Limit volume of forum emails via admin

We have a private forum (hosted on Digital Ocean) of about 950 members.

Normally, we send around 75k to 90k emails a month (we use SendGrid as an email relay host and are pretty happy with them).

This month, because of community growth and helping members deal with COVID-19 issues, posts have soared from about 100/week to well over 350/week so we’re over 250k emails so far this month. This is good news because many of our members are finding our community a useful resource in this time.

We’ve turned off mailing list mode by default but some members (at least until this month :smiley:) prefer to participate this way and have selected that as a way to participate. I’m reluctant to go in and manually change members’ preferences as the member technical experience level varies greatly across the community.

The increase in posting our SendGrid charges to go from about $30/month to over $120/month. While we can afford this for a little while, we need to come up with a short term and longer term way of dealing with this - user education is difficult in this community for a lot of reasons.

So, some questions:

  1. Is there a way to dial back the frequency that emails are sent? (thought being that, when scanning for new posts, if multiple replies/posts have been made on a single topic within the scan interval, one email would be sent - is that true?)
  2. We have the data explorer plugin installed. Has anyone set up query to:
    • find, by user, who is getting how many emails?
    • find users who have selected mailing list mode?
    • turn off, for a set of users, mailing list mode?
    • turn on a digest mode?
  3. What else might we do to limit emails (especially for seemingly inactive or less active members)?

Thanks for your help! (and some GREAT software…)


You can lower the “max emails per day per user” setting, but if people are expecting an email for every post this could get confusing for them.

It would be worth considering changing email services. AWS SES is only $1 for 10K emails.


One solution would be to turn off mailing list mode for all users and enable summary emails.

Those who really want mailing list mode would have to turn it back on. I imagine that most users aren’t opening them.


Yeah, “mailing list mode” is also “maximum pain mode”… there’s no real easy workaround here.


Is there an existing tool or script or Data Explorer query that could help do this?

There are some examples at Administrative Bulk Operations

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