Suspended user still receiving forum group emails

A suspended user on my forum reported still receiving forum notification emails after his account was suspended, specifically for groups that he was subscribed to before his account was suspended.

Apparently he’s right since Discourse reports that he was “last emailed” 3 hours ago even though his account was suspended many days ago.

Shouldn’t this behavior be that zero automated forum emails are sent to someone if their account is suspended, including for groups they had joined?

I definitely wouldn’t want to see suspended members receiving any ongoing emails from the forum, unless manually sent by an admin.

Additionally, I thought that members couldn’t tag a member whose account was suspended, but it looks like one of our members was still able to tag that suspended account as well.

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Sorry, which emails are you referring to? Can you be much more specific and provide the title and excerpts from these emails?

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The emails are PMs sent to members of group, like when someone sends a PM to @the-group-name to which a bunch of members belong, and the member has their account set to receive email notifications for PMs. The suspended member was a member of several groups before being suspended and continued receiving emails with PM replies to one of those groups after being suspended.

So the subject of those emails is of the form: “[Forum name] [PM] Message subject”

My understanding is that replying to PMs sent to a group basically works like the “reply all” function. When people continued replying to the group PMs, the suspended member kept getting the emails with those messages.

As a temporary fix, I manually removed this member from all groups after his account was suspended, which seems to have stopped further emails from going out to him.

I expected that when someone is suspended, they shouldn’t receive any further group PM emails, even if they were a member of that group at the time of suspension. So that’s why I reported this as a bug.

I use MailGun for sending emails from our forums, and the MailGun logs verify that these group PM emails were still sent to the suspended account’s email address even a week after the account was suspended.

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OK, so group PMs. And what version of Discourse are you on, specifically?

Tagging someone who is suspended should not matter, it won’t result in anything happening.

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2.4.0.beta11
latest-release +5
38dd184a16

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Sure can we repro this @tshenry?

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I remembered @simon dug into this a while back. This is what he said:

A deactivated user will not receive email notifications for group messages or group mentions. A suspended user will not receive email notifications for group mentions, but they will receive emails for PMs that are sent to the group.

I’m not sure if this is intentional behavior, or an oversight in the suspension design. It sounds like deactivating and suspending a user will ensure that no emails are sent to them without having to remove them from the group. This may not be immediately clear to a mod/admin, though.

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Agreed… not clear at all.

I’ve been using Discourse since 2017 and have admin’d active communities for many years and was caught by surprise to learn that a recently suspended member was still getting emails. Definitely seems more like a bug than an intentional outcome.

Moreover, would this be clear to the people who continue participating in the group PM exchange, not realizing that the suspended member is still able to see their ongoing conversation? When people know that a member was banned, why would they assume that member is still seeing their private messages? How is it private if an ex-member is still being strung along via email?

It seems wiser (and more aligned with reasonable expectations) to discontinue all automated emails to a suspended member.

What’s the argument for doing otherwise?

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There is a method here where STAFF PMs (emphasis mine) punch through and get sent to the suspended user, so staff can explain why the user is suspended.

Anything else feels like a bug to me @eviltrout … perhaps if the group includes staff members that’s the exception that @simon was alluding to? I’m not sure.

But I do know a group with no staff members shouldn’t exhibit this behavior, and send emails to suspended users?

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I’ve tested this again. Suspended users can receive emails for staff posts in group PMs. They do not receive email notifications for any non-staff posts in group PMs.

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In our (private) forum, staff participate in casual group PMs much like any other member. So there’s nothing special about a staff PM to a group in this context – except that it will push through to suspended members, contrary to expectations.

To compensate for this, we’ve been removing suspended members from all groups. It’s an extra step, but it’s better than accidentally PM’ing a suspended member and having them continue receiving emails.

Think about this in the context of suspending a member for harassment or personal attacks. You wouldn’t want them to keep getting these emails just because a staff member is involved in a private group discussion.

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