New OpenRefine Email Notification Settings: What You Need to Know

Yesterday, we changed this forum's default email notification system. From now on, users will receive automatic notifications for new emails in the News and Announcements and Support categories. As a subscriber, you may notice an increase in emails. This change was made intentionally, and in this post, we explain how you can manage your email subscriptions and why we made this change.

Managing your subscription

If you want to receive less email, you can

Why the change?

This change comes from discussions and suggestions on improving the notification on our new forum.

Several previous subscribers of the Google group discussion list have reported relying on email notifications to keep themselves updated on OpenRefine. Most of these notifications were set up to receive alerts for every message. Unfortunately, some users stopped using the forum because of the default Discourse set up with Activity Summary notification, which sent a lot of irrelevant emails to users, causing them to ignore the emails altogether.

When changing the default configuration, Discourse applied the change to all users who have not previously updated their email preferences. We hope this change will result in increased engagement from the community and more users helping each other in the support section.

We understand that this change came unexpectedly for some of you, especially if you see it as an increase in unwanted notifications. We sincerely appreciate you taking a few minutes to adjust your email preferences. This not only helps in tailoring your experience but also aids us in supporting the OpenRefine community.

Thank you


It was a bit surprising but I think it's a great idea! Thanks.

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I wonder if we shouldn't have set the default to "Tracking" instead of "Watching"? I was already getting email for the entire forum (by using the mailing list mode) but after the change, the new messages in the support category appear in Discourse as notifications on top of that (as if I had been mentioned there). I don't know if people would get email notifications using the "Tracking" level though (as I expect most people did not turn on the mailing list mode).

The motivation behind the change is mainly for the forum users who haven't changed their default notification settings. Moving to "Watching" as default make sure they receive all updates from the two categories. Users who rely mostly on the web interface to follow the forum can change their notification level to either Watching or None, based on their preference.

Two weeks after the changes, I would like to suggest moving the sub-category Community announcements from the News and Announcements category to Community.

The News and Announcements category is intended to be a source of low-volume, important information. However, recently, we have been posting call minutes and other operational updates, which I think defeats the purpose of the "low-volume" intent of the news section.

Perhaps we should add that intention to the About the News and Announcements category post and also add a few examples of what is important enough and what is the limit of posts per week to keep it low-volume. That will make the intention clear and avoid a future scenario where the number of posts will naturally grow as activity in the community increases.

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