Delivered and read notifications?

I’ve never seen that - but then I haven’t use facebook or hangouts for years. I do use slack though so will see what slack is doing.

Like I explained above, the consequence is that engagement is moving out of discourse, which causes us to have to keep track of conversations in lots of difference places, and slows down activity on the forum. It also puts a squeeze on organizing events because we don’t hear back from people early enough. This hurry up and wait cycle occurs too often and is stress inducing!

One thought I’m having is that we can work harder on onboarding, to make sure that people we work with on events (like webinars) are full members of the network and logging in regularly. This is an area we tend to neglect because we have a small staff. But for events we do tend to have logistical calls and we can reserve time during those calls to log into discourse together and make sure they know their way around, and actually show them the message we use for communicating about the event and ask them to reply to it to show us that they know how it works and are there.

I don’t know what’s technically feasible and what the discourse team are interested in providing, but I can’t help but think the “read up until” would really help to increase confidence in discourse as a communication tool across the board.

BTW, I also am impressed by the whatsapp group messaging feature that indicates when everyone in the group has received a message. Pretty cool! From the blog post:

WhatsApp’s tick system also works on group messages. If you have sent a message to a group, the double grey tick will appear when all of the group has received your message. Likewise, the ticks will turn blue only when everyone in the group has read your message.


We have considered a “read until” kind of thing for group messages, so group members can tell which other group member read stuff, but its more in the “we are thinking about it” phase vs the “we are going to build it phase”.


I think one of the biggest factor of Whatsapp’s popularity is that sender of the msg knows (in most cases) whether (and when) user has received/read the msg or not. It gives him confidence, and in some cases, proof, that the user has read the msg.
It helps to clear the doubt from the minds of the both- sender and receiver of the msg. (because receiver doesn’t have to send acknowledgement to the sender that he has read the msg and thus now knows)

If someone would want to show that he has read a particular msg, even when he has not, it is to his own disadvantage I think.

Note: I know, I may not even know even 1% as you all guys do. But since this is all about sharing one’s thoughts, howsoever small, I couldn’t help myself but chipping in.

1 Like

Clicking the like button is an easy way to acknowledge that you have seen a message. In the case of a direct message it is generally clear that a like likely means more that the person has seen the message than they necessarily approved of it.


That’s the case when receiver wants to show that he has read the msg.

But when sender wants to know for sure, but receiver isn’t interested in acknowledging, that’s the point I wanted to talk about.

N: I’ve read the receiver could read the msg in the email and yet sender won’t know, but that needs a deliberate action from the receiver to perform every time he wanted to cheat someone.
Except email, he has to read the msg from the web server, there is no third way.

Discourse isn’t email (and email doesn’t really do this, anyway), and it isn’t a chat or instant messaging system. So the request generally doesn’t fit what the software is designed to do.


I think @BobbyZopfan and I are on the same page here. In parts of the world where internet access and communication is a challenge, WhatsApp has begun to dominate big time. I think a big part of their success is the immediacy of the messaging and the delivered and read notifications, which reassures people that their messages are actually being seen.

I love this and hope you decide to move from thinking to building. :slight_smile: Though in my case it’s in topics that it matters most, because (for other reasons altogether) we still stay away from group messaging.

My request was not about email, but about WhatsApp parity when it comes to delivered and read notifications. I get it now that this is not straightforward given how discourse works (thanks, @Stephen!) or even suitable for most discourse communities (privacy concerns, etc).

Maybe we’re looking at a plugin or theme component that provides the “read up until” info on the user card for each user who has contributed to or been mentioned in a topic, viewed when clicking on their name. This could be enabled on a category basis, and perhaps only used for those categories where logistical matters are being discussed. Or maybe a different approach, allowing markdown to be added to the OP (a la DiscoTOC) to display a list of members who have read a topic and how far they have read? Not sure.

Incidentally, I am responding today because I just got an email from Loomio announcing a new Loomio 2.0 version. It looks like they have added “seen by” and “notification history” functionality,.

Thread “seen by” feature

In one click, you can now find out who read your threads and when.

Notification history

Like the new seen by feature, when you notify or invite specific people to threads or decisions you can now see if they’ve read it.


