Discourse Activity Summary Emails Guide

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #1

What is an Activity Summary email?

The Discourse “Activity Summary” (formerly known as the digest email) is an email sent out to members of a forum who haven’t visited in a specific period with a collection of the most popular content since their last visit.

Click here to see User Options and here for Admin Options


The email includes the following, automatically:

  1. Some activity statistics to emphasise activity levels
  2. A list of the most popular topics
  3. A selection of the most popular posts
  4. Links of topics that are “New for you”

The intention is to entice inactive members to come back and become engaged as readers or contributors by reminding them of their membership and showing them the most relevant content.

The Activity Summary is sent only when the member has not visited for a minimum period of time. The community’s default interval is set by the admin, but is something the user can customise. The system default is weekly.

The Activity Summary is not sent to members who have been Silenced or Suspended

The options are:

  • never
  • every 30 minutes
  • every hour
  • daily
  • weekly
  • every month
  • every six months

If an individual member has not visited the forum in the selected period, then the system will send them a summary of activity in that period. This countdown is reset every time a user visits again, so regular members may rarely receive an Activity Summary email

What gets included?

Popular topics for digests are extracted from /top topics with certain rules:

  • individual user permissions to view that topic
    • topics from private categories the user does not have access to will not be sent
  • topic notification level
    • the topic shouldn’t be muted for that user
  • user who created that topic must have trust level greater than 0
    • this default can be overridden (see below)
  • topic must be created after the user was last emailed
  • topic should not be from a muted category
  • topic should not be closed
  • topic should not be archived

User Options

Individual users have the ability to determine some of what is included and how often they receive it.

A user can go to Preferences and do the following:

Under Emails:

  • change the mailing frequency
  • uncheck the box to set the frequency to never
  • to allow content from new users to be included

Under Notifications:

  • add a category or tag to Muted to stop that content appearing in the Activity Summary, but also on the Latest page

Admin Options

When setting up a community, the admins will determine the defaults for Activity Summary emails. If these get changed, the new settings will only apply to new registrations **.

These settings are found under Admin, Site Settings and in the Email options - searching for digest options

  • Frequency
    Set a frequency that will be comfortable for your particular users and community. A very busy, active community will create lots of content, so staying on top of it might mean encouraging daily visits with summaries. A less active community might be quite happy with weekly summaries. Keep in mind that this email will be sent every interval period, and could become annoying if it is not received as useful.

The Activity Summary routine can be turned off by checking the doable digest emails setting

  • Settings

    • digest logo url - customise your email logo (leave blank to use default)
    • digest min excerpt length (default: 100) - change how much content you share of each post
    • digest topics (default: 5) -
    • digest posts (default: 5) -
    • digest other topics (default: 5) -
    • suppress digest email after days (default: 365) - Activity Digests are automatically turned off for users who do have not visited for 365 days
    • digest suppress categories: mute categories that should not be included even if available on the site
    • show topic featured link in digest: if a “Featured Topic” is set for the community, include it in emails
    • default include tl0 in digests: allow all new users’ posts to be included
  • Customisation
    While Activity Summary emails are generated automatically, it is possible to customise the email

    • colors - the header colour of the Activity Summary is set in Site Settings, searching for email accent bg color
    • additional text and banners - additional text can be added above / below each post and section of the Activity Summary by navigating to your-site/admin/customize/site_texts and searching for all the settings that start with: user_notifications.digest.custom*

** Applying changes to existing users will require console access

Admin Testing

At any time, admins can go to the Admin dashboard, under Emails to preview the content of a digest email to any given user using Preview Summary.

This can be viewed on the site or sent to a custom email address for review.

What goes in the activity summaries?
Is there a way to ensure certain topics are definitely included in the summary email?
Send summary of new posts to chat instead of every post update
Content of Digests
(Luke S) #2

Also note that a user may opt out of digests entirely.

(Melissa) #3

How do you determine the members of your forum who haven't visited in a while? Is there a specific threshold you measure this by? For example, if they haven’t visited in 5 days they will receive a digest email? It would be great if we could adjust this in the Email settings!

Thanks for your help.

(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #4


You can change the default value using the setting default email digest frequency inside e-mail settings.

Also, a user can change the frequency on his/her preferences page.

(Melissa) #5

Hi Rafael,

Thanks for the response. I saw that setting, but I’m confused by the description of the feature. How does Discourse determine if someone “hasn’t visited in a while”? Or is this sent to all users based on the default email digest frequency?

1 Like
(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #6

Yes, exactly. User get a digest when he hasn’t visited for the interval defined on that setting. Maybe a better copy is needed. :thinking:

(Leah Kramer) #7

Hi @Falco. I’d like to just doublecheck something –

Let’s say you have “default email digest frequency” set to Daily:

  1. “You haven’t visited in a while” is “true” if you haven’t visited the site in >24 hours
  2. The Activity Summary email goes out every 24 hours

Is this correct? Thanks!

(Felix Freiberger) #8

Yes, but only if the user hasn’t received any other kind of notification in the last 24 hours.

(Klemen Struc) #9

As admins, we want to be able to track in Google Analytics the traffic to our Discourse from Activity Summary Emais.

Is there any way to append and customize Google Analytics’s UTM params to all links in the Activity Summary Email?

For example:

  • utm_source=activity_summary
  • utm_medium=email
  • utm_content=2017-07-16 (date of the day when email was sent out)

Would love if you shared ideas for any potential solutions.

(Holly Ross) #10

Would like to +1 @klemenstruc’s comments here. Has anyone been able to do this?

(Robert McIntosh) #11

The OP has been completely revised with more information for users and admins. Any further questions or clarifications, edits or corrections are welcome

How do I change the font/color of summary E-mail "Popular post" excerpts on mobile?
(Jay Pfaffman) #12

It’s not entirely formerly known as the digest email. It’s called digest email a zillion places in the source. I think that “also known as” is going to be the case for the foreseeable future.


I suppose these are easy enough to fix. replace "digest" with "summary" by pfaffman · Pull Request #6583 · discourse/discourse · GitHub

1 Like
(George Petrov) #13

I wonder if there is a way to include also auto bumped topics in the activity summary? Till the user have read them. Currently those are not included because the topics were created before the latest summary mail…

(Justin (Misty Robotics)) #14

Thankyou @erlend_sh. Is there a way to see how many people read/click links on the email?

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #15

We do not currently track this. Feel free to start a separate topic for it in #feature with as much information as possible about your use case.

Plugin outlets for summary emails
(Kenny DuBose) #16

@klemenstruc I too am interested in this. Has it gotten traction anywhere else? (I’ve looked and have not found). Perhaps @pfaffman has skills on hand to do same?

(mark78) #17

Is there a way to limit the options to some subset of this?

I’m writing a custom Activity Summary email, and would like to respect the user’s selected frequency, but only within limits that make sense for our group.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #18

You could probably override the defaults with a plugin. You can ask in #dev for some guidance on how to implement it.

1 Like
(Olivier) #19

That would be great to be able to setup the frequency for the first 50 members.
Currently it’s inevitably ‘daily’… but for some communities it’s too much and we can generate the opposite of what we are looking for, can’t we?

(Kane Thomas) #21

This may be a dumb question, but does this mean if the user does have access to these private categories, their topics will be included in the summary email?