Watching a Category, perhaps the best kind of mailing list mode?

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #1

Continuing the discussion from Setting defaults to enable mailing list mode-Temporary Solution:

Anyone following me knows I’m all about mailing list mode. I love it because it keeps community content fresh in the face of our users.

The powers that be at discourse are all about the web-UI, and rightfully so… it’s beautiful, laid out well, easy to search, navigate, bookmark, link to, etc etc etc. It’s the best mailing list archive I’ve ever seen, period.

What occurs to me is that the behavior I want out of discourse is FAR more like auto-watching every topic. Easily able to unwatch or mute a topic which no longer has interest.

Kinda like Jeff does here:

Before I go database diving and scripting ways to have every user auto-watch a forum’s important categories… is there a way to do that in the UI already?

With this available

  • auto setting email_always to true
  • then allowing people to get copies of all posts they create by email

I truly believe we’ll get the best of both worlds. Especially if email footers can have links to unwatch a topic.

Mailing list features
Emails from both Watching & Digest - about the same post
Forcing email context - input requested
Setting defaults to enable mailing list mode-Temporary Solution
Make members of a group watch a category by default
How does days since last seen effect Watched Category emails?
When changing category watch state, prompt to also change state of all topics in that category at the time of change
Discourse vs Email & Mailing lists
(Sam Saffron) #2

Allowing admins to set defaults for users is slotted 1.4, I will try to get that new pref in as well for 1.4

(Michael Downey) #3

Great. This could also satisfy the “global announcements” and the global pins in digests requests, indirectly, I think.

(Sam Stickland) #4

Did this get included in the 1.4 beta yet?

(Sam Saffron) #5

Not done yet :cry: :cry: :cry:

(Sam Stickland) #6

Is there any difference between mailing_list_mode and watching a topic?

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #7

Yes, it’s a pretty big difference, here’s an overview:


  • It’s simple (it’s just one checkbox, boom, done).
  • It creates a single email for every post in every category the user has access to.

Watching Categories

  • Each email is [imo] more useful because it contains the context of the [5] most recent posts *1
  • It’s nice that you can unwatch just one topic & not get emails, but still get the rest of the emails *2
  • It’s harder because the user needs to understand which categories are important to them. This where the admin options would be really handy. See here and here
  • Along with Watching some categories, you could just choose to track others and/or get a digest of the rest of the forum.

There are probably more, but this is what comes to mind the most.

*1 The number of related posts is an admin setting, and the feature is debatable
*2 This will be even better if we can unwatch via a link.

(Sam Stickland) #8

Thanks, that all makes sense. I’m still getting to grips with discourse, but it seems that the following features would be very useful for us:

  • Set group via SSO or API calls
  • Default category watching (possibly based on group setting)
  • Unwatch topic via email link

Useful enough that I might implement some of this myself, but I need to get started with some simpler features first (see Body is invalid; try to be a little more descriptive - despite having changed all the settings I can find)

(Brian Cheek) #9

Sam, any updates? Planned for a release?

(Régis Hanol) #10

I’m working on it as I speak :wink:

(Tobias Eigen) #11

What is it exactly you’re working on with this? I’d be interested to see the specs/acceptance test you’re working towards.

If it’s anything resembling mailing_list_mode as described above by @watchmanmonitor then I will be quite happy. Let me know if you need help with testing as you move along!

(Régis Hanol) #12

I was talking about the “admin override of any user preferences” part.

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #13

I’m going to guess it’s this:

but whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be good.

(Régis Hanol) #14

It’s now live :cat2:

(Jared Needell) #15

I upgraded my instance and I see the User Preferences option

Does this force them to watch or only sets it by default? Also will this only apply to new users?

I added the categories and I don’t seem to be getting an email notification.

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #16

This is a great feature. thank you!

There are instructions for pushing out defaults to existing users via postgres. Are there plans for making an “apply to all” button?

It would help for non-technical admins and for hosted customers.

(Tobias Eigen) #17

where are these instructions?

(Jeff Atwood) #18

This only applies to new users.

(caue rego) #19

So the new feature only applies to new users, meaning admin can’t override user preferences of older ones, right? What constitutes a new user?

More importantly: is there a way to bulk suggest users to watch a category?

How about to bulk add a category to new users watching list?

Lots of new users will have many problems even finding the watch categories button, so I’d argue it makes a lot of sense to have some way for allowing new users to simply sign up and start receiving email straight away - as discourse is also a mailing list. :slight_smile:

I’m already trying to use discourse instead of mailchimp for people who want to sign up for news. Am I missing something?

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #20

I believe this is a workable solution: Attaching a category-watch action to being made a member of a group.

When changing category watch state, prompt to also change state of all topics in that category at the time of change