Increase time to activate new account


In the organization I’m working with, dealing with external users that many times lack foundational computer skills, we try to help as much as we can. This is why I create Kobotoolbox accounts for all of them and then I send them the credentials along with detailed written instructions on 1) how to activate the account and 2) how to install and configure the ODK Collect application on their mobile devices.

The issue we’ve been experiencing and becomes an hindrance right at the beginning is the very short period of time that KoboToolbox gives for an account to be activated. By the time the user tries to activate the account they get the “link has expired” message. Almost all users hit this wall and get stuck. Some of them ignore it and go ahead with ODK Collect and get stuck there. And I’m never sure if the reason is because their account hasn’t been activated yet.

Keep in mind, the users are always far away and I only contact them by email. Some of the users can’t explain what their issue is (again, lack of knowledge). Their internet access is also not the best, and arranging remote access is an hassle.

I’ve shared my concerns with Support by email and I believe I’ve also posted about this on the past.

Can you increase the time that new users have to activate their account ? At the moment the period of time is very very short and I don’t understand why that is. I believe 48 hours or more would be ideal.

Thank you for understanding.


Hint: You might use the same email for different accounts, so you could activate all by an admin person.

Collect configuration can be done by QR/Bar-Code, see Help Center article.


@IAR, and for sure the final option would be to reach out to to activate the account.

Contacting support is something that I’ve done many times and you have always helped.

But it adds an additional step and waiting time that is far from ideal.
We would like for users be as autonomous as they can.

They don’t speak or write english and asking them to contact Support on their own is not feasible.

My question remains:
Can the team behind KoboToolbox increase the period of time that is given for a new account to be activated ?

You might use the same email for different accounts, so you could activate all by an admin person.

That is something that I didn’t think about. It’s a good idea.
Are there any limitations on the amount of accounts that one email address can have ? @Kal_Lam I would like your input on this one.

@wroos Are you currently doing it this way? What are the cons of your suggested approach?

One of the cons I can think of is that it would render self service password reset impossible.
Also, I don’t know if there’s ever any important notification that Kobo sends by email. That would never reach its intended user.
Please let me know and I’ll seriously consider this.

Collect configuration can be done by QR/Bar-Code, see Help Center article.

I found the article Data Collection on KoboCollect App (Latest Version) — KoboToolbox documentation

But from what I understand the QR code would contain the Server address as well as username and password. Since we use individual usernames (one for each person), as a way of tracking who submits what, this doesn’t seem to be a good idea for our scenario. Is there a way to have the QR code carry only the server address ?

Instead of individual accounts, you might use the metadata username and let the user set her/his local username (or an id) in the Collect settings on the phone. So, it will be visible in the submitted data. See Help Center article:
Data Collection on KoboCollect App (Latest Version) — KoboToolbox documentation.

Additionally, you could add a question (e.g. select_one type) in your form to enter the name/id.

That is what we often combine.

You might even check this name/id then against the ${username} from the local settings.

Furthermore, you have a (unique) deviceid metadata option which might be useful and could be mapped by you to the name.

Why, please?

Thanks these are all good ideas.

But the idea of sharing credentials amongst a large pool of users will never be something that appeals to me personally. Too many years in IT :slight_smile:

My reasoning is

If i create multiple accounts (one of each person) and assign them all to the same email address (my email address), when those people need to do a password reset on their own, they won’t be able to do it.

I would have to be involved.

Hey @Kal_Lam

Can the team behind KoboToolbox increase the period of time that is given for a new account to be activated ?

Can we get a direct answer please?
This doesn’t seem like an outrageous request. And judging from other posts in the forum, increasing the time would be quite helpful.

Thank you for being so patient, @IAR! We will get back to you soon with a response.

I also sent in my email to the support to help with the expired link and I guess it takes a long period of time to be worked on. please help me with making the activation email work.
username: xxxxxxx
Email adress: dorah.ampurire@healthacessconnect .org

@bridgethac They usually reply same day.

I have no complaints about the email support tbh.

But it would be so much better for us, if the period of time to activate an account was simply extended. It would help everyone involved.

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Hi @Kal_Lam
Do you have any news on this?

Welcome back to the community, @bridgethac! I hope your account is already active. If not, please feel free to reach us through As mentioned by @IAR, we respond to it within the same day.

Thanks for your feedback. This should be moved to the suggestion box, and we’ll investigate as time permits. The activation mechanism is not something we build from scratch: it’s provided by an external library, and we’ll have to research if that library provides the ability to customize this, or if we will have to make a proposal to them to add such a feature.