Comment notifications via e-mail

I would like to have a module for Drupal 6 that can send comment notifications via e-mail to people that previously left a comment on my site. I don't want to use the subscriptions module for I don't need a bulky subscriptions framework. I want a light-weight and simple alternative such as the notify module but apparently it is no longer being maintained. A module like notify module would make a good candidate for inclusion into Drupal core so let's port it to Drupal 6, and work on getting it into Drupal 7. Takers?

Comments

Matt Farina (not verified):

Two modules I know of that do this are:
http://drupal.org/project/comment_notify
http://drupal.org/project/comment_subscribe

They are slightly different in what they do, don't require a framework, and can handle anonymous and authenticated users.

October 16, 2008 - 13:08
Wim Mostrey (not verified):

I'm using comment_notify for Drupal 6 and am very happy with it. I'm also using theme_filter_tips_more_info() and theme_filter_tips() to remove the formatting help text to keep the comment form nice and tidy.

Comment_subscribe allows you to subscribe on specific comments, and will only notify you when a reply is made on that specific comment, so I think it's less suitable for core. Comment_notify however is a perfect candidate.

October 16, 2008 - 13:19
BryanSD (not verified):

Comment notify has my vote! It also allows for anonymous users to be notified.

October 16, 2008 - 13:49
George (not verified):

http://drupal.org/project/notify does its tricks for me. Haven't tested it with Drupal 6, though..

October 16, 2008 - 13:58
Wim Mostrey (not verified):

Notify (and most other notifification modules) itself doesn't allow for anonymous users to be notified, which is definitely a must. Comment notify does allow for this, which is a big plus.

October 16, 2008 - 14:05
Pedro (not verified):

I've tested both, comment_notify & comment_suscribe, and I've found comment_suscribe easier to configure and use, and hacking core is not required...

Comment_suscribe works with cron too, so when there are posts with so much comments, these are sent via cron :)

October 16, 2008 - 14:13
Christopher (not verified):

http://drupal.org/project/watcher may also be worth considering, it has worked great for me.

October 16, 2008 - 14:32
Lourenzo Ferreira (not verified):

I've used triggers plus actions to receive notifications on new comments.

I tought it was the simpliest way.

October 16, 2008 - 14:32
Matt Farina (not verified):

So, let's add this functionality to core. See the issue at http://drupal.org/node/322064.

October 16, 2008 - 14:36
Moshe Weitzman (not verified):

I submitted a core issue to have replies module added to core but it got stuck because it requires token module. Token runs on every site I've built recently since it is required by pathauto, and used by CCK, pathauto, custom_breadcrumb, auto_nodetitle, etc. So I don't see it as a problematic dependancy at all.

October 16, 2008 - 14:49
Robert Douglass (not verified):

Triggers and actions is the right way to do this. We have a wonderful toolkit for exactly this type of task that is being overlooked by most people. It needs interface love!

Dries - take a stance on token module, please. It is one of the most useful toolkits for Drupal and is in Acquia Drupal. Dozens of modules depend on it. I would love to see it in core as an enabler for your feature request.

October 16, 2008 - 15:09
Dries:

Thanks for the pointers. I have installed the comment notify module on my site to give it a test run. I've already reported a list of UI issues at http://drupal.org/node/322089. I haven't looked at the code yet, but the UI issues suggest that it might be a bit sloppy and not quite ready for inclusion in core.

I wonder how it will interact with the Mollom module, and if it is smart enough to deal with comment moderation in general.

October 16, 2008 - 15:34
Robert Douglass (not verified):

Aha! I have to leave a message to subscribe to comments! I can't _not_ reply, and I can't get an RSS feed (if I don't like email - hi Boris!)

October 16, 2008 - 16:07
James Walker (not verified):

I'm using http://drupal.org/project/comment_notify on http://walkah.net/ and it seems to work well and is fairly simple. (I run mollom as well, and it seems to be ok).

For my own personal notification - I use a views2 feed of comments (hurray views2).

October 16, 2008 - 16:10
Christian (not verified):

In D6 Comment Notify doesnt require any patching to core and you can also choose if you should get notified of all comments or just the comments on youre comment. Comment Subscribe just notifies about the latter.
My vote is for comment notify to be included in core

October 16, 2008 - 16:12
Robert Douglass (not verified):

So this module that you have now, Dries, sends me a metric ton of text - except it doesn't send me the comment. So I read my mail for about 90 seconds trying to figure out what James had written. Can the admin customize the message? Can you include the comment in the text?

