Hum… it never occurred to me to use the dismiss button… I was probably revolving around latest and its “last visit” line too much… Maybe it’s the new emphasis on the number of unread that catches the eye (blue in the dark theme really pops out, more than white in the menu)
We’re a high volume forum. The “Everything” is a bit confusing, since our default view has been “Latest” since our inception. If we could dictate this, that would be preferable. Right now, the UX feels (focus group of 1 over here …) as though “Everything” would bring the user back to the listing of latest topics.
In the past we considered this being a user option, I am not against bringing it back if enough push for it
Our long term plans are to have a brand new concept in Discourse
So the “new new” would be a single bucket for both and a we would no longer show all these words on sidebar, you would just see (8) and it would take you to the 8 new things mixing new posts and new topics in 1 list
This terminology also improves clarity, today
New = new topics = unread topics
Unread = new posts = topics you are tracking with unread posts
“Everything” would conceivably “Latest.” Read and unread.
“Unread” would be “Unread.”
I did a straw poll of 6 moderators. I asked specifically for feedback on the links under “Community.” They confirmed my suspicions …
“Everything doesn’t appear to provide ‘everything.’”
“Maybe it’s our set-up (we’ve had this forum in one incarnation or another for over 20 years) but I was confused because I’m seeing posts that are 3 days old at the top, and there’s no way that’s when the latest post was made.”
“Why invent new terminology? Just have ‘Latest’, and ‘Unread’ and ‘My Posts’ as the top three links?”
I’m pretty amenable to exploring bringing some user preference back for this behavior and rethinking what the defaults are.
One of the things the sidebar aims to do is put more power into users’ hands to decide how they want to engage with a given community (that’s what the preferences for the categories and tags sections are all about). We also plan to add custom sections in the future (starting with a single custom section).
There have been plenty of discussions about being able to reorder sections and items within sections as well.
So I think this is probably a case where a user preference makes sense.
At the same time, we’re trying to balance that out with two other concerns:
Enabling theme customization to be maintainable
We want the basic site structure to be somewhat fixed so site admins don’t have to support many simultaneous layouts for a given custom theme
Enabling site admins to establish some amount of consistency
Site admins can better support their users if they can make some common assumptions about how their users are interacting with the site.
That’s a bit of a tangent to the current discussion, but just wanted to share a bit more about what is guiding my (our?) thinking overall for the design of the sidebar.
Click target is too small, we went through this exercise before. I am with @mcwumbly that I don’t mind adding a user option.
Still struggling with why so many people have such strong reticence to just “dismiss unreads…” if it is unread and just not so important dismiss it, then the link takes you to where you want. Part of the problem here is unread hoarding.
That said, I do agree we want users to have agency and a user pref here is something I am not against.
It’s very hard to persuade by analogy (because people sometimes find it easier to focus on the differences) but with email you click on an account and expect to see all its emails, until you filter them by unread, flagged etc. Also, your businesslike approach to unread posts on the forum here is a bit like the “zero inbox” approach to emails – it’s probably quite rare with emails, and people often take an even more haphazard approach to forums.
Edit: I realise it’s also difficult to persuade with “people sometimes” and “people often”! I think on Wikipedia they’d add a “Weasel words” tag
Just to add one positive case. I added the #documentation category to my “watched” categories in the sidebar. Today I saw 5 new topics. That’s great! I usually do not have time to just browse through the documentation. But 5 topics? I clicked through them because I was interested in most of them in one way or another. The last one seemed not interesting to me already by its title, so I “dismissed” it and now have an inbox zero