Notify on every like should be the default

I recently, and by recently mean yesterday… added a site setting for notifying more aggressively on likes:

Notify when liked:

  • Always
  • First time a post is liked and daily
  • First time a post is liked

With this change I deployed a new global default of Notify when liked: first time a post is liked and daily, this means that from now on, people will get notified on repeat likes if there is a day gap or more between subsequent likes on a post.

This protects users from a “swarm” of likes forcing a flood in notifications.

Having lived with notify always for almost a whole … day… I think we are being a bit more conservative here than what we should be, and would recommend changing this setting to “Always” for quite a few reasons:

  1. Most users are lucky to have a handful of likes a day, if at all.

  2. It is a far better default for small communities or communities that are starting out.

  3. The longer we wait to change the default the more painful it becomes to change. Cause we end up overwriting settings a user may have opted in to.

  4. “First time a post is liked and daily” is arguably optimal for the most active of forum users, these are the types of users that muck with settings. We punish the general user base with a default that is best for the top percentage of users.

  5. More aggressive like notifications unlock a new dimension of interaction

    a. Oh … 3 people just liked the post I just made, better go back and refine it.

  6. The UI can (and will) be further optimised to collapse like notifications on the same post, this is not blocking.

  7. This makes Discourse feel more “interactive”

Overall I would prefer just to go with the more aggressive default, and tweak the UI so it deals with storms better, at any point in time people can opt off the train if needed. The ones that need to opt off the train can easily do so.

I resisted this change for years, and in retrospect this was a mistake, I was trying to protect myself by punishing the vast majority of users.

Also missing an option, notify me of every like and notify me twice when @zogstrip likes me :slight_smile:


I agree with this – the interactivity, and knowing that you’re being watched/read, even if the reaction is “I agree/like/heart this post” reaction (through a like) gives a great sense of community. It makes sense as a default.

Bonus, the more ways I can get community feedback, the less I miss seeing who’s online – a feature I recall you guys are implementing pretty close to “never” :wink:

Looking forward to it, thanks Sam!


It … is now … you can change the default for your community today via site settings, any one can override.

Posted on BBS as well… one of the more active communities (and full of love communities) we have

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I agree. As soon as the UI can wrap up multiple like notifications cleanly, I am in 100% favor of making “Always” the default.


@sam, to clarify the default setting, if I make a post at 12 PM (for example), and an user likes it at 12:01 PM, I will get a notification. If another user likes it at 12:05 PM, I don’t get a notification. Let’s say that my post gets 1 like ever ~1 hour after that. Will I never see another notification as there was never a 1-day gap, or will I see a notification for the first like received after 12:01 PM the following day?

Shoulda clarified, the next time I pull the latest beta/upgrade. I lurk here to steal your features.

dropping this data here since it’s somewhat relevant:

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Wow a whole DAY! Impressive!

How about we think about it a bit longer than that? Because the new default is already going to notify more, in a positive way, by letting you know when your old posts are getting the occasional like. This is unambiguously a good thing, an important reminder that new posts aren’t the only valuable thing in a discussion.

I just don’t support moving the needle that far in a single release. We need more sites to get this change and see what happens. A lot more. This is something I’d like to see the effects of over at least two months on multiple different communities.


@sam, I am looking to announce this feature over on Stonehearth as I feel this feature will be well liked by our community, but I would like to get my question above clarified before making the post:

I understand the reluctance, but I think I should expand on the problem of changing defaults.

As it stands there is no clean way of changing user defaults, this is across the board and essentially not something we can solve.

Say we decide to change “notify on first like and daily” to “always”. New accounts are easy, they will get the new default.

But what about all the existing users?

If we change the setting on existing accounts from “notify on first like and daily” to “always” well, some of these users already explicitly saw the setting on the screen in prefs and clicked save, so we would be overriding something the user already may have decided they wanted. It’s the lesser of two evils, but still a potentially disruptive change to some users.

Also, I strongly believe this is the “mega active users of the forum” laying down a default that is ok for them for 99% of population that do not care for it.

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Daily == 24 hours since last time the post was liked.

Which brings up another problem, explaining this setting is a nightmare


That is true, and that time frame means that this default setting might not work so well on international sites. On Stonehearth, for example, we have users all over the world. I know that we have users spread across the US and Canada (so there’s 4-5 timezones), Europe (4-5 more timezones), and China/Japan (2 more timezones), and likely more that I don’t know off the top of my head. If people log on and like a post in “their morning”, a post might receive many, many likes and I will not be notified as they were spread out over a period of time. Could this default function more like the digest email? Notify me every 24 hours that a post received X more likes if the likes happen over a long (but less than 24 hours) period of time?

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Is it safe to assume there’s no way to roll-up multiple likes on a post into a single notification, like Facebook does, and like is currently done here with “N replies”?


I am going to do a rollup thing over the next couple of days. Details are brewing in my head, got it mostly imagineered in my mind already.

(also got to fix the bug where some repeat like notifications are not clearing properly)


Utterly irrelevant, it’s 24 hours from the last like. Has zero to do with timezones.

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I disagree. If the users are all in one timezone, there is a higher likelihood of a quiet period on the site (when everyone is sleeping), and thus a higher likelihood that a “newer” post will have a longer gap between likes. With different time zones there is more likely to be someone online at all times, and thus more likely for a “newer” post to be liked more frequently (shorter gap).

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That still has nothing to do with “the difficulty of explaining timezones to people”. People understand what “the next 24 hours” means regardless of what timezone they are in.

Like if I told you “hey there’s a meeting 2 hours from right now”. That’s +2 hours from wherever you are in the world, no matter where on the earth you happen to be.

However, if I said “there is a meeting at 6pm”, that’s ambiguous. Whose 6pm?

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I never said that explaining this feature would be hard because of timezones - though I can see where the confusion might be based on the text I quoted. I specifically said “This is true”, in reference to the quote, and said “and …” to continue onto another thought. That thought was that 24 hours between likes is less likely to occur when users are in different timezones.

Sorry for the confusion. Yes, “the next 24 hours” is clear regardless of what time zone you are in. As is “+2 hours”. My concern is how likely a 24 gap between likes is to occur when users are frequenting a site at all different hours, instead of having a period of down-time due to “sleep”.

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Hmm, so not 24 hours since you were last notified? :confused:


Let me explain the rule and why the text is so confusing.

“First time a post is liked and daily” == Notify on first time a post is liked, then notify again if there is a 24 hour gap since the last time we notified you on a like and the same post is liked by someone else.

  • It does not mean notify at the beginning of your calendar day
  • It does not mean repeat notifications for stuff that already got notified
  • It does not mean that all your like notifications become daily
  • It does not mean you get a daily digest of all the likes that you missed out on

It is hard to explain succinctly cause it is complicated. “Always” on the other hand is trivial to explain :slight_smile: