Sidebar topic list links prefer unread and new over latest

But you couldn’t see them per category, only a huge list of unread topics from the whole forum (or at least from all the categories you follow). Which easily gets to high numbers, so you better leave. Now I can see it easily per category or tag. As each tag/category has a different weight for me, it helps to have it split.

This is my view right now:

See there is 1 new doc and no announcements. I see it immediately. No clicking, no filtering.


It’s not a natural use of the word “unread”. Maybe “to read” has the meaning you have in mind. So in dismissing those you aren’t lying to youself and saying they are no longer unread.

Also, the “x unread” in the sidebar seems to refer to tracked/watched topics in the relevant category with unread posts, rather than all topics in the category with unread posts, which makes things even more counterintutive. Maybe “x to read” makes sense here too.


Huge list :wink:

I really would like to see where it is reality. I’m sure out there is such examples, but not so many.

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Yeah, this is a nomenclature issue. @sam gave the example earlier of a bug on a forum. I won’t pretend to know how most Discourse instances are used, but … a support forum seems like a limited scope. I don’t understand the ‘Unread Hoarding’ line. Jonathan’s analogy is perfect: it’s the modern inbox experience. Just because it’s “read” doesn’t mean it goes away. In fact, if I clicked on “Everything” in my email box, particularly Gmail, I’d expect to see … literally everything (or ‘Latest’). That isn’t the case.

The solution here seems to be providing Admin control, with the user the option to manipulate. Not sure why it needs to be more complicated, or ‘Static’; in fact, given feedback I’ve collected on my forum, without these tweaks it would sadly render this unusable. Which would suck, because this is such an awesome and much needed addition!


Our forum is a kind of a support forum, the same as is. Frankly, I have seen Discourse being used mainly as product support forums but there are definitely many other uses.

So I gave a feedback to my case. I think it is very correct to give a feedback to other use cases where maybe the visualisation offered by the sidebar is not good enough or not good at all. Then it would be great if the use case and the desired user behaviour is described so Discourse team can understand it. Or at least that would be what I wanted for our own product to happen.

So my suggestion would be to have it configured, maybe even per user. Instead of just listing categories, I think it could be a table with the following attributes:

  • name (e.g. “Latest bugs” or “Unread solved tasks”)
  • filter (list of categories AND tags) – this would actually be great even for me so I could configure something like “all bugs (we have a category [project]-bugs for each different project) with a status pending (a tag)”
  • behaviour – show unread, new, latest, newest, oldest, top 10 … whatever

I can understand this would be a bit too technical but maybe it’s just a matter of a good UX. And so everyone could be happy.


I to see this quite easily resolvable in a TODO @mcwumbly

Simplest form:

New user setting: (in Interface Sidebar)

Sidebar item topic list preference

option 1: Prefer New/Unread when present
option 2: Always navigate to latest

Additionally default_user_sidebar_topic_list_style

It is similar to what we exposed in the previous sidebar.

If we wanted to add more spice here there are two other options:

option 3: Prefer Unseen when New/Unread are present. (which I guess @zogstrip and @jomaxro would like) - this touches on the “I added something I am not tracking to the sidebar”.

option 4: Automatically figure out.

(4) is complicated … but I think intuitive to end users:

  • We navigate you to new or unread
  • You click latest
  • (Next time happens)
  • You have unread but we navigate you to latest (cause that is what you did last time)
  • You click unread right away
  • We change the pref to prioritize unread

And so on.

Its a compromise but would automatically adjust to end user behavior.

I certainly see the desire for a user pref here.


Pretty please :pray: That’s my only pet peeves with sidebar: the unread/new counters/links. I want the unseen counters/links (though I would settle for just links).


The user option would be good.

I always use “Latest”, partly because it’s the only one I can define. I think it shows all topics by order of latest post.

I’ll set out what I think the others mean as my mistakes might be useful!

  • “New” just shows the subset of topics that have begun since you last visited the forum.

  • “Unread” shows the subset of topics that you’re tracking (maybe because you read it for more than 4 minutes or whatever the threshold is) or watching (maybe you are watching the category or replied to a post) and for which there are new replies since you last read the relevant topic.

  • “Unseen”… I can’t define this one at all. I think it maybe includes all “unread” topics, but also the topics with replies that were there the first time but which you never scrolled down to at the time. Maybe I have mixed up “unread” and “unseen”. So maybe “unseen” is really a subset of “unread”.

The thing about Discourse is that it just works and you intuitively figure out a way of using it. In my case I just ignore new/unread/unseen. These discussions (like with the email and notification system) make the things we gloss over usually seem more difficult than they are in practice.


Unseen is any topics that have not been read. That includes new topics, unread topics, and all other topics that you haven’t read to the end in. It doesn’t matter the notification state (though muted topics are still hidden). This is useful for people that like to read everything, not just topics that they watch/track.


Thanks. So “unread” is a subset of “unseen”, because anything you’ve not completely read is “unseen”, whereas something unseen can only become “unread” by tracking or watching.


Also new, it is a subset of unseen


I feel like a Discourse theologian now :slight_smile:


Woh, did this roll out already? ‘Everything’ is showing … everything.

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I think we should add a preference here. The default should be designed for casual users, and additional options should cater to the varying tastes of power users.

Copy needs a bit of thought, but I think it’d make the most sense to do give users control over which filter the count displays and whether or not clicking navigates to that filtered list or latest. So something like:

Sidebar topic list items

  • Show count for filter [none, unread / new*, unseen]
  • When clicked, navigate to [all*, filter]

The *'s indicate what I think the defaults should be. We continue to show counts for new/unread, but navigation goes to all (latest).

I could see taking it further in the future to have the overrides for individual items in the topic list as well, but that’s not high on the list among other priorities - though perhaps we’ll consider it as part of other work we do when it comes to fancier topic list filters and custom sections.


We can’t do this for unseen, it is technically much too expensive, we can navigate to it, but we can not keep accurate counts. Recommend skipping unseen for the first iteration here


OK, in that case, I agree it makes sense to do the simpler thing proposed earlier. We’ll always show the unread/new count and just make the preference about navigation

  • When clicked, navigate to [latest, unread/new, unseen]

Misspoke. Now it’s only showing me threads that I hadn’t previously seen, so only 5 threads appear when I just clicked “Everything.” Not ideal.


“Not Read” would seem to be an appropriate word usage. Although only 2 short words in English, I wonder how that would translate in other languages. :thinking: The shorter and more understandable the better.

Oops! Just saw @sam’s post about “Unseen”. That is another good choice.

I like that option as I have mostly older users (set in their ways (to Latest)) and find new UX confusing - even after 6 months or more. :roll_eyes:

Btw I acknowledge that latest is a better default, when tracking/watching was coupled with sidebar unread was a better default, but this decoupling did change a lot

Workflows are wonky for power users unless they remember to also track categories (which personally I prefer to do by default)

In fact I do support a short term change of behaviour (link to latest) and then some time later next week to add the config

So much of the feedback we have gotten has been around this little link and icon overload on new user menu, this seems trivial to get behind us


resolved~ …