Publish group read state

When in a group, knowing if another user reads a message can be quite useful. A couple of months ago we added the experimental “Publish read state” feature, which after a lot of tweaks is now ready to be safely used.

As you may have noticed, this shows who read which post. It adds a new icon and the reader’s count just before the likes:

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 15.03.02

If you click the icon, you can also see the reader’s avatars (it works the same way that likes). You will only count as a reader if you are not the original poster. Staged users are never counted as readers because they are not doing it from our UI.

Also, it’s important to mention that the count is only visible by staff and group members.

Another thing worth mentioning is that topics with unread messages will appear with an asterisk in the group messages list:

To enable the feature, go to the group setting, and in the “Interaction” section you will find the following checkbox:

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 14.33.27

  1. Is there some time lag between a custom group’s post being read by ‘xyz’ member, and the reflection that ‘xyz’ has read that post?

  1. Can we do the same with default groups also? Like ‘Trust-Level1’? I tried but this option doesn’t get saved. I click-select ‘Publish Group Read State’ option, save it. But when I come back to here to check the same, the option is again found ‘unselected’.

  1. Also, even though I added members to this group only 10 minutes ago (group was created long ago, with just 1 member, me/admin). But yet, under group activity, all members posts made outside to the group are showing under ‘Group Activity’. While I was expecting that the post made in the group/addressed only to this group, will/should only show in this group activity.
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Is there a limit to the amount of people in the group that this new feature supports?
I can see it working in a small group but not for a group of 250 users.

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You cannot use this feature on automatic groups, and I would heavily discourage sending PMs to trust level groups.


Seconded, that is a spectacularly bad idea.


Thanks for the extra insights. Turns out I wasn’t part of that particular group :sweat_smile: (admin struggles!)


Is there any possible way (theoretically) to have a world where this was updated when group members read the message via email? I had an announcement where I wanted to get a handle on whether or not someone had read it, and only a handful of the recipients showed up in the count; while I know others read it via the email notification.

I know users don’t read and it’s probably safer to use something like the Discourse Policy plugin to get a positive confirmation, but it sure would be nice to have a more comprehensive count, if possible.

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Spy pixels in email are notoriously hard to get working consistently, google sometimes pre fetch. Some clients have code to disable them. In general they are considered a privacy violation of sorts.

We don’t have any plans to get into the spy pixel business.


That I agree with, and am surely on the record here already. I was thinking maybe something more creative, maybe akin to a “Mark as Read” link or something along those lines… In order to make the counter more useful.


This topic is remarkably similar to one I started last year, but using entirely different words. Personally I think this is one of the reasons my community has had trouble gaining traction. Especially in internet remote, rural and poor parts of the world people gravitate towards whatsapp which provides comforting delivered and read notifications. They are able to provide that because they are an app, not reliant on email.