User experience for imported users?

I’m looking at importing some 600 email addresses from a mailing list into Discourse, with the goal of having everyone automatically set to watch an Announcements category that will essentially serve the purpose of replicating the primary function of the mailing list.

It’s my understanding that as part of the import process, we (I understand there are scripts involved, and I’ll need my developer to do this) can force all the imported people to be Watching the Announcements category, such that they’ll definitely receive email for every post (unless they stop watching it manually). Is that true?

What’s less clear to me is what the user experience will be for the imported users. They’ll each have an account, but I presume they won’t be able to login until they set a password, and the first time they visit the site, Discourse will ask them to do so. Correct?

And what if they never set a password at all? (Most don’t realize that they have Mailman accounts now; so there was pushback about having to have another account. Sigh.) If someone never visits the site and never logs in, will they still receive email for topics and posts in the Announcements category?

For anyone who has done this, what sort of support issues did you have to deal with after the import?


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If you already have a transactional relationship with these folks, i.e., you’re moving them to a new platform, there are ways to shortcut the user creation process. It’s for more advanced admins, but here are some command line (rails console) ideas that could work:

u ={username: 'testuser', email: '', name: 'Test User', trust_level: 2, password: SecureRandom.hex});
t = u.email_tokens.create(email:;
Jobs.enqueue(:critical_user_email, type: :account_created, user_id:, email_token: t.token);

From my experience, this will create the new user with the details you provide, activate their account so they can receive email, and then send them an email letting them know that an account has been created for them on your Discourse site, and gives them a link to set up their account:

A new account was created for you at Your Discourse Site Name

Click the following link to choose a password for your new account:

You would need to set up your Announcements category so that all new users are automatically Watching it, which is a site setting.


Thanks! That seems relatively straightforward (and yes, these are all users on a list I manage and that I’m trying to move off Mailman).

Do you know what will happen if they never set up their account, in terms of them receiving email to the auto-Watching Announcements category?

There are smarter people around here than me on this topic, but I think that because you run the u.activate(); command, they’re already fully activated and the only thing they’re doing through the email is changing their password from the initial random string that nobody knows.

There is a notion that inactive users eventually stop getting emails, but I’m not sure if that would come into play here for “auto-watched” categories, I have only really thought of it in terms of the digest/summary recipients. Hopefully someone else can chime on that answer.