Request: Finer selection controls on automatic tracking


(Eli the Bearded) #1

I read almost all new topics here, but I don’t want to track them all. So I set “automatically track topics” to “never”. I have retained the default for “when I post in a topic, set that topic to” “tracking”.

I’d like to see other ways to automatically track topic. I understand that you are all busy now, so it is not going to happen soon.

Two conditions that I could see myself using are:

  • Automatically track topics when I “like” posts in them.
  • Automatically track topics when I bookmark something in them.

Others I can see possibly being useful:

  • Automatically track topics when I flag posts in them.
  • Automatically track topics when handling a flag in them.
  • Automatically track topics when I create a linked post.

Obviously this gets to be quite a lot of cases, and would probably need a new UI design to handle that many things.

A couple of questions for the community here:

  1. Is this something other people would like, or is it just me?
  2. Are there other cases people would like to see tracked automatically?

(Christoph) #2

So you are saying even the maximum setting of 10 minutes for Automatically track topics I enter is not enough?

I agree that there is room for improvement in the autotracking feature but I’m not sure if adding piles of new options is the right way.

To start with, I think it’s important to remind ourselves that it is incredibly easy to manually set a topic to tracking, so many use cases can probably be accommodated by having a rather conservative auto-tracking setting and manually track whatever is not captured automatically.

So based on that, the question becomes: what is preventing you (or me) from finding a sufficiently conservative auto-tracking setting without effectively turning autotracking off? The answer is probably “because reading time alone is not a sufficient indicator for interest in the topic” (Although it is doing a pretty good job, I have to say! In fact, it occurs to me that it might be punishing mainly people who read a lot into a topic before deciding to drop it).

So I think what is needed is one additional criterion that will be connected with a logical AND to the time criterion. So, for example: auto track topic if I have read it for 4 minutes and liked a post. Or - an option that you haven’t mentioned yet: “I have read it for 4 minutes and read all posts.”

BTW, a completely different solution might be to add an auto-untrack setting which sets the topic back to normal if you have ignored the topic with new posts for x days. Actually, I think that might solve most of my tracking issues…


(Eli the Bearded) #3

The trouble with autotracking as it is now, is that it does not prioritize my reading the way I would like it to. I use the suggested topics at the bottom of a topic as my next choice to read all the time. The suggested topics prioritize new, and then tracked topics, then semi-random. If I track everything I read, I’ll get the wrong suggested topics.


(Jeff Atwood) #4

The order of suggested is tracked/watched, then new.


(Christoph) #5

I think by

he meant “not the ones I want (because I’m tracking everything)”


(Eli the Bearded) #6

Yes. I don’t want to track everything I read because of that problem.

Watched stuff appears as notifications, and I’ll often clear those before even starting the suggestions in Suggested Topics. I use Watching as a fix for a few very interesting topics on one big site where I am tracking nearly everything.