Do we need a "Mark all as read" function?

(Endy Tjahjono) #1

How do you mark all posts as read?

Additional info:
I closed discourse, then reopened it, and the posts that were marked as new are still marked as new.

Is there Mark forum read button or can we have that?
(Jeff Atwood) #2

We think “mark all as read” is giving up.

The current behavior is that if you:

  • visit the site
  • see new posts but do not click on them
  • leave for a while
  • come back

The new posts are no longer new to you.

We also cap the meaning “new” at 48 hours so if you go away for 3 months, you won’t come back to a sea of blue asterisk new post indicators.

Some of this behavior is still being discussed, and I think we should probably have a user setting to determine how long things are considered “new” and whether they clear automatically when you visit, then go away for a while.

Mark Topics as Not-New
Mark Topics as Not-New
(Whited) #3

I think there’s sort of two questions that a “new” indicator is used to answer:

  1. What haven’t I looked at yet? (i.e. “Viewed”)
  2. What is recent? (i.e. “New”)

It sounds like you’re heavily leaning towards #2. I think a lot of people coming from forums of the past would be looking at the “new” flag as a way to know what has been looked at, either in the current session or in past sessions.

Would be great to offer some form of additional “Viewed” flag, even if it isn’t on by default. Some people like to know they’ve looked at everything…

(Jeff Atwood) #4

Yeah, good idea – maybe that’s the user setting:

Consider topics new when  ... [I haven't viewed them yet]
                              [they were posted in the last 48 hours]
                              [they were posted since I was here last]

(Matthew Adams) #5

Or what about a variable on the length in days with some sort of reasonable cap like 5 days? When I stop reading a discussion at noon on Friday and com back at 8am on Monday, I would want the posts from noon on Friday until 8am on Saturday to still be “new”

(Mark Lyon) #6

Sounds like good ideas.


[quote=“whited, post:3, topic:797”]What haven’t I looked at yet? (i.e. “Viewed”) [vs]
What is recent? (i.e. “New”)[/quote]

This. This is the one feature I’m looking for in Discourse right now.

(hamburglar) #8

[quote=“codinghorror, post:2, topic:797”]The current behavior is that if you:

visit the site
see new posts but do not click on them
leave for a while
come back
The new posts are no longer new to you.[/quote]

This seems completely bogus, depending on the forum and my general approach to reading it. When I read Hacker News, for example, I never, ever have time to read everything, but I also absolutely do not want the topics I haven’t looked at yet automatically marked read. I use Google Reader on it, and I basically have a rolling window of several hundred unread items at any one time. Very old ones fall off the end, but there is always a mass of unread recent things that I can come back to and skim through for interesting stuff. If I get interrupted and stop skimming, I absolutely don’t want you to assume I am not interested in the rest of those.

(Jeff Atwood) #9

This is now implemented! Set your preference for determining “new-ness” on your user page preferences.

(Christoph) #10

slight formulation question:
does this mean topics are considered “new” when “they were posted (read: opened) since I was here last”, etc
or does this mean “they were posted in (or opened) since I was here last”?

If the latter, maybe a more appropriate formulation would be “they were active in the last …” ?

(Sam Saffron) #11

The copy is a tad confusing there I guess.

This feature only relates to topics. In particular to topics that get the big white star with blue background.

It means no star on topics created more than 48 hours ago.

We are probably going to nuke the “last was here” option, we found it to be very problematic, we all had it on and stuff kept on falling between cracks.

(Christoph) #12

please don’t (or reconsider) - that’s the only way to emulate the “view unread” function of so many forum solutions, and the primary way I (and probably many others) read forums. It’s a great way to catch up on all activity - go to view unread (which is often exposed as an url you typically have in your handy browser history), skim the list of topics for any which are relevant/interesting, open them via middleclick, mark read on the list, done.

you can’t use the auto-expiring setting, cause with those you could miss topic you’d like to contribute to (e.g. after a vacation or longer absence), and you can’t use the “unread” button here, since this maps to what other forums call “unread replies to your posts” or somesuch, afaict.

(Christoph) #13

In particular to topics that get the big white star with blue background.

