XF 2.1 Content Email Notifications

Alfuzzy

Active member
I have a couple questions regarding Content Email Notifications. My understanding is members (via their account preference settings can choose/not choose...to receive email notifications. I think this involves three major area's:

  • Conversation messages.
  • Content someone creates (new threads).
  • Content someone interacts with.

My questions are:

1. If someone chooses to receive emails for content they interact with...does this apply ONLY to threads they post a reply to...or does it also include threads they view...but do not reply to?

2. Is there a time limit for receiving email notifications if someone hasn't interacted with a thread in a long time (but that thread has received more posts)?

For example: Someone interacts with a new thread on day 1. Day 2 a new post is added to the thread (and that person gets a notification email). For 3 weeks (21 days) the thread has no more content added. On day 25...a new post is added to the thread...but the person chooses not to interact with that thread when the day 25 post is added.

Since the thread was "cold" for 3 weeks...and this person has not interacted with it since day 2 (even though there was a new post in it)...will this person still receive a new content email notification?

Thanks

p.s. If there's a spot in the manual that explain's content email notifications in detail...please point me to it. I looked...but may not have been using the correct search terms. Thanks
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
1. If someone chooses to receive emails for content they interact with...does this apply ONLY to threads they post a reply to...or does it also include threads they view...but do not reply to?

No it only includes threads they reply to.

2. Is there a time limit for receiving email notifications if someone hasn't interacted with a thread in a long time (but that thread has received more posts)?

For example: Someone interacts with a new thread on day 1. Day 2 a new post is added to the thread (and that person gets a notification email). For 3 weeks (21 days) the thread has no more content added. On day 25...a new post is added to the thread...but the person chooses not to interact with that thread when the day 25 post is added.

Since the thread was "cold" for 3 weeks...and this person has not interacted with it since day 2 (even though there was a new post in it)...will this person still receive a new content email notification?
Yes.
 

Alfuzzy

Active member
Thanks...great to know the notifications are for just thread replies...and not also thread views.

Regarding question #2. If there is a time limit...what is it? Or if it's adjustable...where is the setting?

Thanks:)
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Since the thread was "cold" for 3 weeks...and this person has not interacted with it since day 2 (even though there was a new post in it)...will this person still receive a new content email notification?
I'm not sure @djbaxter is correct by saying "yes" here, though there may be some ambiguity.

You will only get one notification for a thread until you've read it again. You don't have to have posted/interacted with it, but you would need to visit the thread and see whatever the last post in it is. Essentially, if the thread was unread when a new reply is made, you won't get another notification.

(There is one specific case where if there hasn't been a post for the <read marking date limit option value> length of time, then we would send a notification again, as we simply don't have any read marking data to know when you last read it. That would be 1 month by default though and could be set higher.)
 

Alfuzzy

Active member
Here's a hypothetical example (but not unreasonable)...to help clarify the "is there a time limit getting notification emails" for a thread a person has interacted with (posted a reply).

Let's say over a 12 month period of time a person has made a single post in 500 different threads...then never makes a 2nd post in any of them. Does this mean this person for the next 5-10 years (or more) will continue to receive an email notification for any of these 500 threads whenever there's a new post in them?

Thanks
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Making a post is only relevant in terms of the user automatically watching the thread. In terms of receiving a notification for a thread they're watching, it is based entirely on when the last viewed the thread (specifically, the end of). The rule really does boil down to:

Was the thread considered read before the most recent post was made? (That is, it'd show up as non-bold in thread lists for the user.) If so, then they would receive a notification; if not, they won't.

This generally means that a user will only receive one notification until they read the watched thread again.

Given that you're asking about long term timeframes, you might be interested in the "Only send watched content alerts/emails to users active in last" option, which will stop sending watch emails if the user doesn't visit your forum (which can help performance, but also reduce the chance of a user potentially marking these emails as spam).
 

Alfuzzy

Active member
There have been some great answers so far...which is helpful (thanks).

What I would mainly like to know is...what concrete rules are in Xenforo that determine how & when a forum member receives thread content email notifications....and when they stop receiving them. Yes...forum members must select the appropriate account preferences (for automatic emails)...or manually for individual threads (via the "Watch" button).

There has to be some sort of numerical rules...or yes/no rules...behind how Xenforo forum software determines when Content Email Notifications are sent to members...and when they stop receiving them.

Thanks

p.s. In case it helps...the main reason why I'm asking is...occasionally some of my very active members are saying from time to time they're not receiving new thread content email notifications (threads they know they're watching). I want to be able to respond to these members with a logical reason why. Thanks
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
My last post really lays out the main rules that control how notifications are sent. The overarching rule is that they will only receive one notification until they read the thread.

If they get a watch notification and then don't go into the thread on the site (regardless of whether they've read the email for example) and someone else replies a week later, they won't get another notification. Conversely, if they got a notification, immediately read the thread and then someone replied 2 minutes later, they would get another notification. It's entirely about them reading the thread to "reset" the notification.

