Rename "Dismiss Unread" to "Stop Tracking Topics"

(Sam Saffron) #1

Currently when you click “Dismiss Unread” we flip the tracking status on all topics in the list to “Regular”.

The way I see it there are two use cases for the button.

  1. I just need some breathing room, empty the list for now.

  2. I don’t care about these topics anymore.

At the moment we are taking definition #2. So I think we should be explicit of the effect, otherwise people who misunderstand it to be #1, get a rude surprise.

Can I rename “Dismiss Unread” to “Stop Tracking Topics” or “Stop Tracking” ?

(Dave McClure) #2

I had this reaction to the spec when the feature was first implemented, but I don’t really use it much. Has anyone complained about the current behavior?

If you’re going to make this change, I think it might be the most clear to have both buttons side by side.

As you’ve shown above, there is extra clarity in the contrast (and both behaviors may be useful).

(Sam Saffron) #3

I heard complaints from power users, usually people will just think stuff is broken if they expect #2. For example … What happens when you “Stop Tracking” a topic you created, no more replies for you unless you get explicit replies or mentions. Which really sucks. Changing watched topics down to default magically is real bad.

That would be a bit of feature creep, personally I disagree with our implementation, we should have only implemented #1.

Given that #2 is implemented I would much prefer it was clear on what it did. Cause undoing what it does is a major PITA.

(Dave McClure) #4

Yeah, don’t do it on account of me.

You’re right. Best to change the label to clarify what it does and then see whether people really want the ‘Dismiss Unread’ feature…

I’d vote simply for “Stop Tracking”

(probus) #5

I don’t use it because I know what it does. I would use it sometimes if it worked like #1.

Anyways, your English is probably better than mine but I’d think “Stop Tracking” implies it stopped tracking all topics, not just the ones on the list at the time.

(Sam Saffron) #6

That makes 2 of us :slight_smile:

(Jeff Atwood) #7

I use it because I stop caring about certain topics in any way shape or form. I have no plans to ever read them, unless someone specifically mentions me for some reason. Not so much here, because I care about most things on meta – I will mute the rare topics I specifically don’t care about – but on other Discourse instances I have used Dismiss Unread a fair bit.

(I just used it on bbs.boingboing a few minutes ago, in fact)

I would strongly object to this change because I think

Stop Tracking

doesn’t mean much to the average person, it’s kind of random techno-jargon, whereas

Dismiss Unread

does… it means “I tire of these unread topics, I am not going to read them ever, I hereby dismiss them from my view”.

I guess if it really bothers, add the tooltip to the button – you could put a full sentence in there elaborating on specifics. I think that’s the best solution for now. These “power users” are going to be on desktop or laptop anyway.

(Dave McClure) #8


To the average person “Dismiss Unread” is going to mean the same thing as “Mark as read” does in their email client.

When I “mark as read” an email in my inbox, and someone replies to that same topic, it shows up at the top, as unread…

(Jeff Atwood) #9

In email, those are replies to you, so the same logic applies in Discourse – if someone replies specifically to me in the topic, I will still know about it even if I Dismiss Unread.

(Dave McClure) #10

That’s not really true. If you’re on some mailing list, or on some long cc list, it could just be a reply to the list. I really don’t think the average person would think that clicking that button would make the topic not bubble up again (but then again, the average person probably wouldn’t even ask the question).

Look, even though you’re wrong :wink: this is a tiny issue. Doing nothing right now is fine. Adding the tooltip is ok too.

(Sam Saffron) #11

I will add a tooltip at a minimum here.

You will be notified on these topics only if someone mentions your @name or replies to your posts.

(Jeff Atwood) #12

In any email client your email address must be on the To: or Cc: line, yes? Otherwise how did you get the email in your inbox, again?

(I guess mailing lists are in a weird no-mans-land there, but you still have to manually subscribe and unsubscribe in a very explicit way that isn’t particularly “web”… why would people expect email conventions to carry over to the web at all?)

In Discourse when I reply to the topic, I am not necessarily talking to any specific person here. I’m talking to anyone who happens to load this web page in their browser, from now until eternity.

However, if I mention your @username, quote you, or specifically invoke reply on your post, then yes – I am talking to you, and you’d still get notified on that topic regardless of whether or not you pressed Dismiss Unread. This seems correct to me…


I think it would be nice if it was made much clearer (not just a tooltip). I had no idea that this actually stops tracking topics, and that would perhaps explain some of the issues in our forum where topics mysteriously stop being tracked to much confusion.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #14

Due to the shame it would bring my family I’ve been keeping this a secret, but I think it’s time to speak up. This is my Unread page:

A whopping 145 unread topics. It’s like that exactly because I am afraid of the consequences of aforementioned definition #2. I let it get out of hand, and now there’s no easy way back. To safely continue following the topics I’m still interested in, I have to:

  1. Open those topics (in a new window so I can keep moving through the list efficiently)
  2. Make damn sure all new as well as previously unread posts are in fact now read
  3. Press the kill switch

You know what I’d feel like doing after pressing Dismiss Unread, due to how it works currently? I’d want to refresh all of those topics I had open, to double check their tracking status, because I’m deathly afraid I left an unread post in there or a new one was made while I was spring-cleaning, and that resulted in this interesting topic going untracked, leaving me out of the loop. I need my loop man.

Definition #1 would suit me so much better. In addition to that, I have a UX suggestion.

(Jens Maier) #15

Bcc. Only the Envelope-to header must be set to your address, and email clients generally don’t display that one.

(Sam Saffron) #16

@codinghorror I really think we should just change the definition from #2 to #1, its a simple change that will have 0 effect on read times and will only take me 20 minutes. Meaning, behave exactly as it does today but not change state (which you have to admit can be real bad if you created a topic.)

I have not seen anyone that argued for #2 anywhere and this change would turn a feature I am terrified of using to a feature I may use at times.

(Michael Downey) #17

For consistency, the behavior of Dismiss Unread should be parallel to that of Dismiss New in the “New” tab.

(Kevin P. Fleming) #18

It is orthogonal right now; ‘Dismiss New’ means “don’t ever show me these topics as new again”.

I agree with the idea of changing it to the #1 behavior, but due to the similarity in wording to ‘Dismiss New’ I believe you’d also need to change the text of the button. Even though this would make the buttons larger, I suspect that this entire problem could be solved (after the #1 behavior change) by changing “Dismiss Unread” to “Dismiss Unread Posts” and “Dismiss New” to “Dismiss New Topics”.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #19

Is that true? I thought it just meant “Don’t show any new activity up to this point as new (but show all future new activity as new, including threads I’ve now dismissed)”

(Dave McClure) #20

If its new, you probably aren’t watching or tracking it yet. (Unless you have a whole category watched). I don’t do that anywhere, so I’m not sure what would happen in that case…