Summary Email feedback

Thanks, sam! makes sense to me!

Today I was putting together my monthly discussion highlights mailing to all members, and am pleased to see it works quite well with the new design. :rocket:

One other thing I noticed - it may be better to just display username or full name of popular posts authors, and not both. For some reason on my site my username just displays in duplicate. I also think clicking on any of that (post excerpt, picture, username) should take me to the post - not just the READ MORE button of to the right.


I don’t like the idea of the post excerpt linking, but everything else listed is OK. Making that a link would make highlighting the text difficult, which would make copying, quote replying, etc annoying.

Perhaps it makes sense to move the topic title of a popular post to be above the post text and more prominent? I think it would make it easier to click without needing to make the whole excerpt a link.

And it would also improve the readability of the digest, in my opinion. I find myself always looking for the topic title first to determine whether a particular post/topic is interesting to me and if I should click. Without a title, there is no context and no desire to read the whole paragraph of a post to find out what it is about. So I have to look down to read the title (which is also small in size in the current layout) and then go back up to reading the post itself, if the title is interesting. Not very convenient.



That seems like a simple change that would help out quite a bit. I made a similar request here, along with a couple other wishes.

FWIW I’m not sure why this is an issue. People who want to do that can just click through and do it via discourse. If they prefer to use email they should turn on mailing list mode.

Which reminds me of a nagging question… digests for mailing list mode subscribers still have the old design. Is this going to change or will it keep the old design going forward? I think it might be a good idea to keep the old design. If that happens, a toggle on the digest preview admin interface would be desirable to let admins see how it appears.

1 Like


Also fixed!

Clicking on avatar and username should take you to the post? Do you mean user profile page?

That conflicts with the complaints that the digest is too spread out… Adding a new row above each post will add more height to the overall email.

The popular posts section is something that needs to be tuned. Currently we fetch posts with a score of 5.0 or higher. Why 5.0? Because I didn’t know what number to pick. Based on the digest emails I get every 30 minutes :sweat: that number is too low.

I imagine the popular posts section is where people will want to see an important post by the game developers on a game forum, for example. When scanning the summary, I’ll spot the dev’s avatar and the post. I care less about the topic title than the fact that I missed an important post that was buried in a topic somewhere. Currently posts with only 1 like are being included as popular, but shouldn’t be.


Here’s where I see things differently. Summary are for users who haven’t been seen in a bit. We definitely want them back on the site, but just getting them talking about the site is positive too. I don’t know if it works in other mail clients, but selecting text then clicking forward in Gmail only quotes the selected text. I’ve done that with emails I’ve gotten from other (non-Discourse) forums that I think might interest someone who isn’t on the forum, but is accesible via email.


Nope - on my site nothing happens when you click on the avatar and username in the summary email. only the topic title and READ MORE button are clickable.

OK - as long as it’s easy to find the link to click through to the post on discourse, I’m happy. If the post text is not clickable but the entire next row of content after that (avatar, username, title, READ MORE button) is clickable, that could work.

FYI I noticed the links at the top go to /new which, if you’re not logged in, displays a bit of a sad and discouraging error instead of the actual content. Maybe these links should go to / or /latest instead which works for everyone, logged in our not? Or change this link so it pops up a login if not logged in?

I mean you were suggesting they should link to a topic page, but if anything they should link to a user page.

The #1 goal is to drive people to topic pages for discussion, not user pages, so let’s focus on that.


Given the goal is to drive people back to the site:

Also, added one more item to my wish list above:

Clearly there are two entirely different ways to view these digest emails.

You and Jeff and presumably the rest of the Discourse team see it as a way to “entice people back”.

I see summary emails as a way to keep up to date with what is going on at various forums I use (other than my own which I use mailing list mode emails for). I am not going to be engaged in every Discourse forum. I do not want to be engaged in letsencrypt. Heck, I do not particularly want to be engaged here. I certainly don’t want to be engaged with my Rachio reticulation controller. But I do want to keep up to date with them. I want to notice new stuff (like this topic). And that’s what I use the summary emails for.

