Is it smart to disable email system?

Continuing the discussion from Is it possible to disable the email system?:

As linked topic tells it is technically possible, and relatively easy to disable outgoing emails.

For me emails is not any bigger issue — not as a receiver/user because I know how to limit notifications, and not as an admin, because emailing doesn’t practically cost nothing for me.

But we all get too many emails. I reckon we all agree that. So perhaps lowering that amount everywhere where it is possible could be a smart move.

But what are real and perhaps-threat-level pros and cons if an admin stops sending emails from (and to too) forum. Sure, using emails as one channel doing discussion is obvious one, but is that a pro or con depends of course. But other consequences, UX/UI-crimes etc?

Is here someone who is not using email?

(I’m using general because I couldn’t choose better, but perhaps this topic could fit in community )

P.S. I really like auto-hashtag-completion or what ever its name is

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I’m on quite a busy site that doesn’t have email enabled, and all notifications are handled ‘on-site’. I think as long as you have a method to sign up and activate user accounts (and handle password resets) it’s all good.

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That is the biggest practical questionmark — is Google, Microsoft and (very unliable) Facebook enough. My users don’t use GitHub (perhaps few and we/them can use other options too) and other SSOs like Twitter, LinkedIn etc are pure marginal stuff.

If I simplifier that: are Gmail, Hotmail and Facebook enough to cover all users and am I willing to take risk loose those users who don’t want sign in using sosial media type credentials.

Am I totally wrong?

And rest is more or less:

  • is out there users who wants to get digests etc versus users who don’t know how to stop emails using settings
  • is there someone who wants participate only or most of time via email

Basically those are all aspects? Plus I wouldn’t get administrative emails, but that is not an issue.

It’s very easy to stop emails. There is a link in every message sent out. I think it’s a mistake to disable email unless you know that your community is full of people (other than you) who really hate email.


Unsubscribe is one option. This must be one of many cultural differences but here up Northern Europe, but this seems to be quite common way in Europe, at continental anyway, unsubscribe-links are rarely used. It’s easier mark emails as spam.

I blaim companies, but lets not take that road now :wink:

I asked from my users and actually no one (in the meaning: who answered, of course) wanted emails just because of topic activity.

I dig a bit logs and accounts. It looks like when an user falls among digestive email receivers that user is a lost case and never come back. That can, and do I believe, mean I have annoyed people with too many emails and after some time they just marked my forum as a spam.

I can be very wrong and just doing hasty conclusions… but I don’t think so. I kind of know my audience and on general level how SoMe-background people have tendecy to act.

If someone now ask why the heck I didn’t adjust settings of my forum, because that’s why those are there, and I just used defaults (sorry guys, defaults are for american tech-savvy users; I know why it so and I’m not whining :wink: ), is askind very good question indeed. Perhaps I’m lazy. Or just dumb.

Shutting down emails totally is quite bad idea. It can be done of course and I tried it very short time. And I got a reminder very fast. One user wanted sign up, couldn’t do it and because she was one of my (really, is there some synonyms to use because I really dislike my) active ones from Facebook group she sended PM there. She did not wanted use SSOs like Google, Microsoft and Facebook because she didn’t trust on those — and that is really common way to think here and that’s why SSO is not always the best option.

So I turned emails on again and returned plain username/password login.

And at this point I did what I should do at first point and what I’m whining about all the time: let users make decision. Yes, I’m quite stupid every now and then.

So I turned off all email notification settings as widely I could. And next I have to take totally different approaching to task how do we educate an user.

I tried to teach them use settings where they can reduce amount of emails. That was bad direction. I basically said to users that I’ll annoy you purposely and if you don’t like it you have to act. BTW — that is the reason why emails must be opt-in here in Europe, not opt-out as in so many cases in USA.

Now I do totally opposite thing. I tell them if you are motivated enough and really want these emails you have to this (but I remaind you couple times that we are here’).

So — my topic is totally wrong .Something like that is really common when there is an issue one can’t solve out and still trying to figure out something. Next thing is asking how do I do this trick instead of I have this issue, do you have any ideas.

But… one reason to start this topic wasn’t actually my needs. Sure, I had some headache attacks because of amount of emails, but I had some feelings the linked topic started without thinking why, but moved rightaway to how. As really many topics here.

I should ask at community how do you guys live with spam fear or do just have enough users, returning and new ones, and you just don’t need to care — or is your audience such target grous they are still using email and they can live with excessive amount of electronic mail :wink:

(All typos and grammatical errors are mine and mine only)

Right! So what’s worse? Sending email or telling an evil corporation what web sites you’re using?

Figuring out the balance between convenience of getting notifications that you want and annoyance is tricky. I think that if you disable summary emails the other defaults are pretty reasonable, as they send a notification only when someone has replied to someone or directly mentioned them. There are many options, though, so it can be difficult to figure that out.

People that I work with seem to err on the other side and make a bunch of categories set to send notifications for every post.

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Notifications drive engagement.

That’s the main reason why there are so many apps on the phone app stores.

Imho the biggest risk is your users go do something else with their time possibly by paying more attention to someone else’s notifications! :sweat_smile:

(Btw interesting side note: the way I all but stopped using and ended reliance on WhatsApp and moved to Signal for 99.9% of personal messaging was simply by turning off notifications for WhatsApp. I didn’t even need to uninstall it)


And at same time same users are using browsers by Google or Microsoft, or mobiles made by China, or Apple. Plus accepting all possible cookies and clicking every link they can find.

But people aren’t acting logically, mostly because they just don’t know enough. But login modal is wrong place to start teach them.

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What about the (few) people which know about it and aren’t using closed software/products from Google, Microsoft, Apple & Co? And how could it be the wrong place, if people ask for it?

The nothing (more) to hide argument is weak as ever.

I don’t totally follow now so I’m answering:

There’s a fine line between ridiculous paranoia and sensible caution


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I’ll offer a third option between “leave email enabled” and “disable email”: modify site settings so the default is to not send emails. Go to /admin/site_settings/category/user_preferences and check out the email related default user preferences. Tweaking a few of them like default email digest frequency, default email level, and default email messages level should cause your site to send out minimal emails, unless a user makes a conscious effort to increase their email volume by modifying their preferences.