Is there a way to mark all categories as read?
Ah! This is one of the primary differences between Discourse and a traditional forum. There are positives and negatives to the new approach, but before I jump into that, here’s the short version.
###The short version:
No, but that’s (mostly) okay. You can change how long things remain in an unread state and how the forum nags you with stuff, seasoning to taste.
###The long version:
The Discourse devs consider a “mark as read” button to be an admission of failure on their part. The thinking is that you shouldn’t have to subvert a notification mechanism and use it in a way it isn’t really designed to be used; we’ve become so accustomed to a mark-all-read button that it’s used as more of an “I give up” button.
Instead, Discourse does two things. First, it will notify you of new topics. What “new” means to you is customizable in your user preferences:
You can have everything you haven’t seen be new, everything since your last visit, everything within the past day, or 2 days, or week. Shorter windows stop the proverbial “vacation avalanche” of posts—even if you’re gone for a week, topics only gain a “New” badge when they’re within your window. If you want to always see everything, flip it to “I haven’t viewed them yet” and call it good; the “2 days” setting is a good compromise.
When you enter a thread, Discourse uses another preference to determine if you want to watch the thread or not and be notified of new replies:
Once a thread is being watched, you’ll see a number badge for new posts on it. You can adjust individual threads’ watch state using the button at the bottom of every thread:
Topics you enter and that meet your preferences watch threshold will be automatically elevated from “regular” to “watched” and will get number badges. You’ll also get notified at the top of the screen when your name is mentioned and if anyone replies directly to you (you should get mentions, @Nick_Burns, for this post). You can un-promote a topic back down to regular, or even down to muted.
The current read/unread implementation is mostly complete and is closing in on what the Discourse devs want, but there are still several things missing—you cannot yet change the status of multiple topics at once, for example. Being able to lasso-select or checkbox-select a dozen topics and set them to “muted” all at once would be nice, and that functionality is coming, but it’s not there yet.
Long-winded answer to a simple question, I know, but hope it helps!
I’m resurrecting this for my question, which may or may not have been answered above. I claim early morning hours, one cup of coffee, and still being a bit of a Discourse n00b. I just might not be finding the right settings.
When I first come to the site, I see the unread topics (one or more new replies), and they are blue. Topics that have not been updated are grey.
When I click on topics with only ONE reply, and wait for the orange highlight to go away before navigating away (or I reply, myself), the topic turns grey in the list.
When I click on topics with TWO or more replies, I can wait for the orange highlight to go away on the FIRST new reply and scroll down and read all the newest replies – but if I do not reply and just click @Lee_Ars’ head to go back to the main list, the topic is still blue, even though I have read it. I have to click on the topic again, which takes me to the last reply made, highlights it orange, and THEN turns the topic grey when I go back to the main list. So, essentially, I have to read the topic TWICE in order to make it look “read”.
I DID just go change my settings to “Consider topics new when: I haven’t viewed them yet”, but that doesn’t help.
Am I missing something, or is that a bug/feature? Sorry if there was an explanation of this somewhere else.
If by blue/gray you’re referring to the actual link text color, that’s a property controlled by your web browser, not the server. Whether or not a link text is gray (“visited”) or blue (“unvisited”) isn’t something that the server is setting; if you cleared history and cache, for example, all your links should be blue, even for topics you’re following. I’m not precisely sure what the web browser keys off of, though, and you’re not the first person to say that it’s inconsistent.
Instead, use the badges. Topics that are “New” (where “new” = matching what you told the board software to be your criteria for new posts, which for you is “when I haven’t viewed them yet”) will get a blue asterisk badge, and will also show up under the “New” tab. Topics that you’re following with new posts will get a blue number badge showing the number of new posts.
One big advantage of using the badges and ignoring link color is that your read state is persistent across computers, but the link colors obviously won’t be. If you’re browsing the site from a tablet and a desktop and a laptop, for example, the link colors will vary depending on what topics you’ve clicked on on each device. The badges, though, will be constant.
Aha! Okay, I’ll keep up with that, then. Changing that setting has made it a little less confusing already, since I’ve been checking almost every day this week and didn’t see the “new” topics till they were far down the list, under the most recently replied-to threads.
And I use Chrome, which is simultaneously easy for me to use AND irritating in many ways.
