Improvements to digest emails for updating infrequent visitors


I’d like to request a more refined algorithm for updating and pulling users back to the site for conversations.

What I’d like to see is a customizable algorithm for how the software manages updates emailed to visitors of the forums. Specifically I’m thinking something that includes factors like:

  1. An aging timer that automatically sends email updates to users on the conversations on the site (with a weighted bias towards the forum/category that the person spends the most time reading). My thinking here is that you don’t just want a dumb email system that sends people a standard email out to everyone who hasn’t logged in during the past week. What you really want is something that sends an email out after one week of the 20 most liked (hearted) topics from the most Liked users that week - 80% of which are the topic from the category that the person visits most. Then because you don’t spam the users - if the user doesn’t log in again the next week - you wait an additional week, , etc. - so that the time interval increases as the user decreases their login frequency - so you don’t have the likelihood that you’re pissing someone off by spamming them too much.

  2. It would be nice if the email updates that go out were easily customizable by non-CSS/hmtl handcoding so that we could easily include things like a “forward to friend”, or other approaches that encourage word of mouth email sharing of the Discourse email updates.

See this recent study that touches on this topic:

“Generally speaking, Ribeiro found that word-of-mouth growth is much better for a site’s long-term sustainability and that sites that frequently update members on new happenings also see more long-term engagement.”


Agreed, it’s going to tie closely into /top very soon. So you should look closely at that. Logic is the same.

That’s also a good idea. The longer someone is gone, the less often you mail them, eventually bottoming out at what… once a year?

Agreed, we should provide more areas for content in these emails. You might also want the standard forum “intro” in there reminding them “what the hell is that place again?”

1 Like

I think once a quarter (every 3 or 4 months) would be probably the outside bounds of frequency of emails. This would work for my purposes anyway.