Default email settings for a new user

Is there a way to configure default options for new users in the realm of the email settings in preferences? As we have moved from a Google Group to Discourse, we’d like to encourage engagement by sensible defaults. And as most people are used to getting an email upon every reply, this will help us keep engagement up while allowing folks to turn it off if it gets to noisy?

Specifically the last two options:

  1. Receive an email every time a post is made on the forum
  2. Receive email notifications and email digests even if active

Not at this time, but that is a good idea, particularly for groups coming from a mailing list background.

@sam did you want to add a default for these in the admin site settings?


Did not, but totally agree we should add some site settings here.

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Understood. Thanks @sam and @codinghorror.

Is there possibly somewhere I can look to do this now, while I wait for a possible update that will add this as a setting that can be administrated? I have a deep coding background (not much in ruby), so I’m comfortable with modifying code …

Thanks guys!

Sure, site settings live in config/site_settings.yml you need to add the setting there, then you would need to work through the models/user.rb file to figure out how to add the override.

I would probably use NULL to denote default, amend places that look at it to use the default. If you need a hand you can start a dev topic and point us to your repo.

I guess you miss-understood my meaning here then, cause I was suggesting the exact same thing :stuck_out_tongue: Glad it’s being considered now.

Kitchen sink requests do not do well. Focused ones do. I cleaned up there.

I would like to see this feature too. I have the exact same use-case, switching from google groups to discourse.

Specifically, I would like the option to turn on “mailing list mode” by default:

Also being able to set defaults for Watched, Tracked, and Muted categories would be nice. Currently, we use lots of different google groups, and not everyone is watching each of those google groups.

If we were to switch to Discourse, we would want to default the “General” list to “Watched”, but possibly mute the more obscure categories.


@sam I agree with this, can you add a system setting to make “mailing list mode” on for all users if the admin wants it that way?


This seems like a great boon to anyone seriously looking to replace an email list. Asking everyone to fiddle with their user preferences in a specific way is sort of a non-starter when the old system, Google Groups or somesuch, makes subscription a one-click affair.

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Not sure how I missed this. This would, in fact, be a great boon for us to move away our remaining big lists from Google Groups.

The general request, which I have heard many times is, this:

We need a way to site-wide override any user preference

We need to figure out a way to make this happen.


(I assume you mean as a default for new users, although a global override for all users would also work for me)

My plan is to run this on a crontab until you have such a capability.

insert into category_users (category_id, user_id, notification_level) select 17, id, 0 from users where id not in (select user_id from category_users where category_id = 17);

Quelle horreur!

We could definitely use this too!! It is something that forum users ask me for. It will get old if I have to keep explaining where the preference is and how to do it. Especially for the people that probably aren’t savvy enough to get on the forum site and post there.

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I’ll add my vote to this as well, we’re going to be moving from a mailing list where the majority of users only interact by email. Eventually we want the majority to do so via a browser, but until that point I want new users signing up to have this enabled by default - most will not tick that box unless it’s part of the signup process, or already ticked.

cc @mcwumbly

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We’re in the process of deciding what mailing list software to use for a small community and it seems that Discourse is almost there but not quite in terms of being able to fully emulate a mailing list.

As @codinghorror mentioned, site-wide overrides are absolutely necessary. For example, we want to enforce certain email settings (e.g., getting daily digest or new posts) and we don’t want users to be able to opt-out (as otherwise Discourse would effectively degenerate into a forum with much lower engagement).

In addition, we want to be able to set the default email settings for new users while still allowing for some customisation (for those settings which do not have a side-wide override).

If both side-wide overrides + default settings for new users are implemented, then Discourse would become a viable mailing list alternative.


I want to get to site wide overrides for mails settings in the next few weeks, its a repeated request out there.


Isn’t an opt-out a requirement of the anti-SPAM laws?
Couldn’t this shut down emails being received from a site and possibly have even more dire consequences for the site?

This is just about setting “Defaults” for new account created, everything functions just as it does today internally.