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I've tried to create a rule where an email gets sent when a contact is "added" to a smart group. By "added" I mean the condition that smart group is based upon is met.

As far as I can tell it doesn't. It seems like it would be hard to do.

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Contacts don't really get 'added' to a smart group - it's more that when the smart group is used, a search is run to find who currently meets those criteria (glossing over some complex rebuild and caching details...) So there is no specific event for CiviRules to react to in a post trigger.

You might be able to base something on the 'Daily trigger for group members' cron trigger and maybe modify it for a more frequent run. See https://docs.civicrm.org/civirules/en/latest/trigger/

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    Likewise a parent group doesn't work either – Paul-Tahoe Oct 17 '17 at 3:57
  • @Paul-Tahoe I would not want CiviRules to work with smart groups, it would get far too complicated for me :-) I think you could solve it by changing the smart group to a normal group and use CiviRules to manage the group membership? – ErikH - CiviCooP Mar 6 '18 at 16:13

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