Summary Email Changes

I’m still tearing down the mess that Foundation gave us and rebuilding it. It was tables with tables inside the tables and then tables all the way down until you find the words “Popular Topics” inside one final table.

The file size was way over the typical limit of 105kb, and I’ve got it down to about 50kb with 3 topics and 1 post. Will iron out the responsive stuff for mobile once the markup makes sense.


I think what you’re asking for already exists:

It should be possible to keep the same outlets. Also something we didn’t have before was a way to customize preheaders, so I’ll try to add that too.



This is great… glad to see some attention going here.

Some things I like about the mock-up which you didn’t explicitly mention:

  1. post / topic author avatars shown
    this is something I’d been asked about before and I think will help a lot to bring people in who are interested to see what recognizable faces are saying about things
  2. topic like and reply counts shown
    better indication of the actual popularity of the topic
  3. personalized information
    how many unacknowledged notifications have piled up… good stuff… also the “new in topics and categories you follow”… very cool… don’t forget about tags :slight_smile: (and what does ‘follow’ mean?.. if they aren’t actually following too much, consider filling this space with other new topics up to some limit).

one other thing I’ve noticed that could be improved

  • add more posts when not enough are “popular”
    the culture on our forum hasn’t completely adjusted to “liking” things too liberally, and as such, sometimes there are very few popular posts, even when there were many quality posts… I’d like to see this spot filled with more posts in this scenario, even if they haven’t reached the like threshold (assuming that’s the issue).

Perhaps it makes sense to include some popular posts from older topics in the summary email as well? Right now, the Popular Posts only include posts from new topics. I think some users, especially new ones, might miss an interesting old topic and would welcome it being highlighted in a digest when something new and interesting is posted there.

I realize this may be not actual for very active communities where there are plenty of new topics and they compete to be featured in the digest.


Similar to what @iva suggested, I’ve also noticed sometimes that older topics “heat up” again, but are not included in the weekly summary as topics or posts… (this may be a special case of these posts themselves not being liked enough to be popular though)…

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We are not adding a bunch of additional new work at this time, just trying to get the current plan executed.


I’m really looking forward to the new summary emails. Thanks for working on this! :sunny:

I hear you on this and don’t want to get in the way of getting the current plan executed, but still want to ask… will bannerized topics have any place in the summary emails? If not now, would you be open to adding it later?

It would be very helpful to us if they were featured right at the top. Currently in our community we send out a monthly “discussion highlights” mailing via mailchimp which is pretty much identical to the summary email but contains an intro text featuring a specific, timely “ask” for community members. Usually this is an invitation to apply for a learning exchange, register for a webinar or join a campaign etc. It’s fairly impactful and useful, however pulling it together involves a manual process.

Going forward, we intend to discontinue the monthly discussion highlights but if we do we’d like to still be able to make these asks via the summary emails. It seems to me that banner topics would be the ideal way for us to handle this, to get the ask out to folks who do log in via the website and to those who don’t via the summary email.


@tobiaseigen I think a much better way to do that is to add the banner to digest emails directly, using this feature:

Then you can control where it appears in the email, and have more control over when it starts and stops showing in emails independent of whether it’s showing on the site.


Makes lots of sense, this is already implemented on Quora…

It is fine to capture ideas here for future work but the immediate goal is to get the change implemented first.

Some work in progress on mobile, from iPhone 6S (click to expand the first one because it’s tall):


Looking great, can’t wait to see it live!


This looks fantastic! Can’t wait to see it roll out


me three! this is going to be great! :rocket: :e-mail: :rocket: :e-mail: :rocket: :e-mail: :rocket:

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It’s done!

New settings:

Preheader: you can control what people see in their inboxes by editing the text user_notifications.digest.preheader in Admin > Customize > Text Content. It doesn’t appear in the email, but email clients should use it as a summary of the email, like this:

digest posts: A new setting in Admin > Settings > Email that controls how many posts to show in the “Popular Posts” section.

Changed defaults

digest topics: This setting used to default to 20 and has been reduced to 5. If you had already changed this setting, then it won’t be overwritten with the new default, so you may need to lower it.

Remaining work

:white_check_mark: Preview in Admin is wonky.

There are still some minor issues in Outlook 2010 and 2013 (but not 2011…):

  • No way to add border-radius to avatars, so they’re square.
  • Some vertical alignment problems.
  • Cell padding is sometimes too small.

Awesome! Is it possible to configure the colors within the email?


Not in this release, but perhaps in future releases.

:+1: Having the email template colors match the color theme set in Admin (or being able to configure them there) would go a long way in making our branding team happy.


Continued here: