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Alter behavior of "Show new replies to your posts."

Started by TMI, June 27, 2024, 02:43:15 PM

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I'm just an end-user who would like to see a feature added.  I did a search here and did not see this specific issue addressed.

The situation:  On a forum I visit daily, I often use "Show new replies to your posts." to see if anything, anywhere that I may have commented on got a reply or further comment.  Unfortunately, I have posted in some threads that "never die" -- such as an off-topic board "What are you doing today unrelated to (our hobby)?"  I posted there 2 years ago, and still see new replies to my post.  There are several threads like this.  They usually outnumber the active threads I really care about.

My first thought was a separate, user-definable ignore list for threads like this.  Unfortunately, that would be ignored "forever." Possibly the system could remove the thread from the ignore list if I posted there again?  Seems overly complicated but possible?

But then I realized -- the system is probably not maintaining a list of threads I've posted in -- it is probably on-the-fly checking where I've posted, and creating the list of new replies found there.  So what I think could work is to add a global user-definable timeout for the search -- if I haven't posted there in x months, don't show me new posts.  The downside here is if someone revives a thread I care about, I would not know.  So this will not work. 

So I'm back to liking my first idea better -- an ignore list for "Show new replies to your posts." for unimportant threads that never die.  Ideally removed from the ignore list if I happen to post there again.   

My second choice would be to order the list of threads by the last time *I* posted there -- so at least the undesired repeat offenders would be at the bottom of the list.  Currently they are all a jumble, probably sorted by the last post time by anyone.

I've seen other message boards that "auto-subscribe" me to any thread I post in -- and I can manually remove that subscription.  That seems like an ideal method.  Whether it can be adapted here, I do not know.
I don't generally use subscriptions, and certainly do not want to manually subscribe to every thread I post in. 

Thanks for considering.


If the site in question is using SMF 2.1 this is built in with marking the topic 'not following' from the button usually marked 'no alerts or emails'.

If it's not on 2.1... time to upgrade.
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Quote from: Arantor on June 27, 2024, 02:46:19 PMIf the site in question is using SMF 2.1 this is built in with marking the topic 'not following' from the button usually marked 'no alerts or emails'.

If it's not on 2.1... time to upgrade.

Hey, thank you! They are still on 2.0.19, nothing I can do to change that.  But good news that if they ever get current, the issue will be resolvable.

@Kindred Thank you for being the stereotypical sysop.


Well, Kindred has a point, it's almost certainly not going to be changed, but as usual he didn't bother to elaborate why.

The practicality is that unread replies is already consistently one of the most computationally complex parts of SMF (on a typical forum, it's in either second or third place behind search and unread posts in some order), and the computational cost of changing this to the order you're suggesting would on a typical forum increase the computational cost by - spitballing - somewhere between 1.5x and 3x the computational cost, on one of the heaviest parts of the system, with few practical ways to improve it.

Combine that with the fact that ignoring topics is doable in 2.1 and it's even harder to justify even attempting the change.

Mind you, I will also offer that I have probably more skin in that particular game than most, and I've honestly never thought for a moment that it would be an improvement to order by when I last posted.
Holder of controversial views, all of which my own.



Thanks for the detailed explanation.  I agree that the features of 2.1 make my request essentially unnecessary, and I'll just have to wait for the owners to upgrade.  It would have only made sense if ignoring topics was not possible -- as it stands, I have no way to sort the fresh topic replies from the stale topic replies.  I'll continue on as I have been.

I hear you on computation cost -- just would have assumed we were past worrying about that by now.  They say my cellphone has 10x the processing power of a Cray-2 supercomputer -- a modern workstation PC should not break a sweat sorting those posts from time to time.

Thanks again! 


Quote from: TMI on July 07, 2024, 04:20:45 PMa modern workstation PC should not break a sweat sorting those posts from time to time.

But your PC isn't doing the sorting, the server is. And the server has to consider significantly more of the work than expected in that processing because it *has* to start by calculating for every single possible topic in the forum as to whether you can see it, whether you *have* seen it, whether you are up to date or whether you are ignoring it.

Your average forum is also not taking up the entire computer it is running on; typically it will be sharing the same CPU with dozens of other websites (or in some cases, hundreds) which means you get a mere fraction of the resources of a 'modern workstation PC' for a problem larger than the one initially being considered.

Like I said, unread replies is - situationally dependent - the second or third most expensive computational component on an SMF forum PERIOD. This is not me speculating on whether this is the case or not, this is because I've studied it, benchmarked it, looked at improving it. Ignoring topics the way it was implemented was not even the fastest method of doing it in some cases, but it was faster than some of the alternatives that were tried (e.g. my hotfix for it years ago is faster objectively but it raises some other computational problems on larger scale forums with inactive accounts because certain of the housekeeping functions can no longer be effectively run)
Holder of controversial views, all of which my own.