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Unread Posts feature to be eliminated

After careful consideration, we have decided that we will soon be removing the Unread Posts feature from Chowhound. This is the feature formerly known as Hot Posts. This change will likely go into effect in the next week.

Very few people are using the feature, and in many ways, it isn't working as was originally intended.

Here are links to some discussions from the past year that pertain to this feature:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/809920
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/839124

Please note that logged-in users will be able to visit any board and see which discussions are read vs. unread, using the new flags there. Those who want to see the newest discussions on all of Chowhound can do so by visiting the Chowhound homepage: http://chowhound.chow.com/boards -- we are planning to paginate this page, which will allow users to browse all new discussions.

We're making this change now in advance of some exciting design changes that will be coming to Chowhound in the next few weeks.

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  1. Unless one of the "exciting design changes" is a feature very similar to "unread posts", this is a terrible idea!!! (And I very rarely use more than one exclamation point.)

    1. Gulp. "exciting design changes that will be coming to Chowhound in the next few weeks." usually means giant train wrecks of bugs and complaints.

      1. I've been using the hot post feature since day 1. Its the fastest way to stay updated. Really bummed that you are eliminating it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: shaebones

          I'm with you shaebones . . . bummed, but change is usually hard to cope with, especially on this site. Courage!

        2. The unread posts feature is a duplication of the Chowhound homepage, the only difference looks to me to be navigating to chowhound.chow.com/boards rather than to the unread posts feature located in one's profile. Kudos for a good design decision.

          2 Replies
          1. re: janniecooks

            Yep - considering how long it took me to even find it to figure out what everyone was talking about, this seems like a logical removal.

            sorry for those who use it, though.

            But "exciting design changes" sounds like "I'll respect you in the morning", "the check's in the mail", "I only had one cookie, Mom", and "the company has been sold, but there will be no changes".

            1. re: janniecooks

              Maybe I'm missing something, but all I see is one page of "latest post" links. It doesn't specify a time period (and obviously we cannot set that personally as in some other forums) for what constitutes "latest" and it seems to be a small subset of the existing "unread" feature.

              Guess we'll just have to wait for the newest design changes to see what the end result is, but "Unread Posts" is the primary way I look at Chowhound forums - it's just too cumbersome to navigate through all the forums I have an interest in.

            2. Okay, so what I want to know in the simplest of terms is, once I've finished reading the threads I've been posting in, is there one handy button I can press to see all the recent posts from all the boards??
              Sometimes there are posts on boards I don't visit that I'd like to chime in on. Such as this one.

              DT

              7 Replies
              1. re: Davwud

                the main page at chowhound.chow.com -- all the latest posts on all the boards.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  This main Chowhound homepage can be accessed from anywhere on the site in 1 click....just click on the word "Chowhound" in the navigation bar (i.e. don't select anything from the dropdown, simply click "Chowhound")

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    But that gives only ONE PAGE of "unread posts", whereas the "Unread posts" link from one's profile links to all posts going back for pages and pages. I use the link from my profile page. The link from the Chowhound home page is very limited and, frankly, USELESS for going back more than that brief snapshot ONE page of posts represents.

                    1. re: huiray

                      It's going to be paginated, as you noticed below.

                      1. re: Dave MP

                        Will we be able to access it from our Profile Page? It is not now accessible from there. At least, not that I can see.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          The front page is accessible from everywhere on the site via the Chowhound item in the main navigation menu. Hovering over it drops down the list of boards, but clicking it takes you to the front page.

                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                            Thanks. I never noticed that. I always hovered.

              2. I might use the Hot Posts or Unread Posts feature except that I'd never heard of it, don't know what it actually does, and now I can't find it. Beside the point now if it's headed for the chopper, but in general, I think the site badly needs a Help page so that users - including long-time members like me - can find out what the features are and how they work. For example, I only found out a couple of weeks ago that clicking on the uninformatively named View Profile would give me a list of threads I've posted in. Now I use it all the time, but for years I didn't even know it was there.

                10 Replies
                1. re: John Francis

                  When you view your profile, there's a bar across the top, under your user ID. Next to the tab that says "My Activity" is another one labelled "Following." Under the "Following" tab, one of the options is "unread posts."

                  1. re: MikeG

                    Thanks - now I see it, though it's pretty well hidden. Doesn't look like something I'd use, so I won't miss it when it's gone.

                    1. re: John Francis

                      Oh my. You missed one of the MOST useful features on the site, IMO. And now they are trashing it.

                  2. re: John Francis

                    I thought Site Talk IS/WAS the Help page, John F.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Of course it isn't; it's a forum. Why do you say that? A Help page is where you look for the answers to frequently asked questions without having to post a message asking the same questions yet again and waiting for a reply that may be a long time coming, if it comes at all. The moderators are on top of things in Chowhound, but many other "support" forums provide irregular if any user support.

                      1. re: John Francis

                        John F., CHOW has a FAQ page already and questions that aren't answered are asked here on Site Talk. Whether answered by CH staffers or CH's themselves, btwn the two I see alot of help..including when OP's are posted in advance of an actual question being asked by CH members..lately by Dave MP or usually Jacq or the CH Team.

