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I'd like to see a list of questions that I've recently viewed. This might go on the user page (but only for the user - not for all to see).

  • This would be different from favorites, as it would only be recently viewed.
  • This would not be redundant with browser history, as it would persist across computers (so I can see at home what I was looking at from work).
  • This would not be redundant with recent activity, since I may not have had any activity on a question I recently viewed.

Any takers?

Perhaps show recently viewed questions where the Related links currently are, and slide everything else down?

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I'd like to bump this rather than add a new request. I think this would be useful as I'm currently trying to find a question on MSO that I read a few days ago, but didn't answer, favourite or comment on it and would be a good way to "follow up" threads of interest. –  tombull89 Apr 5 '11 at 13:01
This would be good.. it could be modeled after reddit. –  staticx Jun 22 '11 at 13:45
+1. I often find myself browsing StackOverflow trying to solve a problem, finding people with the same problem but without a solution, and then manually solving the problem myself. It'd be great if I could easily get back to the question and provide them with my solution. –  zykadelic Aug 21 '12 at 9:57
I'm voting to close as a duplicate in the other direction @Mark as this has an official answer. –  ben is uǝq backwards Jan 18 '14 at 16:23
@ben It looks like enough others have gone with the chronological first question, but I'm bothering to complete this comment because I just realised you've just used UEQ and not some special Unicode inversion :-) –  Mark Hurd Jan 19 '14 at 4:48

3 Answers 3

This would involve tracking a tremendous amount of data on the site databases, a transcriptional load that has no comparison currently. While we log every HTTP request so we can see and continually improve performance we do so in an external database on a dedicated server with bulk inserts...that's simply not doable on production SO without causing a lot of write contention, even on SSDs, we simply handle a lot of traffic.

To get an idea, in the last 30 days the Stack Exchange network has handled:

  • 332,719,349 page views
  • 1,134,798,441 total requests

Can we do this? Yeah absolutely, we can figure something out, probably a culled list in redis would be the only reasonable approach performance-wise. The question is can this significant increase in per-view transactional data be justified? I don't think it can be, not for the small number of people who would notice/use the feature.

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I guess this also answers Is there a way to see how many questions you have read?, right? –  Arjan Dec 17 '11 at 10:21
Any figures on what part of those views/requests were made by authenticated users? Like the Ajax calls to get one's personal votes for the posts on a page. (Even a small percentage would still be a large number, I guess, so making those database selects to become inserts is still too much, I guess.) –  Arjan Dec 17 '11 at 10:28
What about a more moderate version, where a user explicitly can disregard a question for say, about a month. Would that be feasible? There are a huge load of questions that I see multiple times whereas I definitely did not want to see them again. –  Maarten Bodewes Feb 23 '13 at 16:21
Nick, what if you only listed the most recent n pages instead? Even just the most recent 5? It would still be a useful addition even if limited. I guess it could also become a feature for those with a reputation or something (as part of the reward scheme) so you're not using databases for new visitors who will probably never use the site more than once? –  Dave 15 hours ago

Surely you could implement this as a client side feature, saving the 'viewed questions' as in html5 storage or in a series of cookies?

Obviously this wouldn't be portable across machines and would have some technical complexities (binding views to particular user accounts say).

...but in general, I find that the only time I'm interested in a previously viewed question is during the same session, when I've accidentally closed a window with a bindingly awesome solution to exactly the problem I'm having ...and then, when I search for it, I can't find it again.

Even if this was only a per-session feature, it'd be truely awesome.

(also, if you want to save your session's views, you could totally have an export-as-bookmarklet option).

I realize that your browser should be able to generate this information for you, but both firefox and chrome get so confused by the fact that I visit stackoverflow so much that they list dozens of irrelevant urls that isn't any more helpful than just searching.

The feature I really want is: Where the heck is that question I was just looking at 2 minutes ago?


Edit: I notice the original question specifically said they wanted it to persist across different machines. Perhaps this isn't the best solution for that specifically.

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+1 Almost just wrote this same post. –  ThinkingStiff Jan 29 '12 at 3:50

A good alternative to this would be an option to view questions you voted on recently (obviously where only you could view them). This resolves Nick's concern about tracking all the data because votes are already tracked. If you think you might want to come back to a question/answer, vote it up or down. Or possibly up-vote a comment and the vote log could show that.

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This is (now) available in activity in one's profile. One cannot search those though, and would need to browse through many pages of votes (if one votes often). –  Arjan Feb 23 '13 at 17:05

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