Disabling site-wide mailing list mode (not reply by email or watching categories via email)

We are hitting our limitations on daily emails sent with our current hosting plan (free). When the migration is complete (Feb 1), we will be on a paid hosting plan with a higher limit. In order to not lose functionality of our site, I need to disable mailing list mode option.

For those not familiar, mailing list mode is a way to get every single post to the forums. This is not the same as watching a category or tag. We will need to discuss if this feature is useful to our community before re-enabling. The preferred way to get emails is to watch categories that you are interested in versus getting notifications from every single post to the whole Discourse forum. That is going to be an incredible amount of email and not something an average user would need (or want).

Please discuss here.

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I was considering turning on mailing list mode to match my workflow with the mailing lists: I’ve gotten pretty efficient at quickly scanning emails to figure out which ones were relevant to me, and I didn’t wanna accidentally miss out on anything. I actually ended up not turning it on because the description suggested that I’d only get emails every time a new topic was posted, and not get emails for every reply to that topic (which is what I’d wanted), so I’m happy to hear that mailing list mode does do what I was hoping it would do. In general, I’d personally want an opt-out method for emails (e.g. turning on mailing list mode and then silencing specific categories, assuming mailing list mode respects silencing) instead of an opt-in one (having to manually subscribe to all categories I was interested in, and risking missing out on something).

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I was planning to use mailing list mode in much the same way as @smeenai described (and I am currently using mailing list mode). Especially since the usage of the various categories or tags are in flux, starting out using an opt-in model makes it hard to get a feel for what is being discussed where.


I’m also using mailing list mode as described by others above.
If mailing list mode needs to be disabled long-term, I’ll probably manually subscribe to many categories to still be able to read messages in my mail client - as that’s where I flag what messages I should think about more and potentially reply to, both for messages coming from LLVM mailing lists/discourse and a lot of other sources of non-LLVM messages.
Assuming a lot of people have this workflow, a lot of people would end up subscribing to lots of categories, resulting in still a lot of email needing to be sent from the Discourse server?

I have been using the mailing list mode and been enjoying it a lot. The current amount of traffic is not close to being a problem for me. That said I could imagine it being too much for me if there was a lot of traffic in categories that I am not interested in (which aren’t many).

I think it’s important it’s available if possible.

Ditto on requiring mailing list mode. I can go through and glance at the contents of a dozen or more emails in the time it takes me to pull up a thread. Mailing list mode is a huge help in keeping up with what is going on in the community in a limited amount of time.

Thanks for the feedback so far and I welcome more from others too. Once we get onto the paid plan, we will be looking at this more.

The top-level categories are very stable, so I would subscribe to the ones you are interested in to still get email in your inbox in the meantime.

It’s worth noting that if you mute categories, it won’t send you any emails, even in mailing list mode.


Test post to see if watching a category generates email.

To be clear: we’re not disabling mail notification. Just the “mailing-list mode”: you will continue to get individual notifications when you opt-in categories instead of get an email for any activity on the whole discourse instance.

To some extent it isn’t different from mailing-list where you had to subscribe to individual mailing-lists that you opt-in, and not a “catch-all”.

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If you subscribe to a category, will you only get emails for new posts to that categories, or emails for replies to those posts as well? The latter was the main attraction of mailing list mode for me.

The mailing lists were much more coarse that categories; that had upsides and downsides, but I don’t think they’re super comparable to categories for the “opt-in” part.

(Edit: This was a reply to Mehdi’s comment, if it isn’t clear. I clicked the “Reply” button on his post but it didn’t get quoted for whatever reason.)

What you want is to “watching” a category. Here are the different ways to “subscribe” to a category.

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The latter, but it depends on your choice actually, Discourse has flexibility. You can go to a category and click the bell on the right side:

If you want to quote, You can select text and a “quote” button will appear. You can incrementally add quote to a message while you’re composing it.

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Awesome, that takes care of my concern :slight_smile: Thanks for the info (and the tip about quoting)!

So, after trying the “watch alternative” for a day here are some observations:

  1. It completely disables the two levels of notifications discourse provided before. I mean, you now get notification bubbles, message counts, etc. for everything rather than just the things you explicitly tracked, all to enable emails. As a consequence I need to disable notifications and effectively cannot use the web UI notifications either. List mode was arguably better in that regard.
  2. Emails are send (exactly) 10 minutes after a post, which is somewhat weird but OK. Though, I just checked and that was the case for mailing list mode as well.
  3. You need to watch every category and, apparently, every sub-category. The latter makes me somewhat worried we need to keep track of new ones all the time.
  4. The email sending to start a topic works (at least according to a basic test). Now I just need to put all emails into my address book. We might want to provide a list somewhere for that.
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This is now here: Discourse Migration Guide — LLVM 13 documentation

Mailing list mode was useful to me, and a great way of providing a simple transition from the previous lists to Discourse. If it’s possible to re-enable it, I would certainly value that.

I’m not getting emails from subscriptions, even 10 minutes later…

This is really weird, I did not interpret it that way at all. I only subscribed to the top-level categories.

I mean, I can subscribe to all sub-categories, but as you say, when new ones come, you have to know about them. There are a large number of categories and tags missing, so I’m guessing this will be a common thing for months to come.

+1, I actually missed the announcement for llvm-13.0.1-rc3 because I was comfortably watching Project Infrastructure, but not Project Infrastructure → Release Testers :expressionless: