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email subscription improvements suggestions

Having to contend with a corporate culture of emails, here are some specific suggestions on how email subscription could be improved:

These are the options that I would really like:

  • Send the entire text of the question/answer, not just extract
  • Send HTML formated text (only if entire text is sent)

To support this, I would suggest adding 1 line to the subscription screen like this:

email format:  [ ] snippet   [ ] full html  [ ] full text only (non-html)

These are really not that critical:

  • Ability to subscribe to ALL questions on a site, regardless of tag
  • Ability to subscribe to ALL answers on a site, regardless of tag
  • Don't send email on updates to questions/answers

It would be nice if the elements could be configurable on a user basis, in the subscriptions screen.

Benoit's avatar
updated 2010-10-14 11:02:30 -0500, asked 2010-10-14 07:00:33 -0500
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Ok. The entire text, html formatted will be sent by default (soon). The per-person option "email format" will be added after user profile is moved out of the django user model. This is a requirement that is necessary to make the application reusable with other django applications.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-10-14 18:47:35 -0500) edit
That's fantastic. As not everyone in the askbot community will be enamored with the new default, I would suggest a system wide config element to select between snippet & full html.
Benoit's avatar Benoit (2010-10-15 07:09:57 -0500) edit
I've changed to using "full html" in instant alerts (in the github only so far). At this point I won't be adding a setting, b/c hopefully this choice will make most people happy.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-10-17 02:03:25 -0500) edit
It appears that post.html returns escaped <>! My email shows <div>&lt;p&gt;some answer&lt;/p&gt :( It couldn't be that simple Note that I just patched 0.6.14, so maybe that behavior has changed in the git master
Benoit's avatar Benoit (2010-10-18 18:37:46 -0500) edit
I see, then change one line line to {{content_preview|safe}} in template "instant_notification.html" somewhere near the end (probably line 40). The github code now uses jinja2 templates throughout. They are substantially faster, e.g front page loads quite a bit snappier.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-10-18 19:20:12 -0500) edit
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1 Answer


The html formatted text can be sent easily - I'll get it done soon.

Have you looked into "subscriptions" section of your user profile? Most of those functions are available in a way - not exactly how you've described, but similar.

The defaults are set quite wimpy. At subscription time user chooses whether to receive weekly updates or not (which are sent by a cron job - if you don't have it, there won't be any email), maybe the defaults need to be more aggressive?

Actually there are two email-sending systems: delayed emails - daily or weekly - working via cron job and instant alerts - sent on individual events.

There is no option yet for "don't send email on updates to questions/answers", this needs to be looked at. Also - on separation of "question" and "answer" subscriptions - is that very important? Could you take a look at the "subscriptions" options and suggest how to modify that - if that's what you are interested in?

I guess there is a balance of think of - the settings must be flexible enough and not too complicated for the user and the programmer (the reason I mention this is because it's very tough to test correctness of all the combinations of settings).

edit: now when post (question or answer) is updated, then a diff between the two last versions will be emailed as suggested by asksage people.

Evgeny's avatar
updated 2010-10-26 18:42:06 -0500, answered 2010-10-14 10:49:21 -0500
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It might just be a documentation issue. Will "Entire Forum (tag filtered)" with "exclude ignored tag" with an empty exclude tags list essentially email all questions/answers? If so, then I'm ok with that. Splitting answers vs questions isn't big deal.
Benoit's avatar Benoit (2010-10-14 10:58:14 -0500) edit
Question: I noticed that Q/A I write are not emailed to me. Is this normal behavior? If so, I like it!
Benoit's avatar Benoit (2010-10-14 11:04:02 -0500) edit
Yes, the email sender does not notify you of your own activity and does not send anything about posts that you have seen after the last update (this applies to the delayed notifications).
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-10-14 11:06:04 -0500) edit
however, there might be bugs in the instant emails. On one installation I sometimes get email when I'm not supposed to, hopefully we'll track this down within a week or so.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-10-14 11:08:17 -0500) edit
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