Summary Email feedback

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.

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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)

FYI there is a new feature to email yourself the summary email from the preview. So you can choose the last seen date and username, then generate a preview and email it to yourself for testing.

I’m not on the admin team here Tobias (I haven’t updated my forum - have held off because of this change).

I sent you one @AstonJ using the handy new feature I added yesterday.


I agree with @mcwumbly that modifying the header/button color would be key.

Also I noticed on mobile that there seems to be some unnecessary clipping on the date (see below). But huge improvement on this. Love it.


Thanks Neil!

There were only:

  • 5 items in Popular Topics
  • 3 items in Popular Posts
  • 3 items in ‘New in topics and categories you follow’

Is that the max for each item as set here on meta? (If not can you put in an older date so I get an email with it maxed out please?) Also I guess these quantities can be customised via the ACP for our individual forums? (Which ones?)

I assume ACP is short for Admin something something… So, yes you can configure these values in Admin > Settings. Search for “digest” to find all of them.

Yes those are what’s configured on meta.


You should mention the mail size limit for Gmail; more than (x) kb of content where (x) is I think 102kb and everything else is automatically suppressed.


I made a fix for that.

The limit is 102kb, at which point the html will be truncated. I sent one with 20 topics, and it got truncated after the 15th topic.


I’ve updated and have the new summary email up and running on my site. :rocket:

Only one bit of feedback so far. In popular posts, could you make the chat bubble selectable, not just the “read more” button? That’s where my cursor/finger moves to when I want to read more.


Great work :+1:

I think it would be better if we could exclude pinned topics and related posts, which mostly used for explaining something. And by nature its becoming a part of popular posts listed as “This topic is now a banner. It will appear at the top of every page until it is dismissed by the user.”


Sorry guys I’ve not had a chance to finish this - my Mac’s playing up and I think I’m gonna have to reformat it.

Anyway, this is the sort of thing I had in mind:

I’ve left an original in as the second topic so you can compare.

  • I don’t think the thread starter is needed (as it’s just repeating info from the 5 user icons and it’s the ‘topic’ they are most interested in since it has been deemed as ‘popular’)
  • I would probably increase the post text size a little
  • I would probably reduce the topic title size a little

You could repeat the header style for Popular Posts and ‘New in topics and categories you follow’ as well to give it more of a uniform feel.

With Popular Posts try:

  • Making the avatar smaller, and then putting the username (leave the full name out) on the same line.
  • Make ‘From SECTION NAME’ the same text size as the username (or at least bigger than it is)
  • Remove ‘Read More’

For New in topics and categories you follow:

  • I’m not sure this is needed, I would think people following any cats or topics will have the forum set to receive a notification
  • Replace it with ‘Latest Topics’ (or More Popular Topics) instead and allow us to change the number sent out in the ACP (Admin Control Panel)

I think this will be more useful for the end user - this way, their digest email shows them:

  • The hottest topics since they’ve been away
  • Popular posts they might have missed
  • The latest threads since their last visit (ordered by date posted or by number of replies)

Hope this is of some help.


I don’t care for the way the top stats are buried at all. I agree the spacing overall could be tightened up a tad.

edit: I went ahead and tightened spacing in a few key places because the layout seemed super disconnected to me.


I agree with Jeff’s logic that the goal of these emails should be to entice people back. Theoretically, if you have highly engaged users that care about every detail and every topic title, they will already be on your site going through Discourse that way. These emails should be more marketing-style emails for those that are on the fringes of being somewhat engaged. An information-dense email does not entice a barely engaged person to come back.