XF 2.2 Activity summary email

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So you've got people to register on your forum and they've made their initial contribution, but once they've done that, how do you keep those members engaged and coming back to your forum? It's an age-old problem. A user registers, they may participate for a while if you're lucky, and then it's really a toss-up as to whether they will stay and become a semi-permanent fixture of your forum, or you never see them again.

Of all the challenges facing forum owners, this one requires the most creative approaches. There are various existing features that are geared towards keeping your members engaged. They can receive alerts, push notifications or emails when content is posted in threads or forums they watch, or you can manually email members periodically to keep them updated with the latest goings-on at your forum. These approaches aren't always effective as they either require explicit action from the user to designate the kind of content in which they are interested, or they require manual intervention from you to create some sort of newsletter.

There must be a better way, right? Well of course there is, or this would be a really short and slightly pointless post.

Activity summary

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The "Activity summary" is an email, periodical receipt of which your members can opt into, which will give them an overview of what they have missed since their last visit to your forum.

A look at the configuration...

Firstly, of course you may switch the feature off entirely if you wish. Though we're not quite sure why you'd want to, as it's awesome.

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We then have three values with which we can control the timing and frequency of when emails should be sent. The defaults are reasonable for most cases and are for the most part self explanatory. By default, we stop sending the activity summary email if the user has been inactive for 6 months, users fitting those criteria are probably a lost cause, but you can override the default and continue sending email to these users indefinitely by setting the value to 0 days.

Registered forum members may opt themselves in or out of receiving the email from their Privacy or Preferences pages:

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Although the "Receive news and update emails" can be toggled independently of the new "Receive activity summary email", we only display the former on registration, but if checked then we will opt the user into the activity summary emails too.

Of course the user can unsubscribe at any time.

You don't know the power of the dark side

Dramatic and irrelevant quote aside, the real power of the system comes from how you can configure the contents of the activity summary email.

In fact, the activity summary isn't just a list of threads but is instead built up using content sections that you can finely configure. Out of the box, these sections are set up to fetch the latest content, but there are several additional filters to allow you to narrow down the content returned in the way you see fit.

For example, you could have a section return the most active threads based on reply count, or the most popular threads based on reaction score. This makes for a much more targeted approach than simply grabbing the latest items, and will be particularly useful for large and busy forums where it will be important to only return the best content from a sea of noise.

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From here you can add additional sections, delete existing sections or change the order that sections appear.

Let's look at how you can change the behaviour of "Latest threads" to only show the latest threads from a specific forum.

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What we've done now is changed the activity summary so that instead of showing the 5 most recent threads from any forum, instead it will show only 2 of the most recent threads from a specific forum.
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We can see those changes reflected in the email, but you can also add additional sections, even if you have previously used that type before. So we can click "Add activity summary section" and add yet another "Latest threads" section.

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This time we'll configure it to pull from the HYS forum. And then we can even add another which can pull from the "General" forum.
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Extensibility

Initially, we will be providing an "activity summary definition" for "Latest threads" and "Latest posts", but as you would expect from XenForo, the system is built with extensibility in mind, and there is plenty of scope for third party developers to build definitions for their own add-on content, allowing forum owners to expand the reach of their activity summaries. For our part, we will be extending support for other first-party XenForo content types as soon as possible.
 

Ozzy47

Well-known member
I had a query about this. Not sure if already answered. Can admins configure this feature to always get the mail in their inbox so that they know what exactly is being sent out?
Now you can,
 

Chromaniac

Well-known member
haha. man. this is going to hurt me bad someday. i have installed so many new addons since i became active here few weeks ago (when the first hys was out)...
 

Chromaniac

Well-known member
Untagged Email Campaigns

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Last detected: 5 Oct, 2020 1:52:49 PM

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Learn more: https://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?answer=1037445&hl=en-IN
seems like a good idea (from an alert from google analytics). there is an existing thread that seems to be focused on adding a similar parameter on all links shared through email (like notifications). makes sense again.
 

Biarritz64

Active member
This is essential because if you consider that over a period of many years many sites have many dormant accounts, upgrading to XF 2.2 would almost immediately mean that you could have hundreds, thousands or in some extreme cases even millions of users who are due to receive the activity summary email.
i agree with you
but i give you an example
before acivity summary email, i used an addon to do the job and now, the members of my community wait for new email.
i am ok not to awake dormant account if members last activity was 10 years ago. but an option that can awake all member that last activity is x days ago will be appreciate. or event better awake dormant account by criteria so for example we can awake all members that already posted x message and last activty x days ago.
 

Mouth

Well-known member
but an option that can awake all member that last activity is x days ago will be appreciate. or event better awake dormant account by criteria so for example we can awake all members that already posted x message and last activty x days ago.
You can do that via ACP function, as stipulated in the post you quoted.
 

Biarritz64

Active member
You can do that via ACP function, as stipulated in the post you quoted.
thank you (amazing)
i have Batch update users with last activity max 365 days ago and disable activity summary email
then again Batch update to enable activity summary email.

So now how many days i have to wait before it sends email to this members? is it egal to "start sending summary email when user has been inactive for" field?

thank you for your help
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Yes that option controls how long a user has to be inactive for before receiving the emails.

You didn’t have to run batch update users to stop inactive users from receiving the activity summary email. That’s already baked in. It’s one of the other options.
 
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