"To" headers on Discourse emails

After manually subscribing to notifications for all of the subforums that I could find that I was interested in, I’ve noticed an annoying problem with the email notifications that I receive. Every mail, regardless of whether or not I was mentioned, is addressed to me in the To header. Every other web-based forum that I use (including GitHub and Google Groups) will only address a message To me if I was mentioned or, in some cases, when it’s part of a thread that I participated in. But Discourse is doing this for every message. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m unlikely to be mentioned since I haven’t posted anything on the forum yet, it would be significantly impactful to me.

Is there anything that can be done to improve this?

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Can you explain a bit more about what you are trying to do? Are you filtering based upon the To in the header?

Yea, I noticed the same issue. I have long had a filter for messages that are addressed to , marking them as personal messages, bringing them more to my attention than other emails which get to me only through mailing lists or otherwise.

Discourse broke expectations there by addressing all list mail to me personally, as if someone was sending it explicitly to my attention. So, I explicitly excluded messages from “discourse.llvm.org” lists from the personal messages filter. That solved that half of the problem, but I don’t know if there’s any good way for a mail filter to tell if someone on discourse has explicitly addressed me personally.

(While I was affected by this, I didn’t bother to raise the issue, since it seems unlikely to change. That’s just how discourse works. :person_shrugging:)

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Sure, I can elaborate. Most messaging systems which bridge to email will work more or less like a mailing list. The To address might be something like noreply@github.com or it might just not be present. That is, unless you are mentioned: in that case, your email address is added to To: (or, depending on the system, Cc:). Pretty much all email clients will differentiate these two cases without requiring any explicit filters. On GMail for example, I believe the rule is that it adds a symbol if one or more of the messages in the thread was historically addressed to you, or » if one of the messages in the thread which are currently in your inbox are addressed to you. On Apple iOS mail, the message will have a small TO in a box right before the subject line, and so on. Additionally, the notifications you receive may differ depending on how you have your mail client configured, which is very useful, assuming that one particular piece of software isn’t sending everything To you.

This has been figured out dating back the the old phpbb days and the web forums of the 1990s, so it’s unfortunate that Discourse has dropped the ball on this given the sheer volume of prior art that exists to evaluate. But hopefully we can get them to enhance this somehow.

Well! I replied but then got this response:

Hello,

Our automated spam filter, Akismet, has temporarily hidden your post in “To” headers on Discourse emails for review.

A staff member will review your post soon, and it should appear shortly.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

I’m quite curious to know what was considered spam-worthy in that post though…

Update: it went through after a couple of minutes…

This is a pretty big issue for me too. I have a filter setup to directly send anything addressed to me to my inbox. For now I’ll just need to do what jyknight did.

This is also how the mailing list worked: I am filtering all messages sent to mailing-lists like llvm-dev@ except the ones I am explicitly CC’d on which I want directly in my inbox.

So this isn’t something new, it is just something that Discourse does not seems to handle right now, but it seems like they could (conceptually, I don’t know their codebase).

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