I have been doing a bit of beavering on the issue of making a forum that allows the user (with teacher or administrator control) to subscribe to a discussion, and receive emails of all posts to that discussion, rather than necessarily having to receive emails of every posting in that forum.
I have based these changes on version 1.9.3, but annotated all of them so that they could be incorporated in later versions (that is, without overwriting other version changes). The result of these changes may mean fewer emails hitting the user, or more pertinent ones at least, and more willingness on the part of some users to be subscribed to a forum at all!
In the forum settings you will get 3 new options to add to the 4 you have...
4. Allow thread or forum subscriptions
5. Automatic thread-based subscriptions
6. Force thread-based subscriptions
Depending on what you choose some more options are made available to the user...
3. Receive emails from discussions
4. Don't receive emails from discussions
But better still, when such subscriptions are forced you get a 'Thread Subscribed?' column in the forum view with a yes/no for every discussion, and when they are allowed but not forced, the yes/no become buttons for the user to use to switch on and off subscriptions - as they can with the forum as a whole currently. The current options have effectively been left intact!
At this stage I have tested the changes as thoroughly as I possibly can, but I would like to ask some experienced administrators to give this a go (especially if they are running 1.9.3). As Martin D and the team have just announced a security update in 1.9.4, I shall put these changes into 1.9.4 and post that copy up as soon as possible! Also I have not created a full-blown package as I would like to get some feedback first, so there are a number of steps to take to update your 1.9.3, all of which you can reverse if you wish to.
EDIT: See instructions and attachment in later post - Helen Foster
When you create or update a forum you should find more options and be able to experiment with their effects. Broadly, Option 4 lets the user choose which if any kind of subscription they will enjoy, Option 5 is much the same, but the default value is always to subscribe to a discussion thread that you begin or post in. Option 6 is analogous to the Option 1 'Yes, forever', except that if you start off with users subscribed to the forum (so the teacher can offer encouragement), then their first post gets them subscription by thread only from then on.
Finally, if you want to find all the changes made, search for JWC in all of those files.
Please let me know how you got on.
(Edited by Helen Foster to remove text and attachment by request of author - original submission Friday, 30 January 2009, 01:41 AM)