Yes, you’ll always get a notification (unless you have muted the topic, category, or the user who wrote the post) when someone is speaking directly to you.
That’s the underarching principle of all Discourse notifications: is someone speaking directly to me? There are a variety of ways to indicate you are speaking directly to an individual:
- username mention
- quote their post
- pressing the reply button on their post
- linking to their post
- sending them a PM
I participated on one Discourse based cryptocurrency forum (don’t judge me, I wanted to see what it was all about), I was heavily active for a solid two months and then kinda lost interest… I have all my Discourse settings at default there and I indeed only get notified when someone is speaking directly to me, which is ultra rare now that I don’t participate there any more… it feels like a perfectly appropriate level of default notification, I’m not there doing stuff, so nobody’s really interacting with me any more. I only get the weekly digest/summary emails since I’ve been away so long. I didn’t have to touch any of my notification settings, the site pretty much leaves me alone which neatly equates with my lack of participation there.
To me, nothing’s worse than getting a bunch of email or notifications which aren’t about you… so we tried extra hard to only notify people when someone has clearly and strongly indicated they are speaking directly to that person.