I have read the threads regarding the need for a “Mark as read” button in Discourse, and I vehemently disagree with the stance of the Discourse staff that this function signifies a “cop-out” or “giving up.” It is a convenience, enjoyed by forum users in other forum applications, produced by people who allow their customers to decide how to manage their forum behavior, rather than dictate how their customers must operate.
I don’t use the “New,” or “Unread” lists. I, like many real-world users, go to the forum Category(ies) that I am interested in. I like to see the whole list of topics in the category, so I can decide which ones to open, read, and perhaps respond to, and which ones I won’t. When I am finished with the current session, I generally click ‘Mark all as read’ (again, on other, feature-complete forum apps), so when I return, I can see what has changed only since my last visit, and I don’t have to re-evaluate posts that I’ve already decided to skip.
The screenshot below shows what I’m talking about. Topics with new/unread activity are in bright white, and topics with no new activity are gray. I can see at a glance that I don’t need to re-visit the gray topics, but I can’t tell if the white topics have new activity since my last visit or not. If I could have marked them all as read on my last visit, it would save me quite a bit of time. That is not a ‘cop-out,’ and it is not ‘giving up.’
I am requesting a ‘Mark all as read’ button within forum categories so I may continue to use the forums in the efficient manner to which I am accustomed.