Notifications Primer

Here is an overview of how notifications work in 2022?

This is a wiki: you’re welcome to contribute to it!


This section should clarify what notifications are, and why we receive them.

What are notifications?

The Discourse New User Tips and Tricks from 2016 introduced Notifications as:

When someone is talking directly to you – by replying to you, quoting your post, mentioning your @username, or even linking to your post, a number will immediately appear over your profile picture at the top right. Select it to access your notifications.

notification in Discourse

Don’t worry about missing a reply – you’ll be emailed any notifications that arrive when you are away.

In 2022, it remains mostly true, except that notification preferences evolved a bit, and this succinct introduction may be missing some context that appeared in the mean time.

When do notifications happen?

Notifications happen in various circumstances:

  • you are mentioned by @name
  • you are following a topic and a new reply comes in
  • one of your groups is mentioned by @group_name and its notification settings are tracking or watching
  • (maybe other cases?)

Email or Web?

By default, you will receive notifications by email if you are not present on the Web interface, which means you have not had an active tab in the last 5 minutes. (To be confirmed…)

Notification Settings

You may choose, from your preferences, a number of notification options:

Please detail what they all mean!

Frequently Answered Questions

What gets into email?

Depending on the site settings (which?), you may receive whole or part notifications (probably needs better wording and details regarding privacy settings on the one hand, and summary emails on the other).

Where to get “unread” with Muted categories by default (to ensure possible discovery of unseen categories)?

This is an original question that the OP would like answered!

Notification Tips

This section should answer advanced topics to make good use of notifications. Possibly linking to other topics. For example:

  • How to mix and match default category notifications and default group notifications? This is an original question that the OP would like answered!

  • What strategies to provide a small, welcoming forum, and enable participants to engage on their own terms given their availability vs. get all and mute as you go. This is an original question that the OP would like answered!

Some of these points overlap but I could not find a summary of the state of the art since the default change to default_categories_muted, and people start complaining they’re missing content too much…


What about turning this post into a Wiki. You can then add/change content for each of your questions you’ve listed.


I wish I could turn the post into a wiki :slight_smile:

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When you click on the ... at the bottom of your first post, does the option to make the post a wiki show? If not, it may be a TL thing.

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We’re on the default ‘TL3 Regular can make wiki posts’ here on Meta, though I have flipped the OP into a wiki now so people can dive in and build a Notification Primer. :+1::slightly_smiling_face:


I bootstrapped the wiki a bit so more knowledgeable others can chime in and eventually turn it into a nice documentation page :slight_smile: