Changes to New Comment/New Reply Notifications and Default Delivery Method for Subscriptions

As part of our work to consolidate automatic web notifications and subscriptions (which can be sent via email or web), there have been some changes in how notifications will work moving forward. This also fixes some issues we've had with double notifications when a user is explicitly subscribed to nodes. The two main changes are:

  1. As of 1 May 2018 (morning), the system will no longer be automatically sending web notifications until users opt-in to receive them.

  2. From Friday May 11 2018 7am onwards, the default delivery method for thread, store, user or category subscriptions will also be changing from email to web. You will no longer receive the emails for thread, store, user or category subscriptions subscriptions unless you opt-in to each subscription type as instructed in the emails from 7-11 May. This change does not affect newsletter, front page alerts and search alerts which are email only.

For the first change mentioned above, what used to happen was notifications would automatically be sent a user when:

  • replies have been made to his/her comments
  • top-level comments have been submitted in a thread that user created

regardless of whether the user had previously turned on 'Auto-subscribe' or not.

For those who did not previously turn on 'Auto-subscribe', if you wish to continue to receive the same notifications, please make sure you have it turned on. To do so, go to 'My Account'->'Subscriptions', and on the 'Threads' page, under Auto-subscribe option, and select either:

  • new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster


  • every new comment

Under Notifications, choose your preferred delivery method. If you want to receive web notifications, make sure the 'Web' checkbox is checked.

Then save your settings.

Note that if you previously did not turn on auto-subscribe, turning it on now with either option above will only affect new nodes from now on. You will still be unsubscribed to previous nodes.

Thread subscription settings

You will also see three options when subscribing to individual nodes, which are:

Node subscription settings

For any nodes that you have previously subscribed to, you will be receiving notifications for every comment. You may adjust this to be 'replies only' if you wish.


  • +5

    But why make such a major change now? Wouldn't it be more logical if you made it opt-out instead? It goes against most UX practices since you're forcing everyone to make a change considering most non-tech people wouldn't understand this setting very well?

    • As subscription delivery methods can be web or email, making it opt-out would mean sending out emails to people who have not opted-in which we were trying to avoid.

      • I don't think this answers the question? :-/

  • +1

    Any connection to GDPR or similar privacy/marketing regulations? No issue from me on the change.

    • Not related. Consolidating new comment and reply notification has been on the card for quite a while, as well as reducing the number of out bound emails.

      As GDPR, we are looking at a few options. Still have 3 weeks before enforced :) Worst case would be kicking off all the EU users and remove their data.

      • +3

        lol. I honestly didnt even know notifications by email were a thing since the default was just web notifications and wouldnt really impact on your services / emails as such. I think most people would just be happy with just web notifications to be on and opting into other more advanced forms of notifications or disable altogether.

        Just saying - "if it aint broke.."

        • "if it aint broke.."

          It kinda was. We were sending duplicate notifications to people who had explicitly subscribed to nodes.

      • +2

        GDPR shouldn't affect OzB.

        What's key here is whether you "envisage offering services to data subjects in one or more Member States in the Union" or in other words, are you specifically targeting Europeans.

        It's pretty clear that OzB is not a community that specifically targets EU states, so AFAIK it shouldn't apply.

        • Ha. I've been reading about this subject over the last 2-3 months and there is a wild range of opinion on the implication of GDPR for community websites. The rules are pretty ambiguous as well. Don't know anyone that can say that they are the definite authority in what will happen.

          Also remember that OzBargain is both the data controller and processor. There are ads on this website + Google Analytics, and we have ~1% of EU visitors. One of them could request OzBargain for all the personal identifiable information collected or have them erased. While OzBargain has no EU presence and not under their jurisdiction, I have also heard that there are already "no win no fee" lawyers there offering to sue websites. Like DMCA takedowns, often you can't just give them a finger and ignore them.

          We'll see.

  • +1

    When you say web notifications do you just mean on the website or do you mean like those popup navigational on the web browser (that are really annoying).

    • The notifications on your browser that was rolled out back in 2015. This post explains it better though the details about the settings are a little out of date.

  • I love you moocher =D.

  • +1

    This is a big pain in the backside for new users. I have done as directed :)

  • What happened with the change is the previously, when a new comment was posted, there can possibly fire 2 notifications:

    • New comment notification to the node subscribers. This is in either email or web/desktop notification.
    • Reply notification to the parent commenter or OP (in the case of top level comment). This is only in web/desktop notification.

    So the goal was to consolidate those two notifications together to solve issues such as:

    • Getting 2 notifications when someone replies you on a thread you are subscribed to.
    • Unable to turn off reply notification on a node that you no longer wish to be notified (for example OP of a competition post who kept on getting reply notifications from others posting their cascading referral link).

    Another issue we are trying to resolve is to reduce number of emails sent out. We often send out more than 100k emails a day mostly notifications. So somewhere down the line we might have another change to default to web/desktop notification & default to subscribe to new replies (old behaviour), but users can change back to email or subscribe to everything.

    • Why can't we neg you?

      • He is the chosen one!

    • So there's no way to have "new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster" on web and "every new comment" via email anymore? it has to be one for both deliveries?

      • That's correct. Now both of them are under the same new comment notification (instead of 2 different notification mechanism) and cannot have separate delivery method (i.e. web, email or both).

        • Damn!

        • scotty, any way to have these separated? Ever since it's been changed, I've found that much more convenient than having a universal setting.

        • @CVonC: This is part of major overhaul to the notifications. Unfortunately we cannot provide extra options to have those notification separated.

  • I'd like auto-subscribe for posts I create but not those I comment on.
    Edit: I think the middle setting will work how I want.

  • Hot on the heels of GDPR is the EU ePrivacy Regulation. Expect this to be released soon.

  • +2

    Can we remove the announcement banner from the front page?

    • It is scheduled to be removed at 12pm today.

    • It seems that many users still haven't seen the front page banner. We will leave it up for a bit longer.

      • +1

        It'd be nice to have an X or mark as seen box so it is removed for the logged in user. Next time maybe.

  • +3

    Can the huge ozbargain logo be removed from emails.

  • I've noticed that when people reply to comments I get a notification, but once I've clicked on the comment it disappears from my notifications on the web? Any setting that will fix this? Ideally I'd prefer it all to be the old way without a hundred emails a day.

    Edit: Realised I had no option checked. Maybe new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster will do what I want?

    • once I've clicked on the comment it disappears from my notifications

      Not sure if I understand completely, but in general, your most recent notifications should still be there if you click on the bell icon. If you want to see all your previous notifications, click on See All. This should be independent from your subscription settings.

      • Hmmm it was early morning so maybe I'm dreaming but I swear I received a notification and it disappeared. Looking at settings I think every new comment is what I'm after. I did notice yesterday that I was being auto subscribed to non-rep posts automatically.

        • If you want to receive a notification for every new comment, not just replies to your comments, then the 'every new comment' is what you want.

          The Auto-subscribe settings are the defaults. If enabled with either option (every comment or just replies), once you post a thread or comment in a post, you will be subscribed with that option. You can then 'fine-tune' for each individual thread if you wish.

        • @moocher: Makes sense thank you.

  • I get too many emails myself, I just want email when direct reply, not any reply to a thread.

    • In that case you can change your auto-subscribe settings from 'every new comment' to 'new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster'.

  • +2

    Explains why I've missed so many replies recently.

    • +1

      Same. I thought, “wow, my notifications has been super quiet” and I go back to threads and have 3 or 4 replies but no notifications…

  • great work team!!!

  • I don't get this. I'm not getting notifications when someone responds to my comments. But when I turn on the subscription then it notifies me every time a thread that I comment in has a new reply. How do I get it back to the old system where it's just notifications when it's your own deal/reply?

    • The 'new replies' option is the one you're after. To have this as the default option for every thread, make sure your 'Auto-subscribe' option is set to

      new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster

      to match.

      • +1

        Awesome, I think that should work

  • Great thanks, less distracting notifications for me.

    Could you in future consider separate settings for deal and forum posts?

  • My notifications have stopped coming through to the bell icon thing, what's that referred to as?

    • what toggle to make it normal again please sir mods?

      • Go to your subscriptions -> threads setting. Have "Auto-subscribe" set to

        new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster

        Also Notifications changes to "Web" — you'll then

        • Automatically subscribed to replies-only on the threads you posted or commented on.
        • Notification will come via web/desktop popup, rather than via email.
  • How can I disable the announcement on the front page? Its taking up deal space.

    • Probably a temporary thing

    • It's going to be temporary — ends tonight (or tomorrow night?)

      We originally had that announcement for a day when the change was pushed out on Tuesday. However we are still getting inquiries so I guess many have not read the forum post so decided to put the announcement block back for a bit longer today.

  • Could we get a filter added for the title when a state is included, eg only include posts that have [VIC], or exclude those with other states, etc?

    It would save a lot of irrelevant emails.

    • General suggestions belong in this thread, but the answer is we don't have specific database fields for storing location at the moment, so we are unable to filter as such.

      • Sorry and thanks

        • No worries!

  • I liked how in the old way I got emails for custom alerts and web for direct comment replies. Is this still possible?

    • Custom search alerts will continue to be sent via e-mail.

      I checked your thread subscription settings and you currently have auto-subscribe set at 'new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster' and web delivery turned on, so you should get the behaviour you are after. However, you will need to subscribe for the threads that you commented on before you selected the auto-subscribe option.

  • this new system is weird, now my notification got spammed by every deals from "Ebay Australia" stores eventhough i dont subscribe to the individual stores. how can i resolve this? i still want to subscribe to all ebay discount codes. plz help.

    • The number of notifications has not changed recently - if a deal has in the URL and you are subscribed to, then you will be notified regardless of the seller. Sorry there's currently no differentiation, you'll either have to be subscribed or unsubscribed.

  • Merged from Not getting any new notifications

    Is this happening to anyone else? For about a week now, I don't get any notifications. I've checked the settings, and there's nothing in there about disabling notifications or anything like that.

    Unless there is, and I'm not seeing it.

    Anyone had this before?

  • There has been a bug found for those who have previously saved their subscription settings with neither 'web' nor 'email' options checked - the delivery option did not default to 'web' as promised in the description. This fix will be rolled out tomorrow morning, apologies for the inconvenience.

    This bug does not affect people who have:

    • never saved their subscription delivery options, or
    • those who have checked at least one delivery option.
    • This has now been rolled out.

  • Merged from Notification Bell Doesn't Work Anymore?

    Hi all, I noticed in the last week or so that my notification bell doesn't show any new comments on my post anymore. Does anyone experience the same thing? I checked my settings and it hasn't changed which shows ticked for Show notification bell.

    • +1

      Yes it's annoying now that if you comment in a thread you automatically get subscribed to it and get notified of all comments then you have to unsubscribe manually.

      • If you don't want to to be automatically be subscribed, you can change yours thread settings, under Auto-subscribe, select:

        • no notifications

        Then manually subscribe only to the threads that you want notifications for.

    • @peuwayaqdq You'll have to turn on Auto-subscribe in your thread subscription settings if you want to receive notifications automatically for all your posts, or manually subscribe to individual posts.

  • My notifications aren't working, even though I ticked the option to get notifications for replies.

    • Your settings are for replies via web, but you also have "Send at most one notification between my viewings of the thread" checked, so you'll only get one notification per thread between the times you read the thread, instead of every reply. If you want a notification for every reply. please select:

      Send as many notifications as there are updates

      • Thanks, and I got a notification for this reply so something must be working :)

        • Good to know :)

  • Also, I don't know if this is a bug or not, but sometimes notifications get cleared by visiting them and sometimes they don't, and I have to mark all as read to get rid of them. I haven't worked out what is different been the times it gets cleared by visiting the page and the times it doesn't.

    • I've been experiencing this bug since the change too. IIRC, notifications sometimes become marked as new again even after Mark as read is clicked.

  • I can't disable web notifications on users, stores etc under settings > subscriptions. After I untick web and save it just reverts to web after refreshing the page. What silly thing am I missing?

    • You can't be subscribed without having a default notification method, and the system default is 'web'. If you wish to unsubscribe completely to something, please check the checkboxes for the users/stores and click on 'unsubscribe'.

