Summary Email feedback

I don’t see any html in the text version, but it is markdown. That’s how it was before… I didn’t change the formatting, but did add some of the new sections. Markdown seems like the best compromise for the text version since we want to somehow include links to the topics.


I agree with this Neil, if there are zeroes, replace them with other stats. New Posts is totally reasonable and parallels “New Topics”, new users is a bit iffier but better than a zero!


Looks like broken (version: v1.7.0.beta7 +215):

Started GET "/admin/email/preview-digest.json?last_seen_at=2016-11-15&username=ex&_=1479831125788" for XXXXXXX at 2016-11-22 16:13:12 +0000
Processing by Admin::EmailController#preview_digest as JSON
Parameters: {"last_seen_at"=>"2016-11-15", "username"=>"ex", "_"=>"1479831125788"}
Rendered user_notifications/digest.html.erb (20.2ms)
Completed 500 Internal Server Error in 52ms (ActiveRecord: 8.9ms)
ActionView::Template::Error (undefined method `title' for nil:NilClass)
/var/www/discourse/app/views/user_notifications/digest.html.erb:278:in `block in _app_views_user_notifications_digest_html_erb___3985553163569272910_70016698007800'

and one more:
Rendered user_notifications/digest.html.erb (12.2ms)
Rendered user_notifications/digest.html.erb (12.1ms)
Job exception: undefined method `title’ for nil:NilClass

Rendered user_notifications/digest.html.erb (11.6ms)
Rendered user_notifications/digest.html.erb (12.5ms)
Job exception: undefined method `title’ for nil:NilClass

Rendered user_notifications/digest.html.erb (13.8ms)
Rendered user_notifications/digest.html.erb (14.5ms)
Job exception: undefined method `title’ for nil:NilClass


Thanks @exmac, I fixed that issue. Those are popular posts in deleted topics.


It’s great that you are working on this and there are some great inclusions :thumbsup:

However I am not convinced about the new look. I feel a digest email should be concise and succinct where you can take in a lot of information quickly and easily. With this new format you have to do a lot more scrolling and there is a lot more padding between items:

Additionally, with popular posts you are missing context as the title has become a secondary piece of information as you would generally want to know where the post is before reading it.

Also for those of us who use the digest email as an update of what you have missed (and have therefore upped the maximum topics to show) this mailer becomes very long and less likely for people to read it.

I think it would be good to ascertain:

  • What would a user want from a digest email?
  • How can we provide that information as concisely and succinctly as possible?

I personally feel that a digest email is to update users on what they have missed (rather than send them a page that is what they would expect if they were on the forum themselves… if that’s what they wanted they would probably visit the forum instead).

Just my two pence worth (hope I haven’t offended anyone).


A few thoughts after seeing a couple of these in my inbox now

  1. The column width for the text seem pretty wide (much wider than on the site). Can that be slimmed down with max-width to something?
  2. I think the "From: " line in Popular Posts could be left-justified above the quoted post to address @AstonJ’s concern and to give a click target on the left side of the page.
  3. Being able to change that top main background color would be nice.
  4. The text in the quote bubbles for popular posts could be a little darker or stronger. I find it a bit hard to read as is.

Are there any metrics on site visits from digest emails to measure the impact of changes like this?


My question might be stupid, is there a way to send ourself a summary email ? I would want to see that in the inbox and not just only on the admin panel

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@Steven Besides using the rails console, there’s no easy way. I’ll try to add a way to do that. :pencil:


During this transition, is there a possibility you’d be willing to support the traditional/legacy summary email format alongside the new format? This will be a big change for our community that we’d want to roll out/announce ahead of time but otherwise we like to be on the latest beta. Or do we need to switch to a stable branch that does not include the new format?

FWIW, I am very happy with the new summary email format and like the direction. It’s very slick!

No, this is the new digest / summary email format for 1.7, we do not retain old code in new releases.

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makes sense. I figured as much.

Thanks for this new feature, worked great !

I added a way today. After generating a preview, you can send the result to any email address.


shweet! :lollipop: thank you!

It looks impressive, but I have to say it seems far harder to skim to me. This is what I see with the new and old:



Sorry to be negative, but to me this has lost a lot of value. The information density has dropped way down, and the irrelevant information has taken on far too much prominence. For me, using this to see what is happening on meta has taken a huge step backwards in engagement.

But hey, hopefully that is just me and everyone else will be thrilled. It does look pretty.


Pure information density is not the goal here, though. The idea is to entice people who have been away for a week or more to come back.


I think some of the spacing is a bit too much, and we can fix it over time.

Your screenshot shows that if there’s a preview image from the topic, then it adds a lot of vertical spacing around the topic title’s row and can cause the title to wrap, while the row below with the avatar and username has nothing on the right side. I’ll move the image to same row as the avatar.

I think adding information that was missing from the old summary email is an improvement. I recognize avatars for most people, so seeing them while scanning is good info. The reply count is also something I glance at.


But this will do the opposite - because it requires more cognitive energy to get a glimpse of what they’ve missed.

The digest email has always been used to send members what they have missed in a format that they can review quickly and easily - that’s what the name suggests and this new update deviates from that significantly unfortunately. It needs to be much more concise so that the information can be absorbed quickly and easily.

How about an amalgamation of the two? New style (as per @neil’s post above) for popular posts, and the old style for popular topics? That way we can max the popular topics count to around 200 easily without the email becoming too long and laborious to scan/digest.

1 Like

One thing that really helps in this type of discussions are mockups.

Talk is cheap, mockups, prototypes and Pull requests go a long way to compare alternatives.


I’ll see if I can do something on the weekend - can you generate one in the ACP and send it to my email please? (I had it set to daily so the ones I have are not a good indication of the info contained).

I would probably opt for:

  • Hot Topics (most active threads)
  • Popular Posts (most liked or replied to posts - or whatever algo you currently use)
  • Latest Topics - (list of all the latest topics - number as specified in the ACP)