Wish email notifications were actually useful


I never get any notifications unless someone PMs me, so the only way I find out about stuff that really matters to me - like people who want to get rid of 1.3 Soylent - is if a fellow user is kind enough to PM me about it.

The reason I get no notifications, is that they aren’t granular enough. I have to turn off the “send notifications any time someone replies to my post, mentions me, etc.” because if you participate or have participated in a very active thread, you’re going to get a barrage of emails from people replying to you or your thread even many months later.

There really should be a “Email only on direct mentions of my name” option. I could totally use that. Or even better, keyword-based emails. I could set up essentially an alert for something like “+1.3 +selling” or “+1.3 +sale” or what have you.


I just check the discourse directly, usually once per day; more if I’m involved in a very active conversation. It’s gotten to the point where I just have to type “d” in my browser’s address bar and hit Enter and I’m here! Aside from seeing all the new threads at a glance, I can also see all the notifications next to each other so I can quickly decide which ones(if any) are worth my attention, rather than sifting through emails.


As this appears to be a feature request I’ll tag @codinghorror.


There seem to be some misunderstandings about how notifications work out of the box in Discourse…

Here’s the default in Discourse if you create a new account and change zero user preferences or settings. You will be notified if:

  • Someone mentions your @name
  • Someone replies to your post
  • Someone quotes your post

In other words, you are only notified when people are talking directly TO YOU. (Not sure what you’re describing @vanclute, unless it is the “you created the topic” caveat I mentioned below. We absolutely do not send people a lot of random notifications, because that would suck. The general philosophy is, we notify you when people are explicitly speaking to you only.)

One thing that often confuses people is that we won’t email you if we see your web browser pinging the site, because then we assume we would be double notifying you – once in your web browser which is active on the site, and again via email. That’d be a duplicate notification from our perspective.

(There is one caveat here: if you create a topic, we assume you are extra interested in it, so it is set to “watching” notification state after you create it. So you will be notified of all replies to your topic.)

Now you can tweak the settings so that you get more or less notifications, either:

  • globally for the entire site, in your user preferences
  • for a specific category, by changing the default category notification level (will affect newly created topics in that category, only)
  • for a specific topic, by changing the topic notification level at the bottom of each topic

But out of the box, as a new user who has changed no settings whatsoever, see the first paras I wrote above ↑ ↑


Yep for me it’s the topics I started that proved to get obnoxious. I found I just preferred to not visit the site as much than to go through them and set them individually to Do Not Notify. But also people tend to hit reply just to make a general reply, even when they aren’t technically addressing you in specific. Discourse treats those as if they are actually addressing you (which they might be… or might not) and so always notifies you. Again it got really annoying and just helped to drive me away. Too much noise, not enough signal for me.


Gotta wade through the noise, @vanclute!


Sure, in that case, after starting a topic, change the notification state to “normal”.

Topics you create always start out as “watched” for you – the highest notification level.

There are 80 topics you’ve started, I assume most of them don’t get too many responses? You could set the state of the top 15 in this list to “normal”