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Ability to differentiate between Updated and Brand New Discussions - Is this helpful to you?

This is a general question for logged-in users of the site, and I'd love to get feedback from a variety of people.

With the design changes that came in December 2012, we introduced a way to differentiate between Brand New (you've never read them) and Updated (you have read, but there's a new update since you last read it) discussions. For the first three months, it was indicated using arrows, but then in March of 2013 this changed to a blue dot, which you see to the left of the title on board pages.

Prior to December, there was no way to see this differentiation. Threads were either read (in entirety) or new (which could have meant entirely new, or could have meant a thread you've read before with some new posts added)

So, the question I have is: Is this type of differentiation useful to you?

Some points to consider:

1) This differentiation (currently blue dots) is only useful on Board pages and the Chowhound homepage, when you are logged into the site.

2) You do currently see blue dots next to discussions in your profile, but these aren't really useful at all. If something is in your profile, it means you *must* have read it before, which means there are really only two states a discussion could be in: updated (with a blue dot) or completely read (grayed out)

So, to reiterate, I'm most interested in finding out whether you find this type of differentiation useful as a user. Is this something you look at and care about when browsing board pages?

Dave MP

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  1. Oh bummer, I was hoping this was some way to differentiate ancient threads from current ones.

    1. No, it doesn't make a difference to me. What I have been saying for years is that I would like to see a way to tell when a new response to a thread I have posted on is a reply to my own contribution to that thread. For example, if there's a long thread about favorite childhood desserts that I posted on, I am not interested in following it once it's months old and longer than the river Nile. But if someone posts to reply to my post there to tell me that there's now a mix that's just like Whip 'N Chill, I'd like to read that. Even more if I've asked a question that someone is answering.

      ETA: It WOULD be good if a color change or icon were used to call attention to the resurrection of a seriously old thread. I'd suggest over a year but whatever. Someone just revived a 12yr old one on what kind of wines to use for braising. That's not a time-sensitive issue so no big deal, but when readers forget to check the date of the original post, it leads to superfluous posting.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        The only problem with being notified only whens someone replies directly to one of your comments is that since indented threading only goes three levels so I often see people simply replying to the last comment in a subthread even when responding to a specific comment further upstream.

      2. I'm a muddler, meaning I just muddle through it all. Doesn't make much difference to me either. Poor Dave! You're working your heart out and no one seems to notice. But thank you! ;-)

        1. Hi Dave-

          I do find it helpful. Often times I read a post that interests me but am either too busy to respond or am curious to see what others say. When I come back it makes it easier for me to find those threads by scanning the blue dots.

          I mostly use it on the main discussion board but if I remember where I saw the interesting post I will use it there too.

          3 Replies
          1. re: foodieX2

            When you say you use it on the "main discussion board" do you mean this page? http://chowhound.chow.com/boards

            1. re: Dave MP

              Yes exactly. When I have a few minutes I like to jump to that board after my profile. Give me a quick view of hot topics

          2. I do use the blue dot indicator, often. If I've read a thread that I haven't contributed to, it lets me know there is more to see next time I come across that thread.

            1. I'm with foodiex2 and kitchengardengal. I find the blue dot helpful. If you dispensed with it, I think I'd miss it.

              1. Yes! I love this feature because if a title is intriguing I might look and dislike. The blue dot alerts me that this isn't new to me and usually if I am over a thread I will remember using both the dot and the title but the title alone will not help me.

                1. Absolutely useful (though it does sometmes suck me back into a thread that has ceased to interest me ;)

                  1. I do find it useful. I never go to my profile if that defines me as one of "those" kinds of users.

                    And I echo the comments of others that some way to notify the "revivers" of ancient threads would be an even better feature to add.

                    1. I find them to be very useful. I use them to scan a topic with a lot of posts that I have no interest in.

                      1. I really like this feature.

                        1. I know you're not soliciting new features, but one thing, related to the read/unread state of posts, that I wish would be possible, though I understand it may be difficult to implement, is the ability to restore the last read/collapsed state in a post. Often, if my internet connection is poor, especially on my cell phone, I'll click on a post that I've read/commented on and it will not fully load. I will need to reload it but the initial load attempt causes the server to think I've read the thread and collapses all comments. In long threads it makes it difficult to parse the comments for the ones I've not actually read yet.

                          1. I find it very helpful. Incredibly helpful in managing my time--which threads will I open, which will I not open. Please keep this feature. Doesn't need to be a blue dot, but please keep some differentiation.

                            1. I don't look at the dots, just the subject header. Makes no difference whether I've read the thread before. You didn't ask, but what I'd like is a filter to hide threads that I don't want to see again, because these are cluttering up my profile, and also posters whose messages I don't want to see, period - a twit filter.

                              1. I like the differentiation between threads I've contributed to and those I've simply read w/o posting. Since I always start with my profile page I can see instantly which threads I need to look at for updates. If a blue dot appears on an updated thread in which I am no longer interested I just ignore that thread.

                                So, please do keep some kind of indication of updates and unread threads.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Gio

                                  Usually I'd just hit "recommend" but want to actually say that I'm in agreement with Gio. I also start with my profile page. I hope you'll keep this feature and see no downside to keeping it. IMO, it ain't broke :)

                                2. Yes, I like it and use it.

                                  1. I like the blue dots (or arrows, it didn't matter) but I do not understand why you say they are not useful. I got to this thread from the Site Talk page and I saw a blue dot on the thread 'What the Hell Happened' but I didn't not open it because I opened it once before and the subjet matter did not affect me in any way.

                                    I agree with greygarious. It would be helpful if there was another notification if someone replies to MY post rather than to just any post in a thread to which I have replied.

                                    And yet again, I'll make a request for a way to opt out of following a thread I have no more interest in following. There are several to which I am completely bored with and yet they keep popping up occassionally in my profile.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: John E.

                                      Re the last paragraph, from your lips to the Mod-Gods' ears :) But they're working on it.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Sometimes I wish the 'edit' feature lasted at least a day. ("...didn't not open it..."???)

                                        I too always start with my profile page. I will somew go for days before posting on a new thread if it's a busy week.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          Oh, I also, re new posting. And then it's usually something from the bottom of my page that catches my eye.

                                    2. Now that I know about the blue dots, I think it's useful. But the dots need to be bigger. I didn't even notice them until a few minutes ago and had to do a search to find out what they were.

                                      1. I like it. However, I noticed that, more often than not, there will be replies that are new to me since I last checked a thread -- and they're grey, as if I read them already. The most recent one will usually be white, but then there are generally several others (and no, they did not all post at the exact same time as the one person who's the "only" new post)

                                        So I kinda hafta scroll down and make sure I didn't miss a single morsel....

                                        Why is that, you think?