Please restore email digests

Presumably they do route them to a folder.

I’m guessing that many of my users have their own private copy of every digest since 1993, just in case the internet breaks. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them have printed them out and have a wall of binders, in case the internet AND their computer break.

But the difference between a mail containing everything in the last 24 hours, and an individual mail for each individual thing that happened in the last 24 hours is significant if you count it in terms of mouse clicks to view (and multiply the count of mouse clicks by at least 4 if you need to print them all out!).

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Isn’t that a feature request for email clients, not a feature request for discourse? :wink:

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Wait @neil needs to confirm but I am pretty sure daily digest will add weight for watched content and that you can set it to email daily, unconditionally (as long as content exists)

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Until the changes many of our users were following via “mailing list” mode. (my howto is here)

From their viewpoint we dropped a feature that they were using.

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I think it is more advantageous to keep improving summary digests as those are sent out everywhere and benefit everyone versus the teeny tiny minority of people who want this other obscure feature. cc @neil

Plus there is mailing list mode, for getting emailed every single post (except in categories or topics you have muted)


Maybe we should start with making sure this is true?

I’m pretty sure this isn’t true yet:

Both having been seen recently and having been emailed recently can suppress a digest. I suggest fixing both:

  • Receiving a normal notification should not block the digest from being sent. This would require introducing an additional column that stores when the last digest was sent.
  • There should be a way for a user to ask for digests even if they have been online. This could either use the site setting Send me email notifications even when I am active on the site or be a new one.

It is absolutely true… very teeny tiny minority of people ever used it.

Sorry, I was being unclear. I wanted to agree with

and suggest doing so by making sure

is actually true :slight_smile:


The 70+ members of my very teeny tiny minority are currently subscribed to a daily digest expect it to be there. This is a primary reason we opted for Discourse and is a deal-killer for my organization.

If the summary function can be modified to allow users to select watched topics, that would do the job, or or a daily digest for mailing list mode. Restrictions on digest message size - or sending sans photos - would be fine.

Otherwise, a terrific package!


The goal of the summary email is very different than the mailing list mode digest. It shows you content that you haven’t seen, but mailing list people want all content to be emailed to them. Summary emails are trying to get people to come back to the site, but mailing list people don’t want to visit the site.

Which fits the goals of bringing people back to the site. Most importantly, summary emails filter posts for quality (most likes, views, etc.), so even if you got them while on the site and right after getting another email, you won’t see posts by new users with 0 likes (for example).

Watched and tracked content is already prioritized for the summary emails.


I didn’t understand that a goal of the summary is to bring users to the site. So modifying the summary to include all posts in all watched topics is probably off the table. Apologies, but I am fairly new here.

My users need a daily digest of either (a) all topics for categories they are authorized to see or (b) all topics/categories they are watching/tracking. Content filtered based on likes, views, etc. is not sufficient. They need all posts. It doesn’t have to include attachments, but if not, there must be link to the topic.

Why does straight mailing list mode + gmail rule fail them ?

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I think this is a really great discussion and I love it when you can see how we are collectively figuring out what the different needs of different types of users are and how to meet them.

As I see things at this point (and I have no stakes in any of the discussed features), the big question is whether it is better to make summary emails extremely customizable for the individual user so that it can be used in a very similar way as the daily digest, or to bring back/introduce digest emails in addition to summary emails.

On the surface, it seems like option 1 is the more elegant one, apparently keeping things simple and avoiding confusion between two similar looking email functions.

But I think that if the summary emails get a lot of additional options, this will probably be more confusing for users that having an additional email mode that is hidden somewhere further down in the user preferences. And, as has been pointed out, since the summary emails and the daily digest have quite distinct purposes, it’s probably better to keep them apart.

Also, thinking of the feature requests (plans?) for a [category based mailing list mode]
(Apply "mailing list mode" per category), it probably makes sense to see daily digests as a variation of mailinglist mode.


I think this is a good summary.

As far as I can see there is no option for this.

A valid question. With a rule you still have all of the individual emails coming in. My user demographic is 60+ and most are doing well to get signed in to their email or bookmark a web site. Setting up rules is truly beyond some of them. They will scream bloody murder if they suddenly start getting 30+ emails in their inbox every day, filtered or not.

Good question, since setting up rules in Gmail is really simple. But I still know enough people who are not even aware of the possibility or if they have a faint idea that something like this might be possible, probably wouldn’t be able to do it nonetheless.

But Gmail is only one email provider/client. At work we have an Exchange Server and Outlook and I have given up trying to configure rules there because they just don’t work most of the time (my solution is popfile). If the same is true on outlook.con accounts, then you have quite a number of people without email rules.

So my users don’t see this in their inbox:

Not following, they don’t the emails would skip the inbox

For myself, personally, I’ve never seen the value of digests. They make it hard to read only those messages which are actually interesting (based on subject line) and they’re murder to try and reply to without making a complete dog’s breakfast of the whole operation (everyone who’s seen a new thread on a mailing list with the subject Re: <foo> digest, 1997-01-02 knows what I mean).

That being said, digest subscriptions have always made up a perplexingly large proportion of subscribers on any non-trivial mailing list I’ve had admin on, so if Discourse wants to have a really solid “mailman replacement” story, they are, sadly, something that’s going to have to be implemented.

As I understand it, the main blocker to daily digests is performance – busy topics/categories create many posts, which equals large e-mails, and huge strings, and performance sadness. The way that mailing list software has dealt with this since time immemorial is to have a size limit. You’re going to get at least one digest e-mail a day (if there are any new posts, anyway), but you may get more if things heat up. You can see this in, for example, the mailman digest configuration; specifically, the digest_size_threshold option.

One thing that makes it a lot easier for mailman, et al, to send out digests without exploding is that they can assemble a single digest for all subscribers and send it out rapid-fire, rather than having to hand-craft a new message for every subscriber based on each person’s individual tastes and circumstances. If it would be a worthwhile performance improvement, I think a similar strategy would work for Discourse: if you subscribe to digests for a category, you get all that category’s messages: no filtering, muting, etc, and if you subscribe to multiple categories, you get a separate digest e-mail per category, possibly on a different schedule to the e-mails for other categories. It’s how existing digest die-hards are used to things happening, so while I won’t be surprised if they complain (because a certain percentage of people will, just on principle), it’s easier to explain that this is how it worked before, and your cheese is just a teeny, tiny bit further to the left than it was, see, it’s right there, you can stop hyperventilating now please.


This would also fit nicely with per category mailing list mode. You’d simply turn on mailing list mode for a category and choose whether you want digest or not. That would mimic the mailinglist experience pretty well.

Things are falling into place here, I think.


I suppose you could filter Discourse email to the Forums category but it would look the same there.