What should be used for a "you read this" indicator on each post?

Continuing the discussion from Move some post actions to “extra drawer”:

This seems to warrant its own discussion. A few thoughts I have regarding the current indicator and its history:

  1. By the time you can see the current bookmark indicator, you’ve probably already read the post, since its below the post.

    • A long time ago the bookmark icon was on top of the posts. Since it was doing double-duty as the bookmark feature, it made sense to move it down to the bottom, but its more clear not that these two functions are somewhat in conflict with each other.
  2. Its not that useful as is because the indicator is really only visible on the last post you’ve read in a topic. You have to scroll up and down to find it if you’re not already there or entering the topic from the topic list.

So, there seem to be two main goals out of this:

  1. The indicator should show which posts are read and which aren’t.
  2. It’d be nice to have a way to jump to the last read post from within a topic.

So here’s an idea:

First, for the ‘subtle but visible indicator’… ‘a “you read this” indicator on each post’, follow some conventions from email clients. Just style the name and date on each post differently for read vs unread: bold = unread normal = read

(Ignore the funky outline/dropshadow… just a quick and dirty mock)

Having this indicator back at the top would help make it more clear that the state changes as you read the post like in the old days.

Then, to answer the issue of losing your place, what if the progress bar showed which the last read post was in a darker shade of green?

Clicking anywhere in the dark green region would bring you back to the last read post.

(I realize this second part of the discussion overlaps with the one going on here as well…)


Not a goal; the jump to last read post is the topic link itself. And once you’ve seen a post, it is flagged as “viewed”, and read time is counted.

Mostly, this would solve four problems:

  1. People who complain that Discourse can’t tell what they’ve read (well, “viewed”, read time is tracked separately). If there was an on-post indicator, they could see the viewed flag on each post, and it would help troubleshoot.

  2. Give users a warm fuzzy about progress, like painting a house, like watching a progress bar scroll, like crossing items off a to-do list.

  3. If we are moving the bookmark control into an ellipsis expansion, we need some form of replacement feedback about read state.

  4. The bookmark at the bottom is basically useless / pointless in its current state since by the time you see it, the post is marked viewed, so you never see it in “unread” state anyway. A replacement should probably be at the top for the reasons you stated. We know that having it at the bottom is very ineffective, to the point that the functionality of showing read state might as well be pulled entirely (and will be pulled).

I think it should be a fairly subtle indicator. Ideas:

  • Maybe a colored dot?
  • Maybe some color transition on the timestamp in the upper right?
  • There is also space in the left gutter now, though we plan to use that for badge images.

I like this, personally:

Where green dot means “viewed”. @riking if you wanted a dailywtf-helping thing to work on, this is it.


I like where you’re headed.

How about a small blue dot, which means “unread / unviewed”… and it disappears after its viewed?

That would kind of tie in nicely to the blue indicators in the topic list to show the number of new unread posts…


Yeah I like that idea.

I think having a marker appear is better than taking one away though. Glass half full, etc.

But after thinking about it, I guess I’d have to try both and see how they felt?

Yeah, I don’t know… On topics the indicators disappear after you read them, and that feels really natural now.

Why not just do the same thing on posts?


True that is also consistent with the nomenclature of “see a blue circle, it is something new”. You’re right.


Status completed:

New read indicator no longer lies, we wait to hear back from the server before clearing the indicator.

Now everyone can play the “Clear the blue dots” game.


“Clear the blue dots” is pretty fun, I have to say :slight_smile:

Heads up, looks like the mobile theme needs a little more love though. I’m just seeing black dots that stay black:

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Just got rid of that … :slight_smile:

will be deployed later.