October 16, 2008 - 16:19
Robert Douglass (not verified):

Oh, and when I reply, even though I've already subscribed, the little "Notify me" form is still there. Why doesn't it remember that I've subscribed??? Did I just change the state of my subscription from "for all comments" to "just replies to my comment"?

October 16, 2008 - 16:20
Matt Farina (not verified):

The more I look at this and the modules trying to do this the more I like the idea of the feature but not any of the implementations in the wild. The UX could use some real improvement. Maybe something like the Watcher Module.

October 16, 2008 - 16:33
Dries:

Robert, can you file issues for those things in the issue queue of the module with a reference to this post?

October 16, 2008 - 16:56
Morbus Iff (not verified):

The problem with comment_notify and the like seem to be that I have to leave a comment. But, I don't have anything to say, really, save "yeah, I'm interested in what comes out of this". And I have to do that, now, just to get updates. Lame.

Watcher looks nice, but is non-anonymous only. Lame.

October 16, 2008 - 18:00
greggles (not verified):

Since there are a lot of modules that do similar things I decided to make a comparison chart about it:

http://groups.drupal.org/node/15928

I'm a leetle beet biased on this, but I think that comment_notify is the best if you need anonymous. If you don't probably watcher is the best (though I've only looked at Watcher's UI, not it's code).

Also, my plan for comment_notify is to make it use token module: http://drupal.org/node/273112

October 16, 2008 - 18:08
Dries:

I'd like to get the comment notify module included into Drupal core. Is that something you want to help with, greggles?

Creating a dependency on token module is going to complicate that. Looking at the code of the module, I don't see a strong need to use token module. The code is easy to read and understand as it is. Using token module might make the code a bit more compact, but also more obscure.

October 16, 2008 - 20:19
greggles (not verified):

p.s. as far as I can tell notify module is more for site admins than it is for casual visitors to get specific updates about responses on threads they are interested in.

October 16, 2008 - 18:17
Dave Reid (not verified):

Currently, comment_notify is the best, thanks to the work greggles has done.

If you feel like being amused, people should look at the code in comment_subscribe. You'll laugh, you'll cry. It's like watching a bad movie, but in code. :)

October 16, 2008 - 18:51
Boris Mann (not verified):

Yes, Comment notify is the best ... if you want godforsaken email (hi, Robert!). I'd like it to do comment RSS, too.

Can it be rewritten as actions and triggers? We can work on it for D7, throw out all the pre-conceptions, and aim it at core.

And, it's Drupal, so of course we have a drop down with *3 CHOICES* that's a mile away from the information where it will be sent. A single checkbox, right next to the email address you enter.

And yes, comment notify MUST send the actual content of the comment ...

October 16, 2008 - 19:01
Dries:

Agreed on all points. Either we massage the comment notify module into what we need (e.g. drop some of the options, remove a number of the tokens and fix some user interface issues), or we start from scratch. Either works for me.

October 16, 2008 - 20:22
greggles (not verified):

Thanks for the ideas.

Use check box to subscribe if only one subscription mode is available - http://drupal.org/node/320224 - I've updated it to reflect your point about being close to the e-mail entry form.

Email [sic] is too long - should have content of comment. - http://drupal.org/node/322165 : answer - it's configurable. Proposals of new default text are, of course, welcome, but the original intention of the module is to help build a community around your site and give users a reason to come back. Including the comment by default goes against that goal.

October 16, 2008 - 20:29
Keyz (not verified):

Hey greggles -

Perhaps the default could be to include the first x number of characters from the comment and a link to read the rest and/or additional comments. This would still help meet Comment Notify's original goal (since often the full comment would not be included, thus encouraging a visit to the site), while giving what many users might prefer as a default option. Also I think at least "in part" the very use at all of Comment Notify in any form partly meets the original goal, since receiving the emails is a reminder to readers of topics they're interested in following.

Like some others have mentioned, I'm wondering about the possibility of visitors subscribing to receive comment updates to topics in which they have not posted in. If it ends up without that option, then it retains the same problem we have on drupal.org of "subscribing" posts. For registered users it would be nice to be able to click a link and be immediately subscribed without commenting first. Anonymous users would have to fill in their email if they haven't commented anywhere yet, or it would be pre-filled like D6 comment forms if they have already posted before). For UI I'm imagining a link that pops open a small jQuery box like ShareThis module does with the multiple options inside (or the form for anonymous users).

October 16, 2008 - 21:23
Dries:

I thought about this some more and I think I would prefer to only deal with comment notifications -- or better yet, fold that part in the the comment module in core.

Node notifications for node authors are relatively easy to implement using triggers and actions. We should leverage them better and this sounds like an excellent use case. I think that part of the comment notify module should be removed or refactored.

For core, I'd prefer to start with the comment notifications though.

October 17, 2008 - 09:01
chx (not verified):

Let's write some specs of what we want to see here and then code it... Also, do we want a checkbox to be notified even if you do not comment (i would say yes)? If yes, then how are we going to cope with the resulting ginormous table?

October 16, 2008 - 20:56
Matt Farina (not verified):

Let's start writing some specs. We have an issue at http://drupal.org/node/322064.

October 17, 2008 - 13:38
Andrew Berry (not verified):

It's funny, this is something I've dealt with in the past week for a client of mine. We're coming at this from the other end; all comments are moderated, but there's no way to notify those with moderator permissions about new comments in core. I'd initially planned on using Comment RSS, but it only works on published comments. For those who are not really comfortable with blogging or web publishing (but required to post blog entries by their business), comment notifications are key since they are unlikely to visit the site on their own.

I'm currently evaluating the Subscriptions module, but it has too many dependencies and is really quite heavy. If I don't find a single solution which works for both readers and moderators, I'll probably end up writing a patch; but the question is, for which module?

--Andrew

October 17, 2008 - 01:53
Gábor Hojtsy (not verified):

Hi Robert, Boris! The comment RSS module I maintain :) Generally, custom comment RSS is easy to do with Views 2 (I put in some effort to help out there), but comment RSS is a "core extension" as in it provides functions to do comment feeds for stuff provided by core already (sitewide comments, per taxonomy term comments and per node comments). This might be a good alternative for the RSS-savvy. It is a nice and simple install (IMHO) for a site, and could very well be integrated to Drupal 7 if it seems like a good idea.

October 17, 2008 - 13:28
Andrew Fountain (not verified):

I have been looking for a similar kind of solution, but was going to use the notifications module.
I felt that this was the more "Drupal" way of doing things since this module provides a lightweight general notifications framework (something that is needed in Drupal) and uses plugins for specific purposes.

It would make much more sense to put this light framework in core and extend core comments to support it.
My problem with putting comment notifications in core is that it is a specific solution to a general problem (notifications) and its status of being in core will hinder the development of a general notifications framework for Drupal.

October 21, 2008 - 04:29
dave (not verified):

very interesting discussion - i'm a big fan of watcher and comment notify but also agree a bit with andrew right above: putting this in core imposes new restrictions on the white space that currently exists for module developers.

right now, drupal is lean and mean, there's a title and a body on nodes and that's about it (i'm kidding, but you get my point). start adding more to core and you turn an already nerdy interface and setup process into something that's far more intimidating to new users (have you visited the support forums and done a random search for 'newbie' or 'noob'? take a look)...

as for dries' comment above, "Node notifications for node authors are relatively easy to implement using triggers and actions." yes, wonderful. but what about for users? handling notifications or managing a notifications framework should be pushed to a workhorse module (there are a couple, notifications for d6 is one) - what you refer to is a set of 'workflow' configurations that make sense to many readers of this thread, but makes ZERO sense to the other 90 percent of people installing drupal who are like "a rule? trigger? trigger for authors? does it have a link to unsubscribe? is it a module? what's an action?" that just scares new admins,

i do believe that comment_notify is a brilliant solution to a standard problem - and with the ability to register "follow" as a request without a submission (perhaps such a request simply inserts a randomized sequence of X characters into a hidden comment on the node to get this done for other tracking and measurement purposes?)

watcher looks very promising - to me that is *equally* interesting for inclusion in core (i mean, if you're gonna start looking at things that should be in core around notifications...why not "queue mail" module too?) - in fact, since we have all registered ourselves to comment over at drupal, it is in fact the watcher approach that will get rid of that horrible "subscribe" blemish within threaded support discussions, not comment_notify...

