Notifications from muted categories when mailing list mode is enabled

We’re running an instance where all categories are muted and all users in mailing list mode by default.
It happens quite often that users get mails from individual threads in their muted categories. It’s really hard to find any pattern in that behaviour.

It seems to look like that bug Still getting notifications from muted user in mailing list mode - #5 by lkramer but for muted categories.

Is there any (quick) fix for that? We’ve got >1k users and several hundred categories → even a small error rate is quite annoying.

cc @trobiyo

I’m afraid we’re going to need more information. Is this issue really random? Is there no correlation/similitudes at all between those notifications?

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Maybe they have participated i those topics, which trumps the muting? That’s my guess.

If you can’t replicate the problem then it’s not really a bug, or at least not a bug report.

But I thought that Mailing list mode was meant to really email everyone all the time and I’m almost suprised that muting categories or users works. I’d recommend that you instead not use mailing list mode and instead have people who really love email watch the categories they want rather than mute those that they don’t want. But it sounds like it woud be a huge undertaking, so I think it’s too late for this recommendation to be useful. :person_shrugging:

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Since I cannot search for the subject in the Sent Email admin panel it’s hard to trace this unfortunately.

The auto-track is set to never by default and none of the affected users have changed that.

Well… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The only real reason to use mailing list mode is that in this case one gets own messages by mail – this is a very very very frequent request.

Another advantage of muting: it does not clutter the category overview page when there are hundreds of categories (and yes we tried to encourage reducing the number when moving from the previous forum/mailing list)

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Right. Do you have the data explorer plugin installed? If you know SQL that might be one way to quickly dig into these sent emails.

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Right, so I played a bit with the data explorer, but let me first explain how we set up the users/notifications:

  1. First, we mirrored the old mailing list for some time period to accumulate some content in discourse.
    [NB: we did this is a separate dev instance and then copied the posts to the prod instance]
  2. Then we “subscribed” the users based on the old mailing lists → hence they might be subscribed (watching) to some categories automatically based on their previous mail list subscriptions.

So I took a user that never visited the website: e.g. never seen, no posts read etc.
Then I use the plugin “List of topics a user is watching/tracking/muted”.
And I see that at notification level 3 only topics in the categories he was auto-subscribed to - good.
When I check level 1 I see many topics - which is probably also ok since only categories are muted, not topics, i.e. they should be regular = 1. But for some reason the topic_last_visited_at is always present and corresponds to the topic creation date.

Then, there are users which were created as staged users in the prod instance via email in and then activated - but never visited the website. For such users I do not see any topics in notification level 1!

So it seems there might be some mess created for initially staged users.

Question: is there any way to reset the topic notification levels for users?

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Maybe before that: is there any way to view the topic notification levels of a user?
I have not found it in the admin web panel. Is that only accessible at the DB level?