Per-topic planned automatic invitations with user targeting options


(Anton) #1

Have been working very hard on improving engagement in our forum for Ukrainian/Russian goat farmers during last few months. As a result, we see in Google Analytics that the daily session number is growing and has recently doubled twice and went from 100 to 400 sessions per day.

One of the tricks we use that’s working very well I’d love to see implemented as a feature. So far we’ve been doing it all manually.

We have some topics that everyone is welcome to write in, e.g. “How I became a goat farmer”, “A few words about me” (a say-hello topic), as well as some polls.

Sometimes such topics don’t get any interest for a long time and get lost in the topic lists… So, what I do then is manually invite people randomly to participate in the topic. It turns out that such invitations lead to the snowball effect: the topic pops up and others start to answer in the topic.

Based on this experience, I’d like to propose the following feature.

Let us (admins and/or mods) setup auto-invitation rules for each topic individually.

  • An invitation rule would be a set of conditions that are checked regularly on every user and, if met, an invitation is sent to that user to participate in the topic.

  • An invitation limit per-user is “once only” by default, but could be set to one of the following options:

    • once only
    • unlimited, but not more often than once every N days
    • no more than X invitations, but not more often than once every N days

I noticed that some users skip invitations (actually, miss them) when they are subscribed to many topics / categories (means they have too many notifications everyday); so, repeating the same invitation eventually worked after the first one(s) had been skipped. That’s why I suppose this is a good reason to allow invitations to be repeated, with some minimal configuration as proposed in the list above.

  • Customize invitation text with a few macros available: {username}, {name}, {topic_title}, {topic_creation_date}

Customizing invitation text per-topic is an advanced feature, so probably it should be hidden till the “customize invitation text” checkbox is ticked.

  • Allow to target users of a specific group only, or specific user level(s), or those who have at least one of their topics created in a particular category. For the latter, a good example would be inviting goat farmers to a particular topic where some level of expertise is needed (not just those who love goats and buy goat milk). Knowing a user has their own topic in the “farmers personal pages” is a sign they’re a goat farmer and have such expertise.

  • Per-topic invitation rules are to be set in a popup that can be opened by clicking on a new menu item available under the topic wrench menu:

  • Admin should be able to configure whether mods have access to this feature

  • An icon should be displayed in the topic lists signalling the topic has automatic invitations ON; visible only to those who have permission to configure automatic invitations.


I believe people would find a lot of applications for this feature once it’s introduced, even those who haven’t thought about it before. It would save admins/mods some time (set a rule and forget about it), as well as add more engagement possibilities.