How do I set category tracking level defaults historically

Yesterday I discovered where our email volume of 100K+/mo was coming from… All new users were getting set as subscribed to our “General karting” category…

So I need to correct that…

I need some help with the syntax of part 1 in the OP. Bare with me here… I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing wrong…

I tried both " and ’ for quotations, but otherwise, I’m not sure what I need to correct in my syntax

[1] pry(main)> % Category.find_by(name: "General Karting").id
SyntaxError: unexpected ')', expecting end-of-input
...ind_by(name: "General Karting").id

… ^

[1] pry(main)> % Category.find_by(name: 'General Karting').id
SyntaxError: unexpected ')', expecting end-of-input
...ind_by(name: 'General Karting').id
...                              ^

It looks like you’re typing %? Don’t :wink:. That’s just supposed to be an indication that you’re in the rails console instead of the docker container. I’ll edit the OP to be clearer.

Edit: OP edited.


Thanks. Rookie error on my part :smiley:

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No worries at all. We all start from the beginning at some point.

Is the guide clearer now?

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Oh it makes total sense. Thanks


Actually… I’m stuck on the query. I need to update category ID 1 to notification level of regular (1).
From rails… I’m typing

User.exec_sql("INSERT INTO category_users(category_id, user_id, notification_level) SELECT 1,, 1 FROM users u LEFT JOIN category_users cu ON cu.category_id = 1 AND cu.user_id = WHERE cu.user_id IS NULL;")

I get response

<PG::Result:0x000055fadb534428 status=PGRES_COMMAND_OK ntuples=0 nfields=0 cmd_tuples=0>

Via the GUI/forums, it looks like it hasn’t changed.

Going to call in an assist here from @sam, PostgreSQL isn’t my area of expertise.

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Circling back to see if anyone has ideas on where I’m going wrong with my sql query?

The query you tried will only update the tracking level IF the user isn’t already tracking/watching/muting a category. It sounds like you want to remove any users that are watching a category.

If that’s correct, try running this on the rails console. It will find all users that are ‘watching’ the category with id=5, and set them to “regular”:

CategoryUser.where(notification_level: CategoryUser.notification_levels[:watching], category_id: 5).update_all(notification_level: CategoryUser.notification_levels[:regular])

:warning: As always, make sure to take a backup before running anything on the console - the smallest typo can have massive consequences!


Thanks David. I must have misunderstood the purpose of the query. I thought it was to update (ie lower the subscription level) for all users UNLESS they explicitly set it themselves vs it being assigned via the setting in admin panel.


The more precise definition here is “for all users UNLESS it has already been set”. We don’t have any way of knowing whether a user set it themselves, or it was automatically set by the admin panel default.


That makes sense because when I (thought I) saw that, I thought “well that’s impressive that we have that granularity”

Not to be a pest, but I’m still struggling with this, getting a syntax error when I run this query…

[4] pry(main)> User.exec_sql("INSERT INTO CategoryUser.where(notification_level: CategoryUser.notification_levels[:watching], category_id: 1).update_all(notification_level: CategoryUser.notification_levels[:regular];")

PG::SyntaxError: ERROR:  syntax error at or near ":"
LINE 1: INSERT INTO CategoryUser.where(notification_level: CategoryU...

Any ideas on what I’m overlooking?

Sorry, I should have been clearer there. The command I shared does not need to be run inside “exec_sql”. It can just be run directly on the rails console.


Sorry to spam the topic with this more rudimentary stuff. I’m still having difficulties

From the rails console (at least I think it is)

/var/discourse# ./launcher rails c
/var/discourse# CategoryUser.where(notification_level: CategoryUser.notification_levels[:watching], category_id: 1).update_all(notification_level: CategoryUser.notification_levels[:regular])

bash: syntax error near unexpected token `notification_level:’

You are missing a:

rails c before running the command. You want to be in Ruby not in Bash.


You need to run that inside the container.

./launcher enter app

Before the rails command


Thanks Jay. Yeah I figured that out while I was working on it today. The trigger being when I was prompted to install rails :joy:

I got this to work today, checked a few accounts via impersonate and it looks like we’ll no longer be spamming our members with 100emails a day (nor paying to send them)

Thanks all



I guess it will take some time to complete, right?
Because the command output was inmediate, with this result:
#<PG::Result:0x000055e37f159100 status=PGRES_COMMAND_OK ntuples=0 nfields=0 cmd_tuples=8428>
How long could it take to complete? Because I checked an user profile and it is still watching that category

It should be nearly instant. That output shows that 8,428 records were changed. I assume that’s the user count on your forum? I’d double check that you set the correct category ID and notification level ID.