How can I beef up Discourse notifications?

I’ve started an online community with Discourse & the main feedback I’m getting is around the notifications.

  • People don’t like the email notifications (too slow) - or miss them because they get blocked etc.
  • People like push notifications to their phones/ devices. Even for new posts.

Here’s some (excellent) user feedback which sums up a lot of what I’m hearing:

For me it’s a lack of something visual when I pick up my phone. Not an alert as such but an icon that has an alert next to it that something has happened on [Discourse] that I should go look at. My brain has become very dependant on cues like this - there are so many things screaming for my online attention that at a primal level it’s the squeaky wheel that gets oiled. FB, Insta, Messenger - even if that thing is rubbish it draws me in and I spend 10mins there.

The irony is one of the reasons I went for Discourse was to get away from the barrage of notifications from the likes of Facebook or Twitter. But it looks like we’ve programmed our brains to only respond to alerts/ notifications.

So I’m trying to work out how to meet my user’s requirements for more push(y) notifications. From what I can tell Discourse has the following notification systems:

This is a good start but I need something super simple - especially for iOS users.

I’d also like to add a daily or twice daily notification for the latest posts - if possible.

My questions:

  1. What is the easiest way to deliver push notifications to all mobile users (Android & iOS)? My audience generally aren’t technical so anything beyond “click the thing” is probably going to fail.

  2. Is there an existing plugin for push notifications of latest/ new posts?

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Android push notifications is an open standard and something that works out of the box, just add your site to the home screen and notifications will happen.

Apple push notifications is proprietary and requires publishing an app. All our customers get push notifications on the app and use our push notification gateway.

You can already install the Discourse Hub on both Apple and Android and it will work with your site, but push notification volume will be low on the app unless we host you.

Push notification on every new topic would require users watch every category or watch all new posts on every category. You can set that as a default.

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Hi @sam - thank you for your response.

I installed Discourse Hub (for Android) yesterday & have yet to see a single push notification from it. When you say the “push notification volume will be low” does that mean once a day, once every few days, or non-existent?

For anyone who stumbles across this thread looking for notifications options:

There is also a Chrome extension: Discourse Forum Notifications - Chrome Web Store

Discourse will already receive notifications via chrome naively.

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@sam - just as a follow-up. Is it possible to retro-actively apply default categories watching first post to all users?

There should be a topic on meta explaining how to do this via the console, do a careful search.

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Thank you @sam. I found the information I was after here:

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