Can we manually specify how long "away" refers to for email notifications?

Currently, under email settings, there is an option:

Send me an email when someone quotes me, replies to my post, mentions my @username, or invites me to a topic

I, for one, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, would prefer not to get emails every time I’m mentioned, but I like the idea if I’m away using the following option:

Only when away: We’ll only email you if we haven’t seen you in the last 10 minutes.

But for me, 10 minutes is hardly “away” for power users. We’ll definitely be back later in the day and see that we were mentioned.

I feel like there should be a setting where admins can determine what “away” actually means here. Or let the users have a few more options.

10 minutes
1 hour
12 hours
24 hours
1 week
1 month

Etc, or just let users (or at least admins) enter arbitrary numbers.

There are plenty of members who would come back if they were mentioned, but they might have already turned off this feature if they are getting emails all throughout the day while taking breaks from posting.

And users don’t always think to go change their options and might opt for that dreaded “mark as spam” option if they are getting too many emails, something that I think could be avoided if there was at least a way to set “away” to mean more than 24 hours of being away.

Maybe my members utilize tagging more than others, but I have to imagine my forums are not unique in this area.

Just my $.02.


Or, make it wait a little bit?
Only email me if you haven’t seen me for x amount of time after a mention etc.

Or, try to make it smart, based on previous behavior.
Only email me if you don’t expect me to be back within x amount of time.

Not sure how I feel about allowing more time to pass between the event and the email than an hour or so. You want to keep the discussion going.

1 Like

@tomtjes, we have many members who only log on once a day, or even once every few days, but when they do, they check all of their notifications and reply accordingly.

I would say at least 24 hours would make it so regulars aren’t bombarded with emails, while allowing them to be notified if they take a few days away and somebody mentions them.

Maybe I’m the black swan here, but I try to avoid getting emails from sites I frequent and I’d consider being gone for an hour not long enough to be notified. A day? Sure.

And many users will have the app too, so they are already getting notifications on that. An email, to me, seems better fit to catch people who’ve been away for longer than normal, while the app should suffice for hour by hour notifications.


I believe @sam worked on this recently, not sure if there is a site setting here.


My work was around more properly detecting “awayness”

I feel for the OP here, on a site like meta I am forced to send all my emails to a folder cause I get bombarded so much.

I am not sure 100% the op solves the problem though for very active users. When you become mega active and primarily use the site to interact a toggle of, only email me about mentions and replies, once a day, may be better. That way if you take a week off you are not faced with an email swamp.

The daily email could be an aggregate. I would certainly use that feature on meta

1 Like

The 10 minutes is currently a site-wide setting, email time window mins.

Also, we’ve had some recent requests from users to be able to make this window shorter, for those that live in their inboxes, but I think I like this idea of being able to make it longer as well.