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Enable email delivery of topic subscription notifications for new users by default
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This task is about changing the default channels (e.g. Web / Email / Apps) through which topic subscription notifications are delivered to new users. [i]



  1. Sign up for a new Wikipedia account
  2. Ensure Topic Subscriptions are enabled [i] by visiting Special:Preferences and verifying the Enable topic subscription setting is enabled
  3. Visit Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-echo
  4. Identify the Talk page subscription setting
  5. Verify the following notification delivery channels besides it are "checked": Web and Email


  • The functionality above should only impact new users, for the time being
  • The state of the setting should not depend on how Topic Subscriptions became enabled (e.g. by way of turning on the DiscussionTools beta feature, by way of Topic Subscriptions already being available by default at the wiki you are creating an account on/through, etc.)


  • The default state of the Talk page subscription setting within Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-echo for all new users is adjusted to match the "Functionality" described above

i. Perhaps we can broaden the scope of this default to existing users in the future. For now, I think it is worthwhile to keep it constrained to avoid the risk that people become overwhelmed.

Event Timeline

ppelberg moved this task from Untriaged to Upcoming on the Editing-team board.
ppelberg updated the task description. (Show Details)

Change 713908 had a related patch set uploaded (by DLynch; author: DLynch):

[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] Change email default for subscription notifications

So, that patch changes the default for everyone. "Only affect new users" is a pain, because preferences.

I could plausibly key off of account-age, if that meets your definition of "new users"?

I could plausibly key off of account-age, if that meets your definition of "new users"?

Oh, yes. Good spot, @DLynch.

Is defining "new users" as "all users who create an account at any point after this patch is merged" sufficiently precise?

Could we just change the default for existing users. It's a beta-feature and there's almost no users with subscriptions yet -- locking ourselves into creating preferences rows for all new users forevermore seems sub-optimal.

Path forward
I think we should move forward with implementing the change this ticket is describing: making it so all people who create an account after this patch is deployed and who have topic subscriptions (automatic or manual) enabled will, by default, receive notifications about new comments in topics they are subscribed to via Web and Email.


  • Senior Contributors are more likely to find Email delivery being enabled for topic subscriptions by default unexpected considering notifications about similar events events [i] are NOT configured for Email delivery by default.
  • Junior Contributors will immediately benefit from Email delivery because they are less likely to visit the wiki on their own and in turn, discover someone has said something in a conversation they are interested in.
  • Junior Contributors are less likely to be subscribed to many conversations, and thus, less likely to become inundated with emails about new comment notifications.
  • There is low risk to not enabling Email delivery for dt-subscription notifications considering: A) the introduction of Topic Subscriptions, regardless of the channels through which these notifications are and are not delivered, will increase Senior Contributors' awareness of on-wiki activity and B) Senior Contributors will have an explicit opportunity to ensure the channels through which they receive new comment notifications match their preferences (T262103)

i. Of the communication-related events people can be notified about (edit-user-talk, mention, mention-failure, mention-success, emailuser), mention seems to be most comparable to dt-subscription. mention notifications are NOT configured to be delivered via Email for existing users by default. mention notifications are configured to be delivered via Email for new users by default. See: Special:DisplayNotificationsConfiguration.

As discussed during today's team meeting, we're going to implement the change described in the task description.

Change 721420 had a related patch set uploaded (by DLynch; author: DLynch):

[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] Enable email delivery for our notifications for new users by default

Change 713908 abandoned by DLynch:

[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] Change email default for subscription notifications


New patch with different method

Change 721420 merged by jenkins-bot:

[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] Enable email delivery for our notifications for new users by default

I looked at this and it works as expected. An image of what Talk page subscription setting looks like is attached below.

Screenshot 2021-09-28 at 16.32.16.png (746×870 px, 79 KB)