                        So even with a FAQ page and this board you feel another page called HELP would be more helpful?

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I've never seen a FAQ page here, otherwise I wouldn't have asked for one, would I? And you can't find it either. If it still exists and only needs a link, the management can provide that.

                          1. re: John Francis

                            There was a FAQ link within the red banner at the footer of each page at some point. Gone now. You have yourself a great day John.

                        2. re: John Francis

                          eta: I just hit the Feedback link (inside the red banner at the bottom of the page) and it returns me to Site Talk. Interesting. The FAQ link is now missing from that same area of the site. So, as it stands right now the only Help area is this board, Site Talk...except the About link (also at the bottom of each page inside the red banner).

                    2. Used to use Hot Posts all the time. Stopped using it as regularly when it became Unread Posts and was tucked further and further away from my Profile page. I'm not upset to see Unread Posts go since I gather that all you're doing is changing the name and the location. Again. But I do hope that wherever it is, it will be accessible with a single click from my Profile page, preferably not with one of those pale blue buttons that my aging eyes can barely see.

                      1. Not 100% sure about timing yet, but just another reminder that this change will most likely be released this week. Thanks!
                        Dave MP

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Dave MP

                          This release will be happening tomorrow, 10/24/12. It will include the removal of the Unread post feature, and the addition of pagination to the latest posts on the Chowhound homepage.

                          Thanks,
                          Dave MP

                          1. re: Dave MP

                            OK, putting in the pagination for the Chowhound home page makes it useful. As of *right now*, however, there is no pagination yet and it is still just a single page's worth of posts.

                            1. re: huiray

                              Another big question is whether it will be personalized to a user's login, so whatever you've seen, or marked? In other words, will it completely duplicate the functionality of the current unread feature?

                              1. re: MikeG

                                It will be personalized to your login in the sense that you'll see new flags, and be able to see what you have read vs. what is new (the same as it is now on the Chowhound homepage)

                            2. re: Dave MP

                              OK, I'm a dummy. I'm on Latest Chowhound Posts but haven't found how to add to Saved Boards. Consequently, I see all the boards on Latest Chowhound Posts and zillions of threads I'm not interested in. My questions are:

                              1. Where do I find instructions to add to my Saved Boards.
                              2. How can I mark threads I'm NOT interested in so they are filtered out? I'd like to see ONLY my unread posts.

                              1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                Isn't the box marked "Save to Profile" on each thread you wish to save in your profile folder located at the top of each individual OP. Doesn't that function result in a saved thread?

                                Does CH offer a filter out function?

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  HillJ -

                                  I used Save to Profile only for threads I wanted to refer back to and Unread Posts for following topics that were of interest for a couple days.

                                  What was nice was I didn't have to look through all the unread posts of boards that weren't of interest to me at a particular point in time; e.g., Quebec, New Jersey, Chicago Area, B.C., Los Angeles, Home Cooking, International, etc. That was a huge time savings in that I could put off reading other boards I wanted to see until later; e.g., Site Talk, General Topics, Cookware, Not About Food, Food Media & New, Wine, Chains.

                                  I have no idea if CH offers a filter function -- hence my inquiry.

                                  1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                    I thought you knew something about filtering that I hadn't seen yet just looking for instructions. There have been threads about wanting a filter feature but I've never seen one.

                                    As for saving a board in your profile that's the "star" function next to the name of the board listed in each thread. Click it. If you've saved the board properly it will turn yellow. Since that STAR feature was added, all of my clicked Saved Boards appear as a list in My Saved Boards tab.

                              2. re: Dave MP

                                Sorry, but can you please spell it out for me. Once I have looked at a list of posts how do I "make them go away" if I have read them or they are not of interest?

                                Thank you.

                                Stripes

                            3. Don't like this change at all. I would guess that the reason the unread posts feature was not used was that you made it too dang hard to figure out how to use it. Hot Posts was much easier.

                              I am getting closer and closer to abandoning this site.

                              2 Replies
                              1. LOng time reader of Chowhound. Hate that you eliminated unread post feature. Makes Chowhound catch up torturous. Please bring it back.

                                21 Replies
                                  1. re: shaebones

                                    DAVE MP says there is some equivalent way to do this, but I can't find a way to dismiss all posts I've read and only see the new stuff on the Boston board.

                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                      I don't think you can actually make the threads you've read "disappear" – rather, they simply lose the "new" flag when you return to either the Boston board page or your profile page and you then simply ignore those. (If a new post was made in the thread AFTER you had opened the thread and started reading it then when you go back to the higher-level page that thread *will* still have a "new" flag on it)

                                      1. re: huiray

                                        The feature that was eliminated did allow you to completely clear your view of a board. It was especially nice to not have to scroll down past all the stickies at the top of the board to even see if there were new posts you hadn't read. Then after reading what I wanted to read, my OCD side was satisfied by being able to clear the board completely before easily switching to another board to see only what was new there.

