As I fiddle more with Discourse, here and at the other sites that have popped up, I’m beginning to wrap my head more around the options for managing my “state” in the flow of topics. At first I was a little put off by the lack of a traditional per thread read/unread concept, and I kept wishing for a “mark all read” button. Then, I started paying attention to what Discourse was and wasn’t telling me about new topics and new posts, and I got confused. I couldn’t understand what appeared to be inconsistencies in the number of “new” posts, versus the amount of notifications I was seeing about those new posts. There were posts going up in threads I’d read, but I wasn’t seeing any indication of them.
However, rather than posting a note to complain, I went exploring in my account preferences and got really friendly with the “automatically track topics I enter” and “consider topics new when” drop-downs. The defaults weren’t working for me, but you guys have actually included a thoughtful number of different potential variations; through twiddling, I was able to settle on some options that work well for me—track after 1 minute, and “new” topics are <1 week old.
I am very pleased with the results—and with the fact that this way, I feel like I can manage where I am in all the ongoing conversations, but not have to occasionally hit the “I GIVE UP, MARK ALL READ” button. This also avoids the “just starting out” problem, wherein a new user to an established forum pretty much is forced to mark all read before the new user can start actually using the system.
So, kudos. This is a well-thought set of options and the combined functionality is excellent.
A question on implementation, though—I’m not a dev, so I don’t get much out of combing through the code, but how are all the read/unread counts tracked and updated? Is this one of the things Discourse uses Redis for? Seems like for a busy forum, that would be a crazy-stupid amount of IO.
(Also, just as a quick aside, you guys are really having to deal with a shitshow over on the McNeel forums. I’ve been reading the posts over there from some of the USENET-loving diehards and I don’t at all envy you that feedback management :wink2:)