Hmmm since this topic was last posted we did build this feature for group messages:

So yeah, a lot of the mechanics are in core, its just a question of how many toggles we want to give people.

I can see the appeal in personal messages that are not group messages to “know” that you were read, but there are privacy concerns and I am not sure how many toggles should be provided.


Providing the avatars can appear at the last read until point that achieves parity with Hangouts, Facebook messenger and WhatsApp.


Whoa. That is cool! How do I access it? So far not finding it in my group messages. But as I said, we still stay away from group messages generally and rely on private categories.

What are the privacy concerns exactly? Could we address those on a category level or based on access? I can imagine for public categories this is a concern but what about private categories amongst people working closely together, who would otherwise move to email or WhatsApp?

1 Like

I’m not sold on this being a good idea for categories. There’s good reason this appears in FB messenger but not FB groups.


Perhaps try using this for a bit in the group messaging context? I believe the feature “just works” if you start a message to a group and have On group messages publish group read state ticked on the group like so:

Worth trying out the feature we have prior to building a brand new feature here, imo.


Did you ever try this @tobiaseigen? You can certainly see it in action in our team group mailboxes, the number of people who have read each message and specifically expand to see who has read it.

1 Like

:thinking: How does Discourse define “read” versus “seen”? Does the feature track time-in-view, or accessed, or something else?

This is the larger issue with delivered, seen, read notifications or demarcations in general.

I often glance at messages across platforms and services, which in no way should suggest that I’ve actually read the message. :grimacing::wink:

As far as accountability measures, which seemed to be a factor for @tobiaseigen and @BobbyZopfan, nothing is certain unless the recipient has taken an active step, such as clicking “like” as *pfaffman mentioned, or, as is done in Facebook Group units, clicked “done” (or “read” or “acknowledged”, etc). Then, whether the recipient truly “read” the message or not is irrelevant–they have actively asserted their responsibility for the information moving forward.

Something like this in group messages would need to be used in combination with community norms to work as intended.

As always, “read” /=/ “understood” or “agreed.”

*Sorry, pfaffman, I can only mention 2 users in a post, according to the reply bot.


In my opinion, and perhaps @hawk can chime in, the feature has been far less useful in practice than we hypothesized it would be.

1 Like

If that is the case, it’s not the fault of the feature necessarily, IMHO.

I did try this and used it quite a bit at Namati, and I use it here on meta too. It’s pretty handy actually to know if colleagues in the group message or the person we are engaging within that message has actually seen the message. So I like it and do take advantage of it.

The OP is more an inquiry about the extent to which we can have parity with a whatsapp feature, which is purely technical… did the message reach their phone? Did it get opened on the phone? It’s not so much trying to evaluate whether the person took the time to cognitively take in the message and understand it. I know that type of data is kept in discourse as well (e.g. time spent reading in a topic) but that’s not what I was asking for back then.

I know discourse is not a phone app like whatsapp and totally understand that we can’t really expect to know the moment someone has been notified and if they have seen the notification in their email.

That said, there are definitely cases when you might want to invite people to a group so they can participate in some time sensitive discussions and receive materials on a timely basis. At Namati the biggest challenge was organizing an annual leadership course - people had to receive course materials ahead of time and do some small assignments in preparation for the course. There were also logistical details they needed to receive and deal with. It was a frustrating challenge to get them to engage.

Maybe a discourse group option could be contemplated to make this happen. E.g. if you are in this group, show that you have received and read posts in that category.

Then again, we now have the Discourse Policy plugin and Namati could use that to 100% make sure people respond.


Quote, emphasis mine:

Just for completeness: knowing if somebody has seen a message via the e-mail interface would technically be possible via e-mail read receipts or (less nice) a tracking image. Since Discourse interacts so well with e-mail currently, it could be reasonable to also bring the read receipts feature there.

1 Like

Yo, man :+1: This is not crazy, this options for private messages have in more (older) CMS like XenForo, IPS, Vbulletin, Flarum, MyBB and it’s convenient.

I really don’t understand why Discourse show more users information in /summary and don’t have option to show datetime when user read my private message. This is technically illogical.

Sorry for my bad English :pray:

1 Like

If you are admin and really need this information, you can query out the data via Discourse Data Explorer plugin.

We also provide an indication of who has read a message in private group inboxes.

1 Like