Forcing email context - input requested

I still feel that we should included Never/Auto toggles, I am pretty much confused daily about email flow when I get emails from BBS on mobile. Its just so hard to decipher where the conversation started. Especially if I have more than one response in the stream. We send gigantic emails that requires tons of scrolling to get to next email.

I feel like this is something similar to the “missing giant blue button” on emails that @cwodtke showed us. Nobody complains about it for multiple years but there really is an underlying issue.

My call actually would be to strip context by default, just send one email per post to users, it is simple and more importantly it encourages users to visit the main site to get context thus increasing engagement which is something we are trying to optimise for.

I think it is a better and simpler default, if people want context they opt in via user profile and get what they signed up for.

The “always context” thing is not something I am excited about but we can add the option if people really want it.


Well, simpler is a default I can definitely get behind. Let’s try it and see what happens.

(One of the reasons we did this was because @eviltrout noted that Facebook always sent some context along in the email.)

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I agree … people have a hard time replying and quoting appropriately in a mailing list, too. If people want to be really clear about context, they should use inline quoting. (Just like they should on a mailing list!)


Ok here is what was decided on the team call today. This will be a user pref. Three options:

  1. No context whatsoever, just the post we’re notifying you about.

  2. Minimal context, just the (abbreviated, if need be) post this was in reply to, and even then only if it was an intentional reply to a specific post. :information_source: this will be the default

  3. “Full” context, as we do it now, same exact code paths, up to 5 unread previous replies in reverse chronological sequence.

I suppose we can add this to your plate @zogstrip, no rush, next week or later is fine…


I know I am late to the discussion here guys, but I just (two days ago) received this same request from our client.

They would like the previous posts in a particular topic included in the notifications. I’m not saying I agree, but it’s their community and therefore the request is valid.

So, I am eagerly awaiting the feature and would be happy to help when it comes to testing.


Likewise, I’m unfortunately coming to this a bit later than I intended. Thanks for keeping this idea going though!

I agree with @paully21 - the community I work with who are looking to use Discourse would want to have the option of including previous posts in the notifications. Personally I don’t need this option, but as above, it’s the community that would want it, not me.


This would be useful to keep as well for our community, where we have switched from a setup with force watched categories to mentioning groups to notify people as needed. This works better but sometimes people forget and the ability to write a follow-up post with the appropriate mentions is a bonus since it sends the original post along with it.


OK, this should put this to rest at last



Was this actually implemented as stated?

I did not add post abbreviations, stuff is as it was, except that we now have always and never options.

Well, that is not what was decided. A more minimal default was desired, so perhaps a fourth option should be there “direct reply only” and as the default.

Yeah I can add something like that, it get a bit confusing though cause “Always” ends up being a bit more limited than “direct reply only” It may miss the direct reply.

Direct reply should be the default, what use is echoing last 5 replies when the thing they are replying to was 10 replies upstream? Alternately you could force the reply target to be inserted in addition to “last 5 replies” so it is strictly additive.


This is great, thanks @sam, @codinghorror! I’ll dust off our test instance next week and put it through its paces with our users, see how we get on.


OK! @sam changed this so the new email context default for all Discourse instances is

  • no “extra” reply context will be shown
  • the email will include the post this was in direct reply to, if it was indeed a direct reply (vs. a @name mention or a blockquote)

You can find this setting in your user prefs:

Include previous replies at the bottom of emails – [never]
Include an excerpt of replied to post in emails – [checked]

So if your argument was


There’s too much stuff in the email, which makes it confusing!

This is win-win because

  1. We now include no extra email context by default, so there’s less to be confused by, but

  2. We always include the thing this post was in reply to, if it was a direct reply

Based on the year long discussion here and elsewhere, I strongly feel this is a better default for Discourse.


“Include previous replies at the bottom of emails”

Doesn’t it encourage top-posting?

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Not following can you expand on what you mean here.

If I receive an email with the context at the end of the email, I’m encouraged to top-post. It doesn’t matter on a Web forum, because the email body is “managed” (normally), but encourages bad behavior on mailing-lists.

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You can disable both in reply to and previous posts in user options

Our email trimmer handles quite a few posting styles

Not everybody agrees on the best way to reply to a discussion (top or bottom) And I’m not sure someone will have the final word :slight_smile:

However supporting both, and inline comments is indeed important.