Not actually sure if this is a bug or a UX issue. Please move the post as needed.
Use case is a private email support portal. We’re on v1.5.0.beta11 +164
We have a private category that a handful of users can access. The general public can send emails to email@example.com and they are posted in our public emails category. When one of the discourse users replies, it gets posted in the topic, and the member of the public (now a staged user) gets the reply in an email. This all works well.
The problem is that the email to the staged user contains “Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond”, where Visit Topic is a link to the topic they unknowingly created on discourse. They can’t actually visit the topic because it in in a private group, instead they get sent to a “You need to log in to see that topic.” page. Further the random member of the public thinks they emailed a regular email address, and expects a reasonably regular email response. We’ve had some people be so confused that they send a fresh email because they can’t log in to reply to us.
I think the simple fix is to remove that “Visit Topic” link for staged users. There are still links to the user profile of whichever discourse user wrote the reply, but I don’t think most people will click these, and if they do it isn’t going to complicate replying to the email.
A better fix, as far as the email support portal usage goes, would be to sanitize the emails going to staged users so they don’t appear to be coming from discourse at all.