Does viewing an email notification increase topic view count?


(Michael Downey) #1

If a user opens an email notification, and perhaps even reads all of a thread via email, do any of those opens get tracked (image beacon?) and thereby increase the topic’s view count shown on the web?

If no, should it? (I’d suggest that for accuracy, it should, in some way.)


Encouraging User Participation - Some Ideas, More welcome
(Kane York) #2

No: Discourse does not do view tracking of emails.


(Jeff Atwood) #3

No, it does not. We have no plans for this.

Images inside emails are usually blocked in various ways because of spammers using them to track how many people they successfully tricked into opening their spam mails.


Encouraging User Participation - Some Ideas, More welcome
(Michael Downey) #4

Actually these days the only major mail clients that block images by default are Android’s default (generic, not Gmail) Mail app and Outlook. Gmail and Yahoo download images by default now.


(Jeff Atwood) #5

Not quite:

Images are all loaded from a Google proxy, but if you send a unique URL, you bypass the proxy caching.

This is covered in other topics here related to “mark posts I’ve read in email as read on the site”.


(Michael Downey) #6

Yes, to be clear here for posterity, Gmail’s default for users is to load images through it’s proxy, so they are only (ostensibly) fetched from the server once per URL. Creating unique URLs for any loaded resources allow someone to record that the message was opened, once. This is best practice in the e-mail industry, just as using cookies is best practice for the most reliable data in web analytics.

Personally, I have disabled auto-loading of images, but I know I’m an edge case – most leave the defaults.

Since I created this topic it shouldn’t be surprising that my opinion is that Discourse should track views wherever it can, and e-mail notifications are a great way to do that, especially if people are replying via e-mail. (Think of the absurdity of a topic with 42 replies and 0 views!)


(Mittineague) #7

Maybe it would be easier to track posts as views?


(Jeff Atwood) #8

Or at least a post via email has to be an implicit view, has to be. Great idea.


(Michael Downey) #9

Yep, that’d be a hack in the right direction.


(Jeff Atwood) #10

And yet… look at this email I just got in my gmail. Note presence of

IMAGES ARE NOT DISPLAYED. Click to display images

in it.


(Michael Downey) #11

That’s nice, I’ve disabled my auto-loading of images too. Our power user-ness doesn’t change the fact that it’s enabled by default in Gmail, Outlook Express, Apple Mail, Lotus Notes, the iOS mail client, and Android mail client, though. :smile:

Some current data & best practices:


(Jeff Atwood) #12

No, I did not disable anything – my gmail is at default. I rarely modify settings like that.

Proof, here is a screenshot I just took of settings


(Valentin Churavy) #13

Sorry for resurrecting this thread, but I just had a user express interest in having this feature for the mailing list mode. Inbox for Google now automatically displays images and tracking via beacon is something Github is doing to minimise noise when you see a notification twice.

Slightly tangential, but having view-actions Go-To Actions  |  Email Markup  |  Google Developers would be nice too.