Request: a digest version of personal notifications

So, there’s notifications for PMs, quotes, replies to, mentions, and invites… and those can be turned on or off. But I’d like an option to have these notifications lumped into digests at some frequency, much the same as the way overall activity digests work.

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Wouldn’t it be better if we could include all of these notifications in the existing activity summary (aka digest)?


Yes, they could be combined if both are on. But people may want to get digest of only their personal notifications and not other activity. Such digests might be far less frequent if the user is not that active relative to the overall community.


Clicking that isn’t enough? In my case, I got an email for one of those unread notifications, so a digest also containing it would not be helpful.


I see an image now, not sure what happened before.

Sure, but the point I’m making is that someone may want to not get the distraction of getting notifications immediately (might want to get them just daily or less frequently), and the same user may want to not get any digest of general site activity.

The request is to let people delay personal notifications so they receive them only in a digest with a maximum frequency they can set, and to not tie this to the activity digest.

Imagine someone who shows up, posts on a topic and wants to see replies but not immediately, maybe every-three-days even is enough for them to be prompted to follow up. But they don’t want to get activity digests that often (or at all). They’d like to go months without getting emails, just checking the site manually if they ever care. But if they get a PM, they don’t want to go weeks not seeing it, and neither do they want instant notification of all personal items.

In short, and example setting:

  • do send notifications of PMs, replies, etc. but daily at most (for example)
  • no activity digest
  • so, some days there are personal notification emails, many days there’s nothing
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We would really like digests of notifications to go out to inactive users, and initially we thought that this method should work:

However, the problem is that having unread messages will NOT in itself trigger a digest. A digest will only be sent if there is a new topic. If you have a PM notification waiting this will never be sent. in fact you could have hundreds of PM notifications waiting for you but you will never get an “activity summary” unless there is a new topic waiting for you.

To illustrate, here a user is sent a PM which is notified (but unread because the user hasn’t visited) and there is a new topic… Then the “activity summary” email looks like this:

That all looks good…

However when I go and delete the new topic from the system the “activity summary” looks like this:


… the activity summary has disappeared entirely(!) Because there is no new topic, no activity summary is generated, even when there are unread messages.

Long and short, if you are to rely on an activity summary for unread messages since last visit, well, you can’t…

Hence, it cannot be used for that at the moment. It would be great if the activity summary were triggered by unread messages as well as new topics… it may be a bit “bare” without the “Popular Topic” content but it would be really useful for inactive users to receive these.

By way of further support for @Wolftune’s proposal, I think there are two big merits to the proposal:

  • inactive users being confident of receiving an activity summary when they have an unread message waiting for them

  • Being able to turn off all individual email notifications and relying instead on a digest sent at a maximum frequency (e.g. once a day) set by the user.

While all that is appropriate, I’m thinking of the user who wants both

  • to be notified of PM’s, replies, and @mentions — but not in the instant way that can be disruptive to their focus
  • to never be notified of general activity, preferring to visit the site and not get activity digests

This is someone who doesn’t want to be bugged to keep up or visit but who also doesn’t want to fail to respond when people are explicitly trying to reach them.

Thanks, :thinking:

… this is nomenclature, but that to me is an activity digest. The activity digest already does this (but only gets sent if there is “general activity” - sending of the summary doesn’t trigger based on PM’s, replies, and @mention notifications, that’s a problem)

I got that, and its a good idea. It could be a setting in the activity digest preferences. It would mean that the user would get notifications summarised when they are there, and nothing when there are no notifications, which would be very useful.

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Exactly. Kind of like choosing what to watch/track in terms of what to include in digests. One option could be to only track those personal notifications.

So if someone is messaging you directly, you don’t want to know about it until it’s time for your daily/weekly notifications digest email?


right… but to clarify, the sort of user I’m describing may not want a digest email for general activity; or they may want a weekly general digest but a daily personal-notifications digest.

Activity, especially personal notifications, can fluctuate a lot depending on a user’s activity…

The balance is that if someone gets too many emails, they may just turn them off and then be unreachable. And if someone gets in the habit of ignoring (or turns off) general digest emails, then they might miss even personal notifications.

The goal is to give people options so that they can find a good middle-ground when they decide they want less emails.

I think that you are putting that as a rhetorical question, but email overload is a massive problem.

As @wolftune says, after being in an active message topic, people just want to turn these emails off. Direct messaging is not something that you may want to get email after email for during a message topic discussion. Your email inbox fills up. Pretty much everyone is dealing with 100s of emails a day already, and adding another 10,20, 30, 50 even (if you are participating in a few active message topics) is simply not workable for most people.

The problem is particularly acute for group PMs. People would much prefer a summary, at their chosen frequency (it can be every 1/2 hour at minimum according to current activity summary settings…)

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No, I was trying to get a concise way to understand who this is for.

This helps me understand the person this feature would be for.