What is "user was seen recently" defined as and can I change the value?


I saw that some emails on our Discourse community were suppressed because “User was seen recently”.

I couldn’t find it in the settings nor searching on the meta forum for an answer: what is recently defined as and is there an opportunity to change it somewhere in the settings?


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“email time window mins” is the variable you’re looking for, but there is also a user setting with a name like “email notification even if online” and a corresponding default value in site settings.

Mostly it is good not to get an email for a message got have seen already. If your users love email, you can turn on mailing list mode.


Thank you so much! =)

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How do you turn on mailing list mode?

Also i have had an issue. I have created groups and I am trying to tag the group name with @mention. Despite doing this, no one is receiving an email inviting them to the group topic. How do I mitigate this?

It’s in the user preferences but it can be turned off globally in site settings.

Do you mean you are trying to @-mention the group? To do that, you have to allow mentioning the group in group settings.


I have tried this and I am still the group members are not getting anything in email regarding being mentioned in the community.

Are they seeing a notification when they visit the forum?

They are yes once they have signed into the community. However our organization has asked that the various working groups can recieve the notice via email to draw them into the topics.

Have the users:

  1. Watch the category or topic you are doing announcements in
  2. Go to /my/preferences/emails and turn on " Send me email notifications even when I am active on the site".

So there is no way to be emailed if one of your groups get mentioned?

Oops, missed the at mention part.

If they’re getting a “@” notification, an email should get generated.


I don’t think this is correct. That setting is how long to delay sending an email after the post is created, to give the user time to edit it before it gets sent out. What we are discussing here is the mail being skipped entirely because the recipient has been on the site “recently.” What does “recently” mean, and can it be configured manually? The questions are unanswered so far as I can tell.


So turns out this was correct, if anyone was wondering. I was just looking at this because I was trying to send myself a test email…

seen_recently = (user.last_seen_at.present? && user.last_seen_at > SiteSetting.email_time_window_mins.minutes.ago)

So if your “last seen at” time is greater than the email time window mins setting, the email will be skipped.

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Odd. The description on the settings page for ‘email time window mins’ just says, “Wait (n) minutes before sending any notification emails, to give users a chance to edit and finalize their posts.”

So either the description is wrong, or it is incomplete and that variable is also serving double duty to determine what “recently” means on this particular site. I’d be willing to bet it’s serving double duty.

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Yep, I can confirm. It’s used as described in the setting description, and also used to determine when someone’s no longer “seen recently”.


@pfaffman gets the prize, then. Somebody mark his answer as correct. :slight_smile:


See also https://meta.discourse.org/my/preferences/emails where you can turn on the email-me-harder user preference:


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