I'm sure I remember reading somewhere ages ago that when unsubscribing from a mailing sent to a parent group, the contact would be removed from all of the child groups that they belong to that are under that parent group.

Has anyone got a reference for this expected behaviour when this functionality was put together/documented?

My personal view is that it would be better if they were only removed from the parent group. Being removed from the child group would seem to break any hierarchical group mailing system that an organisation has setup.

Note, this is a follow up to the issue https://issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-19924 "Unsubscribe from a mailing sent to a parent group silently fails" i.e. currently nothing happens at all when a user clicks an unsubscribe link sent to a parent group.

  • For me it is not the expected behaviour. A few months ago I registered as an issue issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-21352. Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 13:19
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    We actually stopped using the "unsubscribe" function, and just give users the option to opt-out of all bulk mailings. Mostly because I've been having a hard time getting my organization to stop creating a new group for each mailing that they send. They create a new group to send a mailing, the users would unsubscribe, then they would create a new group and the user would have to unsubscribe again. So, I just put opt-out on the footer of all mailings.
    – Christia
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


We abandon this method of manage mailing lists and turn on adding members to mailing groups as "expected" (not with parent or with smart groups). GDPR regulations pushed us to get this direction and avoid the problems described in your question at the same time.

Maybe we should complete the documentation to advise against the use of parent groups as a mailing groups, as long as it is possible to do so.

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