                                        I miss it and wish it had not been eliminated.

                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                          OK, thanks. I have never "seen" or "used" that feature that you describe - not consciously, anyway. It does not seem that significant, perhaps that is why I never bothered about it. Just ignoring the "new" flags versus the no-longer-new-flags-designated threads seemed simple and un-stressful to me.

                                          1. re: huiray

                                            You'll just have to take my word for it that it really was a great feature. I've been using it for the 10 years that I've been on Chowhound. Unfortunately ever since Chowhound was sold in 2006 the feature became more and more buried so fewer and fewer people knew about it. It's a shame that such a useful feature was so hidden and now is gone.

                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                              FWIW I had been using the "unread posts" feature accessed through my profile page for years. I don't seem to remember it "deleting" or "obliterating" threads that I clicked on to read then returning to my profile page... But I'm sure I'll be told that I am wrong. Even if the site DID "remove" threads that I had clicked on (and didn't notice) that seems a trivial matter to me - just simply MOVE ON past those threads that you have already read if they are not flagged as having "new" posts...

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                I am not telling you you are wrong, but I do think we are talking about different pages. This thread is about the feature that was located at http://www.chow.com/new_posts which had the option to read all new threads on a particular board, had a "Mark As Read" option and allowed you to then use a "Switch to another board" option so you could move to another board and see what new posts had been made there since you last visited it (and ONLY those new threads, not stickied threads or threads you'd already read.)

                                                If that's the page you were using and didn't think was all that special, well, that's fine. We don't all have to like the same things. If that's not the page you're talking about, then you don't really have the base of reference to say whether or not it was trivial or useful. But it really doesn't matter what you think, or what I think. It's gone and that's that. And to go back to StriperGuy's question, no, I don't think that functionality exists on the site currently.

                                                1. re: Chris VR

                                                  Maybe one of the Great New Things to Come will be something similar. My proposal would be to add two features to the default display of each board:

                                                  1) A button or link to mark all threads on that board as having been read, thus removing the New icon from those threads the next time the board is displayed.

                                                  2) The option to display for each board only those threads with a New icon.

                                                  These two features, combined with the newish My Saved Boards pull-down, would make the default board display perhaps even more useful than the old Hot Posts.

                                                  ETA: Hot Posts is the only way that I've viewed CH since its inception.

                                                  1. re: Chris VR

                                                    Huiray: Chris VR's method really worked for me too -- I prefer less visual clutter.

                                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                                      The page you refer to is one of the pages being discussed here and by me.

                                                      OK, fine. I didn't really use the "Mark as read" feature because it seemed so simple to me to just ignore threads that I'd read and that no longer had a "New" flag. I just skipped past it. It was no effort at all.

                                                      In fact, I found it useful to still have the already-read-(and responded to) thread in view because sometimes I would remember some post in it and wanted to add something more to the thread, or to re-read something that I remembered seeing on that thread.

                                        2. re: shaebones

                                          As Dave MP says the Chowhound home page (click on the red "Chowhound" tab itself at the top in the grey strip that runs across the width of the webpage) contains all the new posts made to the boards in chronological order, paginated, adjusted just the other day to "newest last post" being at the top of the list. This is the same as the old "unread post" feature, it seems to me?

                                          1. re: huiray

                                            A) I'm pretty sure I'm still seeing the list in reverse chron order by original post, NOT sorted by last post to the thread.

                                            B) It's actually nothing like "unread posts." Unread posts listed ONLY threads you had not read. There wasn't all this nonsense with "new" flags that change once you read them, but the thread itself stays in full view. This is barely less cumbersome than having to scroll through every board on the forum. They might as well just kill the feature entirely as far as I'm concerned.

                                            If this is the extent of the change to "unread posts" it's an epic fail imnsho and I'm shuddering in anticipation of what else they're planning to change....

                                            1. re: MikeG

                                              A) It does seem to have reverted to being ordered by OP. When I posted my comment it *was* by last post, I had just "used" that CH page.

                                              B) Hmm, I don't remember "read" threads disappearing from my "unread posts" listing when I accessed it from my profile page...

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                The "read" threads remain in place, just no longer flagged "new" so the page remains cluttered and the length is still very long and taking awhile to load.

                                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                                      I'm w you Chris VR. The loss of the Unread Post feature is huge.

                                                1. re: huiray

                                                  Maybe there was some sort of quirk that I never noticed and you had to explicitly mark them read? I don't know. They certainly disappeared from my listings after I hit "Mark all posts as read", which I guess I always did after scanning "unread posts."

                                          2. Since "unread post" feature was nixed, I find I get through my favorite boards faster (despite being more cumbersome), Are less people posting on chowhound?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: shaebones

                                              I agree, it takes fewer clicks by not having to exit a thread and mark all as read. With high traffic boards (e.g. SF) I've found it often helps to view the top thread so there is a "marker" in the list as to where I left off, especially if I haven't visited the thread in a while.

                                              Keeping my four most frequently used boards in the browser tool bar makes it simple to move down the row quickly and efficiently.