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Notification system improvements

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Issue: Consider the scenario where you post a new question, and five people all write comments or answers on it. Your inbox will then have five notifications in it, one for each new response. You click on one of them at random, and you read that comment. You scroll down and read the other four responses in the thread. You've now read all five responses, but your inbox is still showing four unread notifications.

This is the main issue that I'd like to see fixed: as the system stands currently, the only way to clear out your inbox is to click on each notification individually.

I can see several potential solutions to this:

  • Add a "mark as read" button.
  • Instead of following the routine if clicked is true then set read to true, instead run if viewed is true then set read to true.
  • Automatically mark all notifications as read upon clicking on the inbox tab.
  • Instead of showing each comment separately, group responses to a single post as Your question has 5 new responses.
Why should this post be closed?

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1 answer

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I've encountered this too and agree that the current behavior leaves room for improvement.

I wouldn't want to see an automatic "dismiss all" action when you look at your notifications. This is what SE does, and if you're active on several sites or just have a lot of stuff come in at once, it's too easy to miss seeing (or see but miss responding to) some of them. I think I would prefer to see them grouped by post (your last option) -- if you're going to read one of the five new comments, you're probably going to read all of them while you're there. Treat that as a group.

Different posts, however, should be different notifications (or notification groups), even if they're all in response to the same thing. If I get several new answers to my question, I want to consider each of them individually, and reviewing one might lead me to check sources or do other investigations before I even look at the next one. "3 answers to your question" should not be a notification group the way "5 comments on your answer" would be.

"Mark all as read" would also be useful to have, and if grouped notifications are too hard then let's at least do that. I'd rather avoid clearing notifications based on what we think the user has seen; who knows whether and how far someone has scrolled the page?

2 comments

Hope it's ok to ask this as a comment here: It currently shows one unread notification for me, and no matter how or where I click it, the "1 unread" bubbles does not disappear. Is the notification system currently being worked on? If not, I'd ask a new question for this... Marco13 13 days ago

@Marco13 I don't think it's being worked on right now (though I wasn't online an hour ago when you left that comment). I have sometimes seen the bubble not disappear until I either click the inbox again or refresh the page (or go to a new page). Other times it responds immediately. I haven't been able to characterize it yet. Please feel free to post a report with the info you have. Thanks. Monica Cellio 13 days ago

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