Whenever I ask a question I keep that page open all the time. This means I can click the click to view new answer(s) (or comment/edit) so I can read them. The only issue is I still have the notification.

Is it possible (and would it be a good idea) to check if someone has clicked the link and or refreshed the page after the notification has been display and then automatically mark that notification as 'read' or something like that?

If the user has refreshed the page a note should be put on the page saying there have been changes to the comments or answers. This would let the user know there have been changes without having to dismiss the notification in the top bar.

To clarify what I mean. If the user clicks the link to view that new comment or answer that should be marked as read in the inbox, however if the user refreshes the page ALL notifications should be marked as read.

There could also be a setting to allow the user to enable and disable the function.

  • You mean in another tab? – Tim Post Jun 7 '15 at 17:04
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    @Tim when one gets new answer and still in the question page, two things happen: there are both a notification in the inbox, with a red number, and the live refresh "click to view new answer" - OP here means to "dismiss" the inbox notification when clicking the "click to view" banner. – Shadow Jun 7 '15 at 17:22
  • @TimPost ShadowWizard has the right idea here. Sorry if I did not get my point over to you clearly. – iProgram Jun 7 '15 at 17:23
  • Do you mean only dismiss the notification for the specific answer/comment you viewed, or do you mean dismiss all notifications for that page? – Monica Cellio Jun 7 '15 at 17:27
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    @MonicaCellio It should probably just dismiss the one you saw. – cpast Jun 7 '15 at 17:29
  • If you clicked the link to view that specific answer or comment it should dismiss that comment. If the user refreshed the page then it should dismiss all the comments for that page. – iProgram Jun 7 '15 at 17:29
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    @iProgram could you edit that clarification into the question? (By the way, I would oppose dismissing all notifications for the page just on a refresh; on an active page a refresh can be the easiest way to see what's going on, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to respond to a bunch of comments. In that case I want the inbox entries to stick around.) – Monica Cellio Jun 7 '15 at 17:33
  • @MonicaCellio The notifications will still be in the inbox however the number won't show. – iProgram Jun 7 '15 at 17:35
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    Sure, but out of sight, out of mind. Especially when insufficiently caffeinated. :-) – Monica Cellio Jun 7 '15 at 17:36
  • @MonicaCellio Edited – iProgram Jun 7 '15 at 17:38
  • @MonicaCellio Do you mean that it will be implemented to the site :) – iProgram Jun 7 '15 at 17:39
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    I don't have the authority to implement anything. My "sure" was to acknowledge that what you say is correct, but not enough to persuade me that your request is good. I want to be able to visit my question without automagically dismissing notifications related to it. – Monica Cellio Jun 7 '15 at 17:44
  • @MonicaCellio Ok. There could also be a setting so the user can enable or disable the functionality. This way everyone can have what they like. – iProgram Jun 7 '15 at 17:45

Is it possible (and would it be a good idea) to check if someone has clicked the link and or refreshed the page after the notification has been display and then automatically mark that notification as 'read' or something like that?

I like this idea, as the issue bothers me. There are various methods to read a comment other than clicking the notification.

However, I don't think we can accurately identify when someone has read the content the inbox notification is for without a specific action from them.

Neither refreshing the page or clicking the "load more comments" link signifies a user has read all the newly loaded content, specifically the comment which is sat in their notifications.


You are reading comments on a different post (Q/A) to where your comment is (same thread as where your comment is).

Refreshing the page does not mean you've read your comment as well, as it cannot know you are looking at your comment - you're reading different post to where your comment is.

You could have refreshed to load more comments, load the answer edit, or load new answer(s).
You might scroll up and read your comment, but you might also read the answer edit and close your browser and go out for the day.

Even clicking "Show X more comments" on the discussion where your unread comment is doesn't necessarily mean you've read your own comment.

Ok, mostly you will have, but what if you miss the reply to you?
That notification is a direct indication someone has replied to you, and these are (usually) the more important ones we want to read. So potentially losing this should not be taken lightly, however unlikely it may be.


I would like to resolve this issue, however, so what about:

A new small icon/button is placed on our comment(s) when there is an unread notification for it.
Upon clicking the button on the comment or viewing the notification in the inbox (as currently) will remove the notification as being unread, and remove the button from the comment?

