Changes to the site forum system

This site is providing a useful forum for discussing Ovni matters, but it is apparent that members are often not becoming aware of new topics and others’ responses posted.  In several instances, members have appealed for advice and no one has noticed their request before it gets lost off the bottom of the Recent Activity list.  Further, some members only visit the site occasionally, and, when they do, there has been no easy way for them to catch up on discussions since their last visit.

To address these issues, two significant changes are being introduced:

Forum subscriptions become ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’

Up until now, members have been expected to subscribe to the forums they wish to follow.  In practice virtually no one is doing this and so members are not being informed when new topics are raised.  Henceforth, members will be automatically subscribed to all forums apart from Site support and Known issues with this site.  This means that you will get an email alert whenever a new topic is posted.

If you do not want to get emails for particular forums, you can unsubscribe from them and you will no longer get email alerts for those forums.

When you post a topic or reply to one, you will be subscribed to that topic, unless you untick the Notify me option, and hence get email alerts to any subsequent replies.  Otherwise you will not automatically be subscribed to topics.  So if you want to be alerted when there is a reply you must subscribe to that topic.

Catching up with unread topics and replies

In future, the system will note which topics you have read.  In the forum indexes, entries with unread topics in them or their sub-forums are now marked with a blue dot and this makes it easy to find topics you have not seen.  A Mark all topics as read button allows you to mark all topics as read (including those in sub-forums) without needing to visit the topics.

Until now the right sidebar showed Recent Activity — a list of the five most recent topics or comments.  Activities were often being missed because they shuffled out of the list before they were seen.  This has been replaced with For your attention… — a list of the most recent unread topics and comments.  You can follow the links in these entries to read the topic.  Whenever a topic is viewed, it will be removed from the list of unread ones.

Prior to introducing this system, there was no record of which topics you had viewed and so everything is initially regarded as unread, will be marked with the blue dot and will appear in the For your attention… list.  You can start reading topics from the top of this list until you get down to ones you are already familiar with.  Then click on the Forums tab and use the  Mark all topics as read button to mark all topics as read.  This will clear the remaining entries from your  For your attention… list.  When new topics or replies are subsequently made, they will appear in the list, enabling you to catch up, even if you only visit rarely.

If you wish, instead of marking everything read, you can mark individual forums or branches of forums by using the button for that forum.  For example, if you are not interested in the This site forum, navigate to that forum and use the button to mark all topics read and removed from your list.Note: When a reply is posted by another member, the topic becomes unread again and a direct link to the latest comment  on it appears in your For your attention… list.  This is regardless of whether or not you are subscribed to the topic.


The About forums and About email notification pages have been updated to reflect these changes.

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