The new format does not meet my needs for this. Indeed it runs completely counter to my needs for this. Too bad for me, fair enough, the folks creating Discourse can do whatever they like, but for me, this change is a disaster as far as my usage of non-primary Discourse forums. I rue the day of each one upgrading to version 1.7 and my ability to follow them is severely diminished.


Hey @peternlewis great to have your input here. I think mailing list mode is what you want on all of these sites you don’t want to visit regularly, set up with daily digests. The design of the mailing list mode digests is still the old one that you know and love, as of this moment at least. I don’t know what the future plans are for that and would also be interested to know.

I understand you don’t like the new spacious layout, but the information you’re being shown comes from the same query as before, but with new information added (who posted each topic, date it was posted, like counts, etc.).

Also the new email has some important/popular posts further down in the email that are buried in topics that you otherwise would miss in the old digest emails.

The topic titles are bigger and bolder than before, so if you’re only scanning then it should be easier now. How has your ability to keep up to date become a disaster?


I am not sure why the stats for “Since your last visit” in the summary email do not match the dim-red “last visit” line in the topic list views. Why is “New Topics” 88 in the email but only 27 in the “New” topic view? Am I missing something obvious? :confused:

I received this email about 1pm my time. Incidentally, that was long after I’d read the first popular topic so why would I want to know about it if I’'m already reading it?

This current screenshot at 6pm is very similar to the numbers I had in the morning well before the email arrived.

1 Like

What email client are you using? That email formatting looks pretty messed up.

Outlook 2016 for a gmail account. I fished the previous Discourse email out of the trash and they both look fine on in Chrome.

I noticed it was too wide for the preview but didn’t have time to elucidate at the time. In a maximized Outlook window on a FullHD screen it is 1666 pixels wide which is the same as the previous email which does preview correctly:

Is there any way yet to change the blue color that’s used in the header and buttons?

Also it appears that custom text in the “Text Content” admin settings don’t show in the new digest/summary emails. My footer custom HTML is working, but it doesn’t appear other sections are. Will this be reintroduced with the new template?


Well, lets looks at a specific example, the recent emails from Let’s Encrypt, and the last Summary I have from Meta.

Let]s Encrypt is a forum I am not overly engaged in, nor will I ever be, but I’d like to use them one day, and I’d love if they supported S/MIME certificates, so I’d like to keep up with what’s going on without visiting the site. So the last summary, after scrolling down a couple inches past the headers and title, I get this:

I can see the five most popular posts, if none of them interest me I can hit a key and file the message away. If I’m keen, I can do a page down and get:

Either way, from looking at the message, two keystrokes later I’m done - and happily not engaged with the web site!

Compare that to the Discourse Meta summary I got on Nov 24 using the new format. I get one or two topics per page, so I have to scan the page, page down, scan the page, page down, scan the page. Then I get to Popular Posts and the writing is tine, and the title is obscurely placed at the bottom so I can’t even quickly see what it’s about. And I still only get a couple entries per page.

Note that visual scanning is much easier when the display remains static - as soon as you are paging down, the topic titles, no matter how big, are moving vertically up and down and so are much harder to scan.

So for my use, instead of ~ 5 seconds to see if there is anything new of interest, it’s probably closer to 30+ to get a similar level of update. I monitor several other Discourse sites, so wastage is multiplied N times.

To me, that counts as a pretty big negative step to what was previously a useful feature.

I completely understand, this new facility may serve others way better, it may serve the Discourse folks way better. But for me, it does not.

1 Like

I disagree, not being able to see who posted anything is a major negative in the old format. It lacks headline stats related to me, as in, what’s in it for me? And if scanning the top 5 does not convince you, why would adding 10 more in tiny barely formatted print text help?

I think you’ve said your piece here; if you want the old format, write a plugin to recreate it, or just stay on the old version indefinitely.