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Note: This is not a duplicate of Is there any way to favorite/bookmark an answer?, since I am asking specifically about receiving notifications, nor is it a duplicate of Adding Favorites to the Stack Exchange global inbox, since I am asking about a separate facility to tag individual questions.


I'm asking this from the context of Puzzling.SE, although I'm sure it could be relevant for all SE sites.

Often, on Puzzling, a difficult puzzle will be posted. I will look at it, and think, "That's really interesting; I'm curious to know what the solution is." Sometimes I will favourite/bookmark it, and continue to go back to it to see if anyone has posted an answer/comment.

What would be much more helpful to me, is if I could click something that would add that question to my SE notifications, so I get notified when someone posts an answer or comments, in the same way I get notified for my own questions. Since people use the "favourite" functionality for different things (as a temporary bookmark, or as a way to keep a list of best questions, or as a way to give kudos for an excellent question), it doesn't seem like it should be used for this. Rather there should be a separate "flag" of some sort that can be applied.

Once I lose interest, I could uncheck it, and I would no longer get the notifications for that question.

On Puzzling there are also often puzzles that are worked on in a "group" format: There are many bits to the puzzle, and different people offer solutions for each bit. Thus it would also be beneficial to receive notifications of edits on answers I have tagged/flagged/marked. I realize this aspect might be more difficult, since it doesn't mimic the notifications supplied for my own questions, but even if the notifications of answers/comments could be implemented, it would be very helpful.

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Implementing what you're asking for might be achievable by introducing something what I'd call introducing the concept of "labels" to be used by a user for the purpose of personalization. Read on for more details.

The concept of a label

Think of a label as similar to favorites, whereas each user is free to "mark" something with such label, but with many more extra facilities, and not only to allow a user to mark selected questions using a boolean variable that is on or off (as is the case with using favorites today).

Adding labels

It should be possible to use these label for basically anything that a user might want to use a label for. Here are some examples (incomplete list):

  • Questions.
  • Answers.
  • Comments.
  • Tags.
  • Users.
  • Reviews.
  • ... (What else?).

Personalization of label

It should be possible for a user to define custom values (e.g using multi-value selection lists) for each of those labels, probably stored somehow in conjunction with the user's profile, and ideally with some type of indication if these labels/values are to be considered as private (not shown to anybody else) or public (visible to anybody).

Examples of such custom attributes could be:

  • Status (= Action, WaitFor, Defer, ...), to make it possible to start processing questions (or answers, comments, etc) in a way similar to processing your eMail inbox messages.
  • Context (= Question, Answer, Comment, User, ...), to configure for which kind of SE objects you want to be able to use a specific label.
  • Mark as (= Read, Unread), similar to how eMail clients allow marking messages as read or unread.
  • Follow (= Boolean which is off be default), to get notified about events about a post (like new answers to a question, edits of a post, new comments to a post, etc).
  • Vote (=ToDoUp, ToDoDown, ToRevisit, ToUndo), to keep track of voting actions about posts that you want to perform later on).
  • Like (= Boolean which is off be default, similar to current favorites).
  • Ignore (= Boolean which is off be default, similar to how you can ignore specific tags).
  • Note (some kind of free form text), to optionally add some special note to remember later on why you added some label to a question, answer, user, etc.
  • ... (What else?).

Examples to use such labels

To address your feature request, only the personalization feature Follow (as explained above) needs to be implemented (for questions). But here are some more examples how such labels could be used:

  • Write an answer to this question (for which I need to do some research first).
  • Add this interesting answer to my reading list.
  • Wait for feedback from OPer of a question (to which I submitted an answer before).
  • Remember to reply to some specific comment.
  • Visit other answers from some user who seems to be an expert on topic X.
  • Remember to vote on some post later on (today I ran out of votes ...).
  • Annotate some post to perform some voting action later on (eg to revisit a post you downvoted, as an alternative to this request).
  • Mark this question to possibly ever start a bounty for it.
  • Submit an edit suggestion for this tag.
  • ... (I could add another few dozens of such examples).

Implementation

Obvious, implementing the above concept is not a simple thing. But it could be like implementing a new concept, which can be done using a step by step approach. E.g. start with (only) answers, then comments, then tags, or users, and in the end possibly even replacing (migrating?) existing concepts like favorites (of questions).

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