  • Merged from notifications not appearing for me anymore

    hi team, i thought maybe it was just me but i've noticed that any notifications are not coming up for me anymore… tried to check settings etc but couldn't find anything.. is there a known issue or is it just my account?

    • Show notification bell.

    • Looks like your settings are currently set to No Notifications. Go to your Subscriptions and select a new option.

      • cool thanks i've adjusted :)

      • ok so i thought i adjusted it but it just has a notification when someone posts something in the post.

        i actually just want to be notified when someone just responds to my post within a thread which happened before

        is that possible with any of the options in subscriptions as i've tried to change it but doesn't seem like its what it was before?'

        hope i made sense

        • Settings -> show notification bell

          Looks like you missed my earlier reply.

        • You have chosen 'new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster' which is the correct option for replies to your posts. However, if you look further down the page, you are now subscribed to two nodes. In the instructions in the main post above, it says:

          Note that if you previously did not turn on auto-subscribe, turning it on now with either option above will only affect new nodes from now on. You will still be unsubscribed to previous nodes.

          So you will still have to manually subscribe to previous individual threads that you want.

  • +1

    ozbargain makes life needlessly complicated again. notifies everyone by a banner on the front page which some people never visit.

  • +1

    I'm probably not smart enough to understand everything going on but based on myself I imagine this confusion will persist for at least 2-7 weeks.

  • Merged from Haven’t Been Getting Any Notifications in at Least a Month

    Hey, as the title says I haven’t been getting any notifications from replies to my comments or posts etc. for a while now. I always thought that no one was replying but realised today that I just wasn’t getting notified.
    Is there a profile setting turned off somewhere? Any help would be appreciated.

      • Thanks Clear.

        I also wondered what happened. I searched around the Settings, as I figured something changed and found the new notification options. Didn't think to search for a thread about it :D

    • Ah. I might have figured it out. Subscriptions had been changed to no notifications for some reason. Dunno how to delete a post. Sorry

      • Good question as I hadn't realised how to the notifications worked.

    • I guess the problem was that I was looking for something related to “notifications”. I didn’t even click on subscriptions tab until I decided to just look at every single tab.

  • I don't receive some notifications that I did before the change.

    Previously I received a separate notification for every reply. Now it seems that older notifications are removed by a newer one from the same thread. This makes it confusing to track replies and I've missed some.

  • How about messages? This seems to provide options to get email notification for subscriptions but I get private messages and don't get notified by email of them so don't know about them until I manually check on the website. How can I get email notification of private messages?

    • Settings > Edit > Messaging > I want to receive email notifications

      Direct link for your account

      • Thanks.

      • Possible to get web notifications for search alerts?

        • Not yet, as the assumption for search alerts is to bring people who are not already on OzBargain back to the site. Search alerts are also not real time as it ran from an hourly scheduled job.

          Maybe we'll look into it if more people want it.

  • Not sure if it's a bug but I have notifications as "allowed" on Chrome Android. I thought push notifications would have displayed but it doesn't. Is this something that can be enabled?

    • According to this

      Desktop - Chrome, Firefox and Safari
      Mobile - Firefox

  • System is still broken. Maybe it started when this was introduced.
    I get auto-subscribed to almost everything I comment on.

    I believe the pattern is, if I respond to an original comment. Ie: no respond to a response.

    • Could you link to a specific node or comment that you have received notification for where you were not expecting to, so that we can have look, please?

      • Thanks

        Every thread here, as i never subscribe:

        • If you look at the top of the page, you have:


          For the threads that I create or comment on, I want to be automatically notified of:

          This option is enabled:

          new replies to my comments and top-level comments if I am the original poster

          So this means you will be automatically subscribed to any threads from the moment that you make a comment, and notified if there are any replies to your comments. If that's not what you want, then just choose:

          no notifications

          And save settings. You can still manually subscribe to any node you really want to subscribe to by clicking the 'subscribe' button on each node.

          • @moocher: Thanks. Maybe it's my interpretation, or lack of options.

            "Moocher posted a new comment in a node you have subscribed to:"

            So, I comment on anything, I auto-subscribe.

            My guess is, I wanted to know about people commenting on my deal (so changed setting)… But then been hammered with every response to every comment I make, sitewide.

            Feature request, please: More subscription options.

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