XF 1.5 User messaging improvements and welcome contact

The ability to Email Users from the Admin CP based on user search criteria has been part of XenForo since its very first release. In XenForo 1.5 we have enhanced this and added some additional ways of contacting your users.

Alert Users

Using the same search criteria that can be used to email users, you can now mass send Alerts to your users. By default, an alert will appear to be from your own account. Alternatively you can leave this blank (a default avatar is shown instead) or enter the valid username of another user.

Most alerts sent on the forum have at least one "PopupLinkItem" link. The purpose of this is so that when the alert is clicked, it is that particular link which is navigated to, e.g. if you click on a watched thread alert, it will take you to the new post in that thread. We can do that with "Alert Users" too. Although you can use HTML to insert as many links as you need, if you populate the URL and title field, you can then use the {link} placeholder in the alert body which will automatically add the popup link. If you provide a link and that placeholder isn't used, it will be appended to the alert text automatically.

You can, of course, test the alert before sending which will send it to your own account.


Message Users

Similar to Email Users and the new Alert Users, there is now a similar interface to start conversations with matching users in bulk.

A conversation will be started by the named user with each of the users matching the criteria. To avoid your Inbox being filled with many conversations, you can choose to leave the conversation as soon as it is sent.

To preview a Conversation before it is started, there is a Preview button on the confirm page:


Deferred Sending
A slight improvement which affects Email Users and the two new methods of contacting users is that we now pass the process of sending to a Deferred task. This should be more reliable and in case something goes wrong it should also be possible to resume from where it left off.

To a certain extent, the deferred tasks may also be reusable by developers for other tasks.

Basic Phrase Support
You may have spotted it in the screenshots above for Message Users and Alert Users. We now support a very basic phrase syntax in all three of our contact user systems:
This isn't as advanced as the phrase system used in templates, it doesn't support the use of named parameters in phrases, for example. It will, however, allow you to create basic phrases which should make it easier to contact users on a multi-lingual board.

New User Welcome
A popular suggestion we are implementing in XenForo 1.5 introduces the ability to welcome newly registered users to your forum.

In User Registration Options there are now two ways to do this:

The interface for sending the welcome contacts should look somewhat familiar to the Email/Message Users interfaces.


One key difference for the welcome message, is that you can opt to start a welcome conversation with more users in addition to the new user. For example, you may wish to start a conversation with the new user and include some key staff members in the conversation too. The first named user will be the starter of the conversation, subsequent users will be additional recipients. In the example above, XenForo is the conversation starter, but Chris D would be a participant in the conversation alongside the new user.

Once the new user is created (after the user_state becomes "valid"), they will receive the welcome message and, if applicable, an email notifying them a conversation has been started with them.

The conversation starter and the additional recipients (not including the new user) will not receive the conversation email alert and the conversation will be marked as read.

The welcome email interface is a little more self explanatory.

Both of these methods also support the new basic phrase syntax mentioned above.

That's it for today's look at XenForo 1.5 :)
No, it's only triggered on registration (if straight to valid), on account confirmation or when an unapproved user is approved.
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