Okay, I reread your reply, and I misunderstood your misunderstanding of my grey/blue observation. It’s not the LINK color that isn’t changing (which I do understand being a property of the browser), but the TOPIC NAME color, in the list of threads. If it has been active since I left, it’s blue when I arrive. If only one person has replied, I can visit the topic, it will do its little orange glow thing and fade to white, then I can leave the topic to go back to the list, and it will be grey. If two or more people have replied to the topic since I was there before, I still am not getting a number next to the topic name, and I have to visit the topic twice (once to see the earliest reply, and once to see the last reply) before it turns grey, which I assume means it has been marked “read”.
Does that make more sense? I’ve changed all the settings I was supposed to, but I’m not getting any badges (except for brand new topics, which get an asterisk).
Sorry if I was confusing before. There are probably terms for these things . . . I will try to get screen shots next time.
(EDIT: Working on screen shots now.)
Okay, I don’t know a better way to do this, so let me know whether or not this actually worked for you. These are in chronological order, and linked rather than uploaded, because I didn’t want to overload the thread. I didn’t catch the “orange glow” on shot 3, because I forgot the topic name glows for a second when you go back to the list.
Shot 1: https://db.tt/tpADQs0l
Shot 2: https://db.tt/PnnGbIsU
Shot 3: https://db.tt/tukbVyHw
Shot 4: https://db.tt/UGZpS38n
Shot 5: https://db.tt/tmCi1v51
Shot 6: https://db.tt/661OAkCd
Shot 7: https://db.tt/uaxaJJtn
EDIT: I also just realized why I wasn’t getting post counts, and that’s totally user error. I turned off all the “tracking” settings. I’ll go back and fix that.
The titles are links. I have the same thing happen to me, and I’ve learned to simply ignore the link colors. My computer here at work always shows all of the titles (links) as blue, but my system at home is erratic about them.
I have a theory.
First, though, the apparent discrepancy between the forum not displaying the “latest” post in that linked thread isn’t actually a discrepancy, fortunately Discourse tracks not just whether you’ve visited a thread or not, but also the last post in that thread it thinks you’ve actually read (which it guesses at based on whether or not you scroll past the post or not). In the pix you’ve linked, shot 2 shows @TechnoMistress’ post at the bottom of the screen and the thread nav widget at post 117 of 122—that’s your bookmarked position within the thread, and post 117 (TM’s post) is considered the last post you read.
When you leave the thread and re-enter, the forum software dutifully starts you out at your first unread post—post 118, @CryHavok’s post!
This leads to my theory about the links, which I guess I could just ask about over at the discourse dev forum, but speculation is way more fun Scroll through a thread and pause several times and watch your URL bar as you do so—you’ll see it dynamically change as you pause on different messages. Each message in a thread gets a unique (virtual) URL that corresponds with its position in the thread—so the first message is /1/, the second is /2/, and so on. It looks like the links off of the front page point to the URL for the last message in the thread, and so if you haven’t read all of the messages, the link should be its “unvisited” color.
The only problem with that is that it isn’t really consistent behavior, since sometimes links are gray for me that have unvisited posts. But I think it’s pretty close to the real answer.
AAH! That totally worked! I’ll keep an eye out for that. Setting up the tracking might also be fixing it. Cool! And weird. Proves just how magical computer programming still is to me.
Well, letting the unique bookmark change and tracking the post doesn’t change the behavior, even when I scroll down and wait (and see the number change). It seemed to work for THIS post, even before I replied the first time, but not on other ones. I’ll chalk it up to programming magic.
Bottom line—if you want to mark a thread as “read,” just click the down arrow on the floating post widget. That’ll beam you directly to the last post in the thread. Sit there for 5 seconds or so, and boom, the forum app recognizes that you’ve “read” the last post in the thread.
It’s still a little kludgy, but it’s really more about trying to break years and years worth of misuse of the “mark all read” function. It takes some getting used to, but I like Discourse’s way of handling things—what you read really does matter, and your read state really is tracked. The only problem is that it requires a little more work to adapt reading a casual reading style to it.
As of just a moment ago, there should now be a “Dismiss New” button to make new posts go away without screwing up your read tracking. Hooray!!
I was just resigned to ignoring “new” posts I wasn’t interested in reading.