Something like the size of the current "red cross" and "this comment has been edited" icons.
The design could be anything, but for example purposes, I've used a yellow circle with an exclamation mark:


Clicking the yellow icon or viewing the notification in your inbox would remove both.

Not too much change

I not usually in favour of changes to comments, but this is a fairly big niggle, and it happens to me and I don't get many comment notifications.
It must be fairly annoying to users with hundreds of questions/answers and frequent comment notifications.

NOTE: my idea is very specifically place a button on the comment only when "there is an unread notification for the comment", not for any/all unread comments etc.

Anything else would get complicated and we're just trying to resolve having unread comment notifications for comments we've actually read.
And I don't want to introduce a new feature like marking any/all unread comments, this is not a forum - just improving on the current functionality we already have.

  • So do you mean to have a small button by the comment you have read that you click to 'read' the notification? Think that may be a better idea. – iProgram Jun 8 '15 at 14:14
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    Yes, the image in my answer is an example comment, with the "icon". Clicking either the icon in the comment or viewing the notifications in your inbox will remove the inbox "unread" notification (not the comment itself of course) and remove the icon from the comment. The icon is only present on comments which have an unread notification. . – James Jun 8 '15 at 15:02
  • That seems like a good idea. Also there could be a setting that allows users to disable that too. – iProgram Jun 8 '15 at 15:07
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    Many users would love user specific settings in our profiles. But the site doesn't have this, and probably won't introduce it. This is a forum thing really, having site content display in user chosen ways. It's a lot of work to cater for, so Stack mostly provides things which are the same for all users. People might be put off your proposal with you having this in it, perhaps suggest it in a comment. Though, that's just my opinion of course – James Jun 8 '15 at 15:11
  • Ok. So you mean to have your suggestion instead? If so its still better! :) – iProgram Jun 8 '15 at 15:16
  • And also the "responses" tab on the profile? Or just the inbox? – Monica Cellio Jun 8 '15 at 15:54
  • @MonicaCellio This is about notification areas where people are told "You have this to read still" when they have already read it. So yeah updating the responses would probs be good too. I would "guess" they are all fed from the same source so should be easy to update – James Jun 8 '15 at 15:57
  • They're not linked now, hence my question. When I read things via the inbox it doesn't clear the new responses on the profile on that site. – Monica Cellio Jun 8 '15 at 15:58
  • @MonicaCellio I just tested (having never really paid attention to the profile responses area). It seems it could all be cleared up when working on this proposal then? As currently viewing inbox notifications should clear up profile response area too. – James Jun 8 '15 at 16:03
  • @MonicaCellio I mean where it shows the (x) in the red rectangle. That is the inbox only isn't it? – iProgram Jun 8 '15 at 19:50
  • @iProgram the inbox is the thing in the top bar that lights up red with a number in it when there are notifications. In addition, if you go to your profile on the site where the answer/comment/etc was posted, you have a "reputation" tab that shows your new items (since the last time you visited). This tab and the top-bar inbox are not connected; viewing the inbox doesn't clear the tab or vice-versa. – Monica Cellio Jun 8 '15 at 20:13
  • @MonicaCellio I never check in that other section. Never even knew it existed :) lol. Think the inbox would be the best one to fix but connecting both would be good too. – iProgram Jun 8 '15 at 20:45
  • The inbox is fully cleared when you click on it. I use the profile tab as an additional reminder/access in those cases when I got a bunch of notifications. Until we can mark individual notifications as read or unread, I would not want to see clicking on the inbox auto-clear the profile notifications. – Monica Cellio Jul 28 '17 at 16:10

A page refresh does not necessarily indicate that somebody has seen, specifically, things on that page that produced notifications. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. On a question with half a dozen answers and a hundred or more comments total, that's not a reasonable assumption. (And yes, there have been times when I left comments requesting clarification on several posts on a single page.)

The only reliable signal that somebody has seen a notification is clicking on it. Unfortunately, notifications are currently all-or-nothing; if you click on the red number in the top bar at all, you mark all notifications as read, which can be frustrating when there are lots of them. But we don't have a better option right now. It'd be better if the inbox tracked which things you've actually clicked on (with a "mark as read" option for things you've already seen) and didn't reset the counter to 0; that's been proposed before but, I gather, would be a lot of work.

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