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Email & Activity frequency

LincLinc Detroit Admin
edited April 2010 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.8
I bookmarked the API discussion last week, and there have been 40 replies in 7 days - which means that's how many emails I've gotten about it and how many alerts I got on my Activity feed here. Lots of noise, very little signal.

So I can either turn off bookmark emails (undesirable) or unbookmark the API discussion (also undesirable). May want a more intelligent notification system at some point. :)


  • May? Do!

    I've been thinking this for a while and completely agree. Something along the lines of only notifying you between visits of replies, and then perhaps once a week sending you a list of topics that you've contributed to that you haven't seen since there have been changes etc.

    Something like that would be far more signal to noise.

    Also, I'd personally rather not have the contents of the reply in the email.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    Can anyone think of a way to do this without running a service? No-one using a download version of Vanilla is going to take the time (or possibly even be technical enough) to set up a service. This is what we've been trying to figure out for a while...
  • Do other forums like phpBB/vbulletin do this using a service?
  • @mark

    ok, i see your concern here, and that is quite valid. i've thought about this in the past, but never moved forward with anything concrete (dropping a line in crontab just ends up taking less time..)

    straw man ideas:

    have a plugin that edits a crontab in the background (only would work on linux, only if crontab is installed)

    have a plugin that starts a long running thread that wakes up at intervals and does a job (wasteful use of resources, hard to debug)

    have a plugin that kicks off an external script running in daemon mode that wakes up at intervals and does a job. (a little less wasteful if the script was done right, and could be made to work cross platform)

    in the end, you're going to need a service of some sort, but i believe it can be done in a way that it is hidden to the user who just has to check a box or uncheck it in their admin page.

    in general, while a digest would be nice, i'm not convinced that this is something vanilla needs internally. what is the bare minimum? maybe just making it very very easy to turn off noisy discussions, and to have limits on notification output (no more than 5 emails a day, 10 emails a week...) would satisfy most users, and someone else can pick up the digest idea at a later point in time.

  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    edited April 2010
    vBulletin's solution was to put a trigger in the code; every page load checks to see if it's time to run the service. Faux cron. Obviously not the most elegant solution but I've used a similar technique before with success.

    Definitely would require some optimizing, too; for instance, maybe it could store the time for the next update as a session variable to avoid multiple unnecessary database hits per visitor. Alternatively have it write the time for next run in the config file - the issue there being to make sure 2 simultaneous hits don't double trigger.

    Just throwing stuff out there. :)
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    edited April 2010
    @S I don't think relying on a third-party service would be a good strategy, but for personal dev that's a mighty interesting link, thanks.
  • Well, phpBB has a good notification system. If you bookmark a topic, you will receive one email about an update in that topic, and won't receive another until you login again. At least I think that's what we are talking about. It's a good way of letting me know there has been activity, without driving me crazy.
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    I suspect phpBB uses a system similar to vBulletin.
  • Possibly. I have never really used a vBulletin board that I've needed to use notifications on. But either way, we still need a more effective way to manage and send notifications.
  • currently does the notify system send the message/comment in the email? or just let you know there was a reply? either way, if i get the first email showing a reply has been made and find that reply not important, but 36 new replies come in that im not aware of.. could be an issue.

    ive always been in favor of multiple notification methods. I would love to see vanilla support in Gwibber.. and mobile support via mobile applications and sms notifications.
  • Currently you get the full comment, which, for me, means I can't be bothered looking at the forum unless I want to reply. But then it still shows up as "unread" on the forums... bah.
  • whats your opinion on email reply support stash ?
  • I like the idea a lot actually, but I believe that it should probably be a plugin, since it can dramatically change the dynamic of a forum and is more of a mailing-list-type feature. Perhaps a Vanilla sanctioned plugin?
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