just my two cents. also @keyz, regarding the "sharethis" button, at moshe's request i elaborated upon the *exact* same idea for consolidation of node activities just this past week - and this is something that i really think should be generalized for ALL module developers. you can read the full posting at:http://mrzilla.wordpress.com/

sometimes i really feel like drupal is constantly standing on the fulcrum - i mean, for years - on one side is super elegant but intimidating nerd super structure and on the other side is ease of use - you can't really have it all and move forward in a dynamic and robust way; trying to serve everybody will impose harsh restrictions. there's a reason why my mom and dad don't run solaris at home, or run oracle 11 to manage their checkbook at home...
...
...
i think you gotta kinda stand back and ask yourself a way bigger question: what kind of musicians do you want your drupalers to be: do they have to learn to read music and standard notation to play the song correctly, or do you want them to be able to play almost everything by just looking at tab sheets and never knowing a thing about keys, scales etc...you follow me?

if drupal requires serious education, you create an elitist cms with some homeschool opportunities for the masses - if drupal starts picking and choosing an 'easier core' configuration (by putting more modules into core) then you are prescribing functionality, and that alienates people who want more (think back to when dreamweaver came out *after* vermeer put out frontpage - the world changed for that audience - do you want to be dreamweaver or frontpage? who exactly is drupal for - five years from now? next year? ten years?)

holy CRAPOLA! i meant to write like two sentences, but man oh man how i let it run away from me again...diarrhea of the hand, sorry ;)

October 29, 2008 - 02:44
Christoph C. Cemper (not verified):

Hey Dries & co,

it's a great satisfaction for me to read that you finally agree and see the need for "standard features" of other "blogging type" systems that take comments (read Wordpress & co) in the core.

Back 2 years when I started comment_notify ( see http://weblog.cemper.com/a/200608/22-module-for-comment-notification-for... ) I remember that I had some weird discussions with hardcore-core coders that found this basic feature (which was even already supported in 2003 versions of MovableType and the like) too exotic :)

I fully agree with Dries - the comment-notification should be an option of the comment module - that's where it belongs to... users can always turn off/configure it...

I believe the TOKEN module was introduced at some point to help customize those notification e-mails...

But then, WHY on earth is the TOKEN module not part of the core yet???

cheers from Vienna
Christoph

November 1, 2008 - 15:51
ChanHan Hy (not verified):

While i'm finding it, now I've very happy to get these modules here because i would like the system send notification email to authenticated users or anonymouse users when they post the comment on my website. So let i try with these.

Thanks,
Best regards,
ChanHan Hy

December 24, 2008 - 09:59
sanatate (not verified):

I'm using http://drupal.org/project/comment_notify on http://www.i-medic.ro and it seems to work well and is fairly simple.

February 4, 2009 - 18:48
Jakob Persson (not verified):

A stable release of Watcher for Drupal 6 was released today.
http://drupal.org/project/watcher

Besides a number of minor improvements, Watcher now supports anonymous users watching nodes.

I'm working on the 1.1 version which will include a couple of popular and frequently requested features.

For a comparison of all notification modules, please see Greggles' feature matrix:
http://groups.drupal.org/node/15928

February 14, 2009 - 19:28
Slobodan (not verified):

Watcher looks nice. I can say like someone who is not PHP Developer.
Watcher have nice interface... and it`s easy to configure.. also look well whan user recive message into their inbox.
I was try another as well like:notifications module,comment subscribe... but watcher is simply the great:)

February 15, 2009 - 23:18
Gabriel RADIC (not verified):

Hello all,

IMHO, it's essential to allow users to subscribe without having to post a comment. http://drupal.org/node/288726 On one of my larger community sites, I have comments *only* open to registered users. (Long story, but this works better for us.) This doesn't fit in the current comment_notify workflow.

The Watcher module workflow sound much better. If it only had the option to subscribe *only* to replies to a comment, it would be the perfect design.

-- GR

March 5, 2009 - 13:22
Amnon Levav (not verified):

Gabriel wrote "IMHO, it's essential to allow users to subscribe without having to post a comment"

His comment uncovers a much deeper issue which must be dealt with correctly - the issue of auto registration workflow - a term I've phrased more then two years ago.

