Sidebar topic list links prefer unread and new over latest

Did you read the response above yours from Sam?

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Ugh that’s what I get for scanning and not reading. Thanks for the heads up!

I really like the little ‘xx unread’ and ‘xx new’ bits under the CATEGORIES section of the #sidebar, but I’m less keen on the linking to the corresponding filtered pages:

I find that I’m almost always having to click on Latest in order to get the view that I want (of all the topics).

I wonder if it would be better to:

Option A - modify the sidebar

Option A1

Have the sidebar simply take you to c/slug/id/l/latest all the time

Option A2

Have a sidebar setting (with sitewide default) to make it c/slug/id/l/latest all the time

Option B - modify core

Have the New and Unread, etc, display all the other topics after the New or Unread ones, maybe with a nice subtle red line (as per the last visit one) between them, or having them greyed out a bit.

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I actually prefer this behavior.
It says “x new” and “x unread”, meaning clicking it should bring you to the new and unread posts? Maybe for users who dont like this there can be an option.


We’ve been considering consolidating new and unread into a single view - would that help? or would it still be too far removed from latest?

I guess ultimately there might be two types of people; those who want to read most of what they’re tracking (kind of an “inbox zero” approach), and those who prefer browsing everything in the context of latest activity.


Yes, I think that would help. Would certainly make things a bit clearer as the differentiation between the two is too subtle for most users.

Yup - which is why I suggested Option A2


Note: the current plan is to add a user preference for this along the lines of:

with “latest” being the new default.


This is much better, thanks. “Latest” is just ordering content, whereas the others are all restricting content. Presumably the others are sorted by “latest” – is that right? – so really “Latest” (in the context of the whole forum) is a synonym for “Everything”.


First, thanks guys for listening to feedback and implementing. In so many ways, this is a game-changer for us.

Second, wondering if this is a bug? When you identify “Default Categories” in the sidebar, they only appear to non-logged in users. Logged in users only see their own preferences. Is this intentional? If that’s the case, can we add a tool-tip to the onboarding process to show users how they can add their preferred categories to the sidebar?

Love all of this ~

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The defaults should be the defaults for logged in users who haven’t set their own preferences. But once they do set their own, then those become what they see.

Great idea! We are tinkering with some new stuff in this area, so we can consider adding this to the list of things to consider we point out to new users. cc @tobiaseigen


I’m not sure that it is; Discourse is full of small click targets (thinking category links under topic titles, tags, etc) and they work just fine most of the time:


I’m pretty sure that I’d cope really well with having most of the Categories rows in the sidebar going to /latest, but maybe the small patch on the right going to the unread / new bit. Especially with a nice tooltip.

This is super attractive as you retain that really nice functionality of one click to the filtered lists as well as one click to /latest.

Is this still on the cards?


Most of time on iPad those aren’t working and I found myself somewhere else where I wanted to go :wink:

Same question. For some reason I thought the latest update would include all “Latest” topics but finding it’s still two clicks away.

It’s still in the cards… keep an eye out for this getting merged:


And it is merged… how are we feeling about it?

It’s good, thanks. The documentation category always goes to Top rather than Latest.

Loving it! But aware that part of my personal issue was that it upset what I (and my users) were used to. That old human change resistance, eh?

I’m pretty sure that with a bit of refinement the cute feature of one-click access to fresh posts will be embraced.

This is a hot topic!

I wonder where it will go in the end.

So… At first, I was finding very confusing that clicking on Everything (same for the category shortcuts) led to New instead of Latest.

But as I said on the other topic,

After using the sidebar for a while and being used to the New view links from the sidebar, I ended by liking more this than a Latest link.

And now, I’m confused that it leads to Latest. I don’t have anymore an always visible New shortcut (whether if it’s “all topics” or particular categories) when I’m reading a topic, I have to go to a topic list page and then click on New. I quickly went, in a matter of days, fond of the default New navigation page. :sweat_smile:

I acknowledge many issues raised on this topic, it’s quite a complicated subject. I personally have no solution for this instead than another user setting… Which may lead to a fair point by @Jagster on a totally different topic:

From a user’s point of view, Discourse shines, among other things, by its simplicity. Of course, regular users probably won’t even go into their own settings to tweak stuff…

But I, as sort of a “power user”, I’m sometimes very much repelled by the number of settings available in my profile on some platforms.
I don’t want to open 10 preferences pages with 20 settings on each to customize my experience. It reminds me of older forum engines where “more” was equal to “better”.


We considered adding a preference (which we had in the teams sidebar) and are likely to do so in the future, but we are planning to prototype some other related changes first, so I think we are going to be living in the current state for a while.

As for the problems and tradeoffs with adding user preferences, I’m reminded of the adage I may incorrectly recall being attributed to the perl community: “make the easy things easy and the hard things possible”

In general, I do think we want:

  • Defaults that work for new and casual users
  • Easy to find/discover preferences for “perpetual intermediate” users
  • Advanced preferences for advanced users

I probably didn’t follow everything here… just to point out that right now when I set a custom homepage (“Unread” in the screenshot) the sidebar item “Everything” is still highlighted as being active. Though when I click it I’m directed away from my homepage to Latest: