Option to always receive Activity Summaries even when you've been on the forum

I’d like to see an option in the preferences to “always send digests” at the desired frequency no matter what, even if the user has been on the forum recently. I’ve been seeing what is sent to others from my discourse on mandrill and am feeling jealous! Even if I’ve been visiting it does not mean I am up to date on all the discussions, and I am sometimes sloppy about wrapping up loose ends, so I’d like to get the newsletter anyway.


What happened to this option? I was just asked about precisely this issue by someone in my community and now see that the settings available changed at some point.

We are in the process of trying to identify the “ideal settings” for email notifications for our community which we migrated to discourse from google groups. We are trying to encourage people to participate online but because we are a global network with people in “internet-remote” places, email remains key, and digests seem to be the only way to ensure people are informed of all the latest activity.

Here’s the request I got which is pretty concise. Any advice much appreciated.

@tobiaseigen what if I want to get emails of every new post, but only in certain categories? I can’t seem to find how to do that. The only way I see is to receive email for every new post, and mute the categories I don’t want every email for. But then, those muted categories don’t show up in the new or unread columns when I log into the website.

I’d ideally like my workflow to be as follows:

  1. get emails for everything that goes out to all staff and to leadership categories.
  2. for all other categories, I want to go to the website and check my “unread” and “new” tabs.

Finally, I tried to sign up for email digests but have been disappointed that I’m not getting any, presumably because I visit the forum. I still want the digests for my records, so I at least know there is one place where I can look back for stuff I know I’ve seen. Just because I drop by the site does not mean I’m reading everything thoroughly, and getting a digest gives me a second chance to catch up. (For this reason, I prefer not to suppress emails while on the site – although I know marena loves and uses that feature!) I vote for receiving digests regardless of appearances on the forum. But I also acknowledge that it may be a quirky personal preference, so we should go with what works for most people.

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The option is still there for notifications, but the digest in particular won’t mail you unless you have been inactive.

Thanks, @codinghorror - appreciate the explanation. Is there a way to bring this back? Perhaps with an admin selectable option for those sites that still want to offer the option to get digests even when you’ve been active?

Bring what back? It never existed.

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I did some research on this last week and forgot to reply. It appears that yes, you are right, that it was never possible to get digests even when active on the site. With best of intentions, @BhaelOchon sent me on a wild goose chase. :wink:

What would it take to add a feature to allow digest delivery for active users? My globally dispersed, email centric community is feeling the weight of information overload. People are tuning out discourse and are ignoring the important notifications about topics they are mentioned in or involved in. When they do log in they ignore the notifications bubble and feel lost. This despite repeated reminders directly and through documentation on the forum.

Providing an email digest of latest activity would go a long way to coaxing these people into our new, discourse way of doing things. As my colleague wrote, she needs a reminder email and a “second chance” to catch up on discussions:

Finally, I tried to sign up for email digests but have been disappointed that I’m not getting any, presumably because I visit the forum. I still want the digests for my records, so I at least know there is one place where I can look back for stuff I know I’ve seen. Just because I drop by the site does not mean I’m reading everything thoroughly, and getting a digest gives me a second chance to catch up.


@codinghorror Is there a way to get this feature. Essentially we want to disable per topic notification and enable an uniform weekly digest for all community members even when they are active in the forum. This has been requested many times.

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@codinghorror has made it pretty clear he’s not interested in sending digests to people who log in, and it never worked that way.

So I suspect this is plugin territory.

The workaround is for admins to send out weekly digests to everyone manually - the digest preview is pretty amazing for making this quick and easy to do. Adding a group/username filter to the preview to see what real world users actually would see if they got the digest would make this incredible feature even more useful!


Can you elaborate on this please?

just go to the digest preview on the admin, select range, copy-paste into mailchimp, tweak, send.


Thanks, I was afraid that was the answer.

it sounds like this must be obvious but i’m afraid I can’t find this. any more clues?