Really, nobody wants to subscribe. Regular users wants to instantly post! That's why it's important to make the subscription process as smooth as possible, and a part of core.

We all want real users to easily post content. That's the whole point of a CMS. That's why subscription must be a SMOOTH, INVISIBLE part of the drupal CMS.

My design above is ready to use - to allow every user purchasing a product, adding a comment, subscribing or rating a post to be auto-subscribed. Otherwise it's a TOWER of BABEL. This is the real need! United framework!

This architectural point is essential to make drupal rule the world. And you can make it happen! It's really not a large task - but it's very important!

This can be done in D6 with an addon module. I've once asked Roshan Shah for an estimate and the investment is modest. Or a student can do it - under our mentoring. And you may have other ideas as well. This is one of the biggest drupal usability issues

Please forward this post to the people who can make it happen.

Thanks

Amnon
-
Web Architect | Funder - Drupal Israel | Drupal Project Management | Ecological Entreprenour

March 13, 2009 - 14:18
Kate (not verified):

The problem I have with all of these modules is the inability to reply to the comment via email. I have the notification set up properly, but sometimes I'd like to reply to a particular comment by hitting the "Reply" button in my email. This is set up in every other blogging tool, why not Drupal? I've been searching for this feature for a few years now and it's the only thing holding up a few of my MovableType clients from converting.

April 17, 2009 - 16:28
Jakob Persson (not verified):

It's certainly a nice feature. Problem is it requires you to set up an email account that Drupal can poll. PHP has built-in support for POP3 and IMAP so adding that functionality isn't particularly hard. However I doubt many people think it's worth going through the trouble of setting up a custom email account just to allow reply by email. What would the demand for such a feature be?

Jakob Persson
aka Solipsist
Maintainer and creator of the Watcher module

April 30, 2009 - 18:45
Chris Mylonas (not verified):

Hi Kate,

Replying to comments can be done using Mail Comment (formerly named mail2web, but renamed recently due to a trademark of the mail2web name).

I've been using it on a test site, and it is _very_ useful.

It sends an email with a line that says "((((((((REPLY ABOVE THIS LINE))))))))" - when you reply above that line, the rest is stripped away.

I am currently updating my site after release of my own project and am looking for decent comment / forum topic notification - of course, without filling up my inbox(!)

So far, I can't find a decent comnbination of Forum Post + Comments. It's either one or the other, but not both!

November 23, 2009 - 09:51
Igorik (not verified):

Hi

I would like to share my experiences with various notification modules.

I used 10 months notifications (after upgrade to D6 I had to find solution for subscription what was ok for me in Drupal 5), so I started to use notifications. But I each new day was so tired how there is everything so complicated to set, an so many settings, bad and similar names for different things/permissions. I used it because og_notifications but there (in og_notifications) is so many bugs too so I uninstall Notifications+Messaging today with great feeling of freedom and happiness. :) Messaging+Notifications is typical example when the module is developing by developer with absolutely no focus on usability.

Then I try comment notify, I read a lot about it in this discussion, where Dries, wanted to find something simple, so I had a big expectations about it, but it was sooo bad, no option to easy watch/unwatch node, you have to send comment when you wanted to watch some node with checked checkbox, unwatching that node was doable again with send a comment (or by link in email), ... so bad and so hard to use for me, I found nothing easy to use on this module. I uninstall it after 2 hours of trying it, really disgusting of it.

Then I found watcher, and from that moment I am happy. This is how I think it could works. Easy to use, easy enable/disable watching node right on node page, just click on the link, no need to send comment. Easy to understand settings and list of watched nodes, easy to understand settings with nice global options for everybody (but still with option to customize...)

So, these are my 2 cents for this discussion, maybe it will help somebody else.

November 10, 2009 - 01:39
sarah (not verified):

This is great and thanks for sharing but I'm looking a module that will weekly email to all users most popular content of the sites, I just let my users know what news on the site.

Please advice thanks in advance.

sarah

December 2, 2009 - 14:43
Matt (not verified):

I found that most of these modules lack a way for all users of a specific role to be notified about new comments (instead of just the author). I accomplished this with the Rules module:

http://drupal.org/project/rules

February 23, 2010 - 20:04

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