…and topics get the white star if they were created or had a post added since your last visit or time period? correct?


How 'bout we replace the (imho more “magic”) Nuke all since last visit option and replace it with an (explicit) Nuke the rest of these button? Seems to me to be the best of both worlds. If articles don’t interest me for some reason, I can stop them from appearing in my new feed. If I only get part way through the list, I can pick up where I left off last time. Maybe this would be better implemented with (after) multiselect… (That’s still on the roadmap right?)

(Jeff Atwood) #15

Incorrect, topics only get the white star on blue background when the entire topic is new to you, and you have never entered it (you have no read position).

(Christoph) #16

ok, thanks for the clarification. so where do I see new activity on topics which I have already entered (so have a read position), but I’m not tracking cause I didn’t participate (yet)? those will show up neither in unread nor in new, right?

sorry for asking so much, but I find the current solution a bit confusing, especially in contrast with the established “unread posts” + thread subscriptions model.

(Jeff Atwood) #17

We do auto-track topics you’ve entered and read after two minutes by default – even if you take no action in the topic other than passively scrolling and reading. This is a preference that you can change on your user page, from no auto tracking at all, to tracking every topic you enter.

And of course posting in a topic triggers tracking. I believe favoriting a topic triggers tracking as well.

There is some debate over whether smaller actions in a topic, other than posting, should trigger tracking, too.

(Christoph) #19

ah yeah. I perceived “tracking” as being roughly equivalent to “subscribing” to a topic, and thus disabled the auto-tracking after 2 minutes cause I figured it would lead to an overly spammy situation where you get subscribed (and get emails) to every topic you look at.
I’ll play around with the settings and see where that goes.

I have to say though that, although I get how y’all do something fresh and new, I don’t really see the need to redefine so much of established nomenclature that people already know - “new” is roughly equivalent to “unread” elsewhere, “tracked” is idk what , “favorited” seems to be somewhat like “subscribed”…

edit: Isn’t there still an edge case where you have a topic you just took a short look at (i.e. less than the period required for tracking to be activated), and there’s new activity in that topic after you visit - where do you see that? is this still counted as “new”, and if not, where does it appear? without being tracked it won’t appear in unread, right?

(Jeff Atwood) #21

It’s not an edge case – if you are not in the topic for very long, you probably don’t care about that topic too much. That’s the assumption anyway. And yes, for topics you don’t track, you will not see new post numbers in the topic list.

Conceptually, what is the difference between

  • picking up a random Harry Potter book, leafing through the first few pages for about 5 minutes, then setting it down.

  • picking up a random Harry Potter, then spending 15 minutes reading the first 30 pages.

I’m pretty confident in the latter case that you want us to track your position in that book without you needing to click a button or do any other kind of work to tell us that.

You can of course always set notifications manually per-topic if you like, via the notification panel at the bottom of the topic. That’s how most old-school forum software is set up, but I find it far too tedious and manual for my tastes.

(hamburglar) #22

I have to say, your remarkable stubbornness on the subject of how to track read/unread status makes me wonder if you understand the way people read forums. We aren’t talking about Harry Potter books; this is not the Kindle app. We’re talking about forum threads, and if I open one and it’s long enough, whether or not it should be tracked is completely unrelated to how long I spent reading it. That you keep coming back to that heuristic illustrates that you aren’t really listening.

Furthermore, whether or not I want to “track” a thread and be notified of changes is completely unrelated to whether or not I’d like to be able to glance at the forum and see that it’s got new replies since the last time I read it. When I look at a vBulletin forum, there might be threads I read once, then decide I’m uninterested, but as I keep seeing them appear in the topic list with new posts, my interest is rekindled and I’d like to be able to read them from the point I left off.

I’m sure there are nuances here and ways in which you’re making the experience much better than vBulletin, but I keep seeing the attitude that you’ve decided the right way people should use forums and you’re not interested in hearing how that doesn’t really work for people. And I apologize that the above may not be a completely coherent argument – I’ve sat down to hammer one out several times and ended up just deleting it because I feel like on this particular subject, you just don’t want to hear it. It’s quite frustrating and seriously dampens my enthusiasm for Discourse.