The option I mentioned previously (to limit to active users) wouldn't really be relevant to users that are actively viewing the site (unless there was something not working correctly on your site, though this seems very unlikely).
 

Alfuzzy

Active member
If they get a watch notification and then don't go into the thread on the site (regardless of whether they've read the email for example) and someone else replies a week later, they won't get another notification. Conversely, if they got a notification, immediately read the thread and then someone replied 2 minutes later, they would get another notification. It's entirely about them reading the thread to "reset" the notification

I get what's being said here...makes sense.:)

The option I mentioned previously (to limit to active users) wouldn't really be relevant to users that are actively viewing the site (unless there was something not working correctly on your site, though this seems very unlikely).

The option mentioned in post #6 above was..."Only send watched content alerts/emails to users active in last" option.

This sounds interesting...I can see how this would stop sending email notifications to forum members if they haven't been active in the past xyz days/weeks/months/etc. Is this an option in Xenforo...if so...where is it located please?

Thanks
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
AdminCP >> Setup >> Options >> Email options

Just below "Soft bounce trigger threshold", see "Only send watched content alerts/emails to users active in last X Days".
 

Alfuzzy

Active member
Thanks very much DJ for the location of that setting. Thanks also to Mike for the detailed explanations! So many settings waiting to be discovered!;)

I think my setting must be the default of 180 days...which doesn't seem to explain why a couple of my very active members were saying they weren't getting notification emails recently. These guys are active almost daily. One of them also says they're getting notifications normally now...thus again...not sure what happened (or if they are just confused).;)

Thanks:)
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
Email delivery is an ongoing issue with many email providers trying tio step up their anti-spam measures.

Tell your members to add the forum email address to their contacts list and/or whitelist. That won't resolve every problem but it may help.

I find it's somewhat cyclical with providers like Microsoft, Gmail, and AOL (yes there are people still using AOL!).

Also check to see if your forum email address or IP address is blacklisted anywhere:


 

Ozzy47

Well-known member
yes there are people still using AOL!

The Simpsons Hello GIF
 

Alfuzzy

Active member
Thanks DJ for that excellent info!

  • Checked Blacklistalert.org...came out fine.
  • Checked mxtoolbox.com...no blacklist issues.

Although mxtoolbox didn't report any blacklist issues...it did report a bunch of "problems".


mxtoolbox.png

Should I be concerned about these?

Thanks!:)
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
Thanks DJ for that excellent info!

  • Checked Blacklistalert.org...came out fine.
  • Checked mxtoolbox.com...no blacklist issues.

Although mxtoolbox didn't report any blacklist issues...it did report a bunch of "problems".


View attachment 242094

Should I be concerned about these?

Thanks!:)
Yes. Or at least some of them. Most email servers now check Reverse DNS (PTR) as a way of verifying that the email originated from where it claims.

The most important are SPF and DKIM records.

PTR and DMARC have become increasingly important with the increase in spam emails and the resulting more aggressive spam filters being used by common email providers.

I don't worry a whole lot about these "warnings" flagged by mxtoolbox.com - they are a tad overinclusive I think and they are flagged as "warnings" not "errors", although others may disagree - the important thing is to have valid SPF, DKIM, PTR, and DMARC records enabled on your email server:
  • Reverse DNS does not match SMTP Banner
  • DMARC Quarantine/Reject policy not enabled
  • Name Servers are on the Same Subnet
  • 15.097 seconds - Not good! on Transaction Time
  • Warning - Does not support TLS
All of those appear for my dedicated server too with mxtoolbox.com and I know my server is correctly configured.
 

Alfuzzy

Active member
Yes. Or at least some of them.
Good deal. I'll look into how I go about getting these taken care of.
15.097 seconds - Not good! on Transaction Time
Is this something due to my server? If so...I'm supposed to have a pretty good server. Someone more knowledgable than me told me my server could handle 5-10x the traffic it has now...thus server performance/server load shouldn't be an issue. Or is this slowness due to more of a configuration thing...rather than actual server performance?
All of those appear for my dedicated server too with mxtoolbox.com and I know my server is correctly configured.
If this is the case...how the heck does someone know when they have things configured correctly...if mxtoolbox.com keeps reporting the same "problems" even after correct configuration?

Thanks much:)
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
Is this something due to my server? If so...I'm supposed to have a pretty good server. Someone more knowledgable than me told me my server could handle 5-10x the traffic it has now...thus server performance/server load shouldn't be an issue. Or is this slowness due to more of a configuration thing...rather than actual server performance?
Probably neither. For one thing, that specific value varies each time you run the test, which suggests to me that one factor is connect speed from mxtoolbox.com.

All of these automated testing sites have limitations, much like Google's tests for mobile readability which is a bit of a joke. I use them only to check whether an address or IP is on a blacklist somewhere so I can take steps to have it removed, and to verify that the DNS records are set correctly and up to date. The rest is basically floss and I ignore it.

If this is the case...how the heck does someone know when they have things configured correctly...if mxtoolbox.com keeps reporting the same "problems" even after correct configuration?
As a said, it's an automated tool with definite limitations. Just ignore it. See above.
 
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