Activity Summary emails are the digital equivalent of junk mail.


View attachment 227448So 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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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.
Just sharing my subjective opinion here.
i find these 'Activity Summary' emails to be the digital equivalent of junk mail. Regardless from whence they originate.

i struggle to grasp why community board hasn't yet noticed the glaring opportunity presented in and of it's existence and which could potentially resolve fundamental issues facing almost every community board leader/owner & such.

So, what was the reasoning for creating those bloody annoying 'Activity Summaries'?

From what i can tell, it's premised upon counteracting entropic membership & participation, and maybe it works to some degree.

It seems more like a cork crammed into one of numerous holes on a rusty bucket.

XF is fantastic, don't get me wrong, and overall it's better than any others i've seen—and in certain respects these discussion boards are vastly superior to any of the preeminent social media platforms—and yet those social media are also vastly superior in other respects.

Forgive my technical ignorance, but i am at a loss as to why XF hasn't created an additional/or optional integration which would enable hosting audio/video media similarly as YT, BT,...or even just a basic variant like the infinite scrolling thing Telegram's lazily rocking.

🤣 Maybe ya'z already have and i'm still too ignorant, i really dunno.

But anyways, back to the first point now; the glaring opportunity i mentioned.

To me it seems obvious, this community board ought to be functioning as a central hub for all the various "niche" XF communities—in general—rather than just a hub for XF technical stuff.

Of course it'd require considerable efforts to achieve a viable means for this and i couldn't possibly figure out exactly how on my own—yet just look at all the remarkably intelligent and creative individuals who comprise this community right now.

Is it not the case that we all generally seek to better enable our independent XF based communities the means to flourish?

Especially with the fast food junk social media juggernaut looming evermore imposing over our slower paced-deliberated home cooked meat & potatoes social media communities.

Perhaps i'm mistaken, infact i suspect i will be in certain regards,... however i am so sure that what is urgently needed to empower XF (*& other) communities asap—is a collaborative central hub.
😂i am not kidding, as i have actually already invested thousands attempting to develop something like this myself. However i am simply some unknown random and no one would follow a no body to achieve something benefitting all of us. Therefore i reluctantly am sharing a vague description of my idea here for XF officials, staff, associates & all independent XF based community leaders to optionally consider/or not.

Frankly i think a concept proposed by a brilliant chap going by the handle @EchoRomeo , may yield a viable avenue for approaching a collaborative central Xenforo hub.

However i'll leave any further elaboration on that specific concept up to @EchoRomeo to decide whether or not to share. imo it is rather genius.

Now in conclusion-(& before ya'll set to pointing out flaws, rationalizing excuses and whatnot)- At least momentarily try to recognize the enormity of potentials we could bring to bear by collectively working together for achieving such a mutually beneficial goal, as i have lazily proposed here—which is fundamentally premised upon each participant realizing this significance—and necessitates an established LEADER to LEAD the charge-(😏i'm looking your way Xenforo)

Alrighty, i've said my bit. Ya'll may proceed with tearing me to shreds now.
What is the reason for moving my post to it's own thread?
🤨"more appropriate" ?!

Please explain.
Probably because you replied in an old thread and your reply is about to get a lot others to reply and staff didn't want the other thread cluttered up. Simple as that, I would have moved it to a new thread as well.
Oh, that makes perfect sense.

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