Why on earth doesn't the forum tracking link to topic threads like every other proper board? No one wants a whole forum in their inbox.
What you describe isn't exactly true. First of all, you can always disable forum auto-subscription from your user profile, and you can manually unsubscribe from any forum at any time.
Also, the 1.4 development version has a "mail digest" feature that lets you receive just ONE email per day, which contains all the recent forum activity. The digest has two modes, one of which just displays post titles and links to the actual posts.
So you probably just need the latest version...
Have you tried unsuscribing from the forum that is generating the traffic?
Your own Moodle installation will not generate the volume that this site does, although if it were that wildly popular in your school setting, you would probably be happy.
The email really serves a purpose when you are working with a class. It reels them in, and the participation level is a lot higher.
I can tell you this is precisely the reason Moodle has the defaults that it does.
And I'm not anything to do with a school. I do learning not schooling and I already have a sizeable community online/offline linked by events and various email lists. So yes I expect my cms to be busy and no I don't want every single message clogging up my email. I already handle up to 70 emails a day and moodle has been doubling that just by subscribing to 2 forums here.
What I have found is Atutor which has much much better site design and the forum tracks threads only to my inbox. Plus a collaboration research library feature and lots more. The Glossary is better. The instructions are clear and plentiful unlike moodle. You can design a trial course on their site. And you can import a moodle course into the Atutor system. What a relief.
I guess the beauty of the Open Source community is that there is something for almost everyone. ATutor does look great (especially the fact that it is very accessible for screen readers, etc.).
I am sorry that you are apparently not going to be a member of the Moodle community for very long. I am sure that you would have many useful insights and could contribute greatly.
I am glad that ATutor seems to meet your needs, though.
Unsubscribe from the forum that's troubling you, then disable forum auto-subscription in your user profile, then occasionally browse the forum to view new posts there.
If you are interested in following topics, you could maintain a list of URLs of those topics and browse only those. E.g.
where N is the topic number.
Modify (or commission someone else to) Moodle such that it contains the functionality you desire. Perhaps include a topic RSS feed, too.
P.S. You are using the term spam incorrectly.