Change of Default Email Settings for all Communities

By Andy Steggles posted Aug 28, 2015 02:35 PM


While working with MGI on our 2015 Benchmark report, one of the areas we looked at, was the impact of various discussion posting related sessions.  What we've found has been quite an eye opener.  

Organizations which have fully embraced email as the default contribution option for replies to threads and new messages have recognized a significant uptick in their engagement.  For example, we found that a thread had up to 4 times the number of replies when members were prompted with the one prominent option to Reply to Group which then defaulted to using their email client.

The Higher Logic Customer Success Team have been working diligently to reach out to clients to ask them to switch over.  So far, only a handful of 100+ customers which we've approached have requested we not make the change and most were of the attitude that we should have already made it for them.  


The following are the two pages which we normally recommend changing:

1.      Mail Processing Rules page: [admin area] – Communities – Discussions – Setup – Mail Processing Rules.

Example url:



2.      Discussion Template: [admin area] – Communities – Discussions – Setup – Discussion Template.

Example url:



You can view all the recommended settings here.


If you would prefer we not make this switch, please let us know before Tuesday, September 8th, when we implement the change globally for all clients which have not specifically requested we leave their settings as-is. So far, we have these orgs which are on the "do not touch" list.



Just to clarify, if your tenant/org is not on the list above, then on Wednesday, September 9th, we will switch your email settings to our recommended best practices.  This should result in improved engagement and reduced friction for your members.


Please contact me directly if you'd like your org added to the "Do Not Touch Discussion Settings" list.


8/31/2015 - Update:

I've received the following questions from clients and so I thought i'd share the responses with all:


  • For the real-time emails, why do you recommend to hide the logo?
    Since real time emails are often read on mobile devices, it can become a real pain for the user to continuously have to scroll past the logo to see the beginning of the actual message.  By removing the logo, you really improve the user experience.  The organization name is also part of the "From" address which is very visible when a message is received, so the user will always know which org it is from.  Notwithstanding this, we always encourage clients to add a default prefix to their subject lines with the organization acronym etc.  This can be done in the Admin - Communities - Discussions - Extended Attributes area.

    While we recommend hiding the logo for "real time" recipients, we don't recommend hiding the logo for the digest version. The reason is that the user still needs to scroll down past the list of subject lines to see the body of the message anyway, so having the logo at the top is not such an inconvenience.

  • Why is it recommended to not allow real-time subscribers to receive plain text messages? 
    Two reasons:
  1. HTML Messages are now sent out in multi-part format which means they receive the message in both plain text and HTML but it is viewed in their email client in which ever preference they have set.  
  2. Most plain text subscribers used this option because it used to be the only format which allowed users to reply via their email client.  We've added new functionality to allow users to reply via email to any format.

  • Why do you recommend allowing users that have not accepted the code of conduct to post/reply? 
    Because it is implied that if you use the service, that you agree to the terms and conditions. Forcing users to click to agree is not normally necessary. If a member does abuse the system and it is their first post, then you can always just refer them to it.  After they have posted their first message, they will most likely want to view the thread or another author's profile which usually leads them to logging in, where they have to agree to the terms anyway.  Bottom line is that the pros usually out-weigh the cons with respect to this.

  • Will the new settings allow members to reply to messages (digest or real time) without forcing them to login?
    Yes.  If a member clicks on either "Reply to Group" or "Post New Message", both will default to using email and so they just type their message and click send.  They don't even have to go to the web.