EDIT - Ahhh. Cleverly hiding in plain sight! :grin:


Hello everyone, I know it’s an old topic, but I reallly would love to have this feature for my community. Is there a plugin or setting to always sending digest even when the user have been ont th forum?
Doing it manuelly wont be as acurete as the automatic digest, because it wont send the actual notifications or not read topics for everyone.
Or I fund a solution, every saturday morning, setting it to sending digest every 30 min, but doesn’t seems to work.


You’d need a plugin that overrides the time of last visit (or something like that, I’d have to look at the code).


I miss this feature too. I think it is based on a wrong assumption: a user that visits the forum once already knows what happened on the forum in the past 7 days, and that’s why they don’t need a weekly summary.

On the other hand, the automatic and personalized composition is so good (and without needing AI resources) that it’s a pity that the occasional and regular users are not receiving it. Unless you are among the 5% of users that follow pretty much everything, the weekly summary will be still relevant to you. And if you think it’s not, you can tweak your preferences to taste.

As an admin, I’m convinced my users would know better what is going on in our forum, and would check more content fresh and interesting that they would like and reply more, which in turn would result in better curated content in our main page, which uses Hot by default. Think of it, Hot main page + Weekly Digest are made for each other.

As a user, true story: I used to be very active in another forum but time is limited so I decided to let it go. Now I find myself NOT visiting the forum for just a casual check, so that I will get the digest and concentrate my browsing and participation in a weekly session. Crazy, I know, but the digest has the time to curate cool & new, and I don’t.


This feature request is 10 years old, and I wonder whether the only reason why it hasn’t been implemented is just low priority or whether there is something else that prevents from implementing it. I mean technical factors that we have missed in this discussion.

If there are no blockers… is the Discourse team planning to implement this feature? If not, would you be interested in a pull request?

Depending on your answers, I might find a developer and the funds to implement it, if it’s not too expensive.

Wow, I started this topic 10 years ago, almost to the day! :exploding_head:

My personal feelings about this idea have not changed. If it existed, I would enable it by default for all users on two private sites I manage. What I do on those sites for myself is create a second account that I use to just receive email summaries.

I agree the weekly summaries are :chefs_kiss: gorgeous and do a great job summarizing what’s been happening, all in a nicely curated package. They likely would help to draw members into more discussions by letting them know what’s going on across the site. They also would make participating in a given forum a bit easier, because members would not have to watch quite so many categories and topics - they wouldn’t miss anything. Also, site owners could rely on these email summaries to reach all members with announcements and so wouldn’t have to set up announcements categories that every member is watching by default.

(Do note that since 2014, the concept of “email digest” has evolved into “email summary”. I don’t know exactly how it’s put together, but the email summary is not comprehensive and just shows a selection of activity.)

I don’t actually know why @codinghorror was against adding this as a user preference - he never gave any reasons why back then. My suspicion is that we want to encourage people to come participate on the forum rather than sitting back and waiting for email summaries to show up in their inboxes for them to read. There may also be some technical/performance reasons. Email summaries are personalized to the member which takes server resources, and sending them out might inundate servers delivering transactional email.

There has also been quite a culture shift in the last ten years. Many people don’t even use email anymore!

There’s a related topic Set "default email digest frequency" to 3-4 days about changing the duration of the email summary to 3 or 4 days, and also being able to set the days when they are sent. I suspect that change (in addition to sending to everyone) could really go far to increase participation because suddenly you’d see alot of people logging in at the same time!

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But the digest is based on when you last logged, so wouldn’t a digest be empty for people who’d visited?

If you get a weekly email summary and never log in, you will get a summary of activity since the previous email summary you received a week earlier. This is pretty much what we’re suggesting be sent to people who have been logging in.

So you’d need to generate the summary as if they hadn’t logged in at all, so the summary would ignore what they’ve seen?

Without looking, I guess a plugin could generate the summary and before it called whatever generates the summary, set the last_login date to now - 8 days, or something like that.

Given that it’s been 10 years, I’m guessing this isn’t going to be a feature any time soon, but I think it should be possible in a plugin (and then I guess you’d want a per-user setting to enable it).