and so our main use case is students asking questions about assignments or other course materials. Often, students want to post questions publicly but do not want their names associated with the post (presumably for fear of being judged if their question is perceived as “dumb”), so many of the public topics in our forum are coming from anonymous users. It would be great if there were a way for them to receive notifications about responses to those posts (even when offline or when they switch back out of anonymous mode).

I’m sorry if this is something that already exists or should be obvious, but I did some poking around and wasn’t able to find an answer (though I’ve seen several threads related to allowing anonymous users to email in to create topics/replies).

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Anonymous users have their email set to an invalid email address, so they cannot receive email notifications. Anonymous users will receive notifications on Discourse in the same way as a regular user does. For this to work, the users will need to be logged into the same anonymous account as they were when they posted on Discourse. The length of time that a user can keep logging into the same anonymous account is set by the anonymous account duration minutes site setting.

For users who are not logged into their anonymous account to receive notifications for replies to their anonymous posts, they will need to set their notification status for the topic to Watching. They could do this on a per-topic basis by clicking the topic’s notification level button. They could also set their notification status on a per-category basis from the Categories section of their profile page.


Thanks for the response! OK, yes, that confirms my understanding of what was already in place, but I wasn’t sure if there was something I could do if I wanted regular users to be able to receive notifications (including e-mails) about their anonymous alter-egos.

Ah, that works; thanks! I hadn’t thought of that. I can ask my students to follow that pattern.

Just to confirm: the list of people watching a thread is not publicly available somewhere, right? I can’t find such a list, but I would like to make sure.

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The list of people watching a topic or a category is not available to regular users on the site.

Admins and moderators can see the categories and tags that a user is watching from their profile page. Admins can retrieve a list of topics that a user is watching with the Data Explorer plugin.


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