Summary Email feedback

A digest email is great way to get people back to the forum because the thing that will draw them in most are the topics that interest them - not a count of the number of total posts or threads - which may actually put people off (too few and people may think what’s the point, too many and they may feel they don’t have the time to go through them all).

The most important stat from the header that is likely to draw people in is the number of their notifications - the others can be added to the bottom somewhere (if needed at all). So the logo could be moved to the left and the notification count (perhaps with an icon) could go on the right.

I just want to add that we shouldn’t try to ‘force’ people on to the forum, instead we would be better of catering to the needs of our users and allowing people to use the forum in whichever way suits them personally. This means, make the forum experience great for those who want to visit the forum. Make the mailing list mode great for those who want to use that and for those who don’t want to, or have been too busy to visit daily (or even weekly) provide them with a digest email that not only highlights the ‘top’ posts and threads but also shows them what else has been going on via a list of the latest threads - because it’s very likely a topic might catch their eye that they’re interested in and if it weren’t there to begin with then this opportunity would have been missed.

For all this to work the email needs to be easy to absorb quickly and without much cognitive energy - or people will start ignoring it and/or hit the spam button so they don’t have to see it anymore.


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My argument is I don’t think you can get both of these things you want. So err on the side of making it easy to absorb (and thus not be information dense):


If the information is architectured and presented with sufficient thought it can be both easy to absorb and information dense.

I would suggest keeping Popular Topics and Popular Posts and then having an additional list that shows the latest topics since their last visit (with an option to order by most replies as we currently have) - on my forum I have this set to 120.

Perhaps it would be handy to have various blocks that can be included in the digest and allow admins to select the ones they want in the order they want? At the end of the day different formats will suit different communities.

I believe that trying to entice users to come back on to the forum will be better achieved via topics that actually interest them, if you limit topics to just a small handful it’s quite likely you’ll miss several opportunities for users to click through - because topics they might be interested may not be there - because of the limited number included in this new format.

I just did rebuild to see the changes. But now its saying "No result found for digest ".
I did tried different users. Also I remember it was showing the default digest. It’s didn’t this time!

@ewanly did you change the time? Go back one month and it’s still blank? Has there been activity on your site?


The daily summary email on my site still uses the old design for some reason. It also has a different date on the subject line and in the message. Here are some screenshots from mandrill:

Incidentally, I am glad to see the date on the subject line. during this testing, I have hourly summary emails turned on. I am finding it confusing to see the summary emails stacking up in gmail under the same subject line. Not sure if this is a gmail for android bug or what, but even though I delete the summary emails they all continue to show up until I empty the trash… making it annoyingly hard to get to the latest summary email. This doesn’t happen on gmail in chrome on my mac, but it might still be worthwhile to add a timestamp to the summary email subject, e.g. Summary for 3pm November 28.

Ah - I just looked up that user who received the daily summary email, and I discovered that he had mailing list mode turned on with “send daily updates” selected. I’m not so familiar with this. So I guess there are two types of summary emails - one is in the new format designed for people who use (or who we want to entice to use) the website regularly and the other is more of a traditional mailing list digest for people who mostly participate by email.

Yeah that’s Gmail trying be helpful I guess. There’s nothing we can do about Gmail taking emails out of the trash and putting them back in the inbox. Seems like a bug to me.

It happens to me in gmail chrome on my mac.


I just noticed that

“1 new topics” is not linking me to my 1 new topics. Nor is (1 unread messages) or posts.

All three big numbers should be hyperlinks cause that is the first place I go to click.


Thanks for this @neil It looks awesome!

Is there anyway, i can make the logo bigger?

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Hmm, there isn’t a way to make it bigger at the moment.

It is done! Also, not sure if I mentioned already, but we will try to find stats to show you instead of big 0’s. New posts and new users will be shown instead (but not if they’re 0 too).


Whoops - whispers are making it into the summary emails, at least on the digest preview page when filtering by a tl0 user. :open_mouth:


Whispers should unconditionally be removed from all things digest for both staff and normal users, we will get this sorted


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.

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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.