Showing activity from followed users in the sidebar

Some folks who user Discourse Follow are interested in being able to get to feeds for individual users more easily from their sidebar.

How might we do that?

discussion in chat
Originally sent in sidebar feedback

Most of our users are liking the sidebar and adapting well but we've had a few wonder if they could also add followed users to it -similar to how Categories and Tags work. We have several heavily followed users they would like to track more easily. Any thoughts on that for the future?


@jenroberts I think that's the first time it's come up. I myself am not a user of the "follow user" feature so I need to do a bit of exploration to better familiarize myself. Do you use it and/or have a good feel for how you'd expect it to behave in the sidebar?


I don't use it but from what they are requesting, they would like to see a link next to a name when a followed person creates a new topic or reply. We're steering them to the individual's activity page or to their own follow feed right now, but that's not as convenient to get to. Perhaps the link could go to the Follow Feed so they see all the posts and can sort through them? I don't see how it could go to a topic or reply directly.


Let me start a topic about this here so we have a place to track it and gather more feedback. I'll also ask around a bit more internally to see what others think who are more familiar with the Follow feature.

I think it’s unlikely we’ll tackle this before we do this other feature: Ability to add a custom section of links to the sidebar

So we may want to revisit this after that rolls out to see how well it alone meets this need. It’s possible we’ll want to build upon that by making it easier to add a follow feed to the sidebar with a single click, and/or to have some fancier logic for showing counts of new activity if a custom link is for a follow feed, etc.


I had this in mind with some earlier sidebar mockups — at one point we had a separate Users and Groups headings in the sidebar (the idea for V1 was that these would just be links to /u or /g).

Screen Shot 2022-09-27 at 4.57.46 PM

We’ve since consolidated and put these links under the Community section, but the idea was that these would eventually be extended by plugins to work similarly to the categories/tags sections.

So for “Users” we’d show the users you’re following, have a little count to show when they’ve posted content, and on click you’d see their new activity. We’d also have a All following link at the bottom to see the consolidated list (/my/follow/feed).

Personally I’d like a little more optional flexibility for follow notifications through this too — at the moment you get notified when someone you follow posts new content, but it would be nice to have the option to not get a full user-menu notification, but just a count in the sidebar.