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From time to time I find myself explaining to a member how to use the "New Posts" feature of the website. While it may seem like old hat to seasoned forum veterans, many people still browse forums going from forum to forum looking for new messages, often times missing entire threads or conversations that are taking place. How can you make sure that you don't miss anything? By using the New Posts feature of the website of course! Let's dive into the tutorial.

Step 1: Click on New Posts

This may seem simple enough and it really is, but for those who aren't sure where the New Posts button is, we've outlined it in the following screen capture to help clarify:



Step 2: Review the Results

When you click on New Posts what happens is that the website checks the cookie on your computer for the time/date of when you last visited the website. It then runs a search of the ENTIRE forum for any messages that are newer than that time/date and displays them in a table fashion which is sorted by forum in the same order that the forums are displayed on the site. If you have not logged in for a few days there may be hundreds of new or updated topics and the list will likely run several pages (50 topics per page are displayed with page numbers at the bottom right to navigate to other pages of topics if more than 50 are retrieved). Likewise if you just logged out and log back in and choose New Posts, there may not be any new topics returned.

The following is an example list that was generated after I pressed the New Posts button:



Let's talk about what some of those things mean. First you will probably notice that some topic thread titles are bold while others are not. The ones that are bold are ones that I have not read since I last logged into the site, the ones that are non-bold are ones that I have read. Well wait a minute, if I just pressed New Posts shouldn't they all be bold? Yes, they would be, but what I've done here is that I've read a few topics and then pressed New Posts again. What this does is update your list ON THE FLY! In this way you can keep track of what you've read or not off the results list. Furthermore, if you press New Posts again any new topics that have been posted while you were reading topics will now show up on your list so it may well happen that your list grows longer each time you press New Posts.

One other important point is that once you press New Posts, a 15 minute counter starts, this is a session timeout value and is needed to keep the servers from getting overloaded. What this means is that if you press New Posts and then go read a topic for 20 minutes and come back and press New Posts again, your list may only show a couple of brand new topics and the prior list will be gone because it timed out after 15 minutes. Therefore, I advise making sure that you press the New Posts button at least once every 15 minutes or else your list may time out and disappear because the website will reset your last time/date visit value as being 15 minutes ago.

Second, there are some little envelope graphics to the left of each topic, here is a legend that depicts what each envelope graphic means:



I often look for the envelopes with dots first because I know I've made a post somewhere in that topic thread before and it might be one I want to keep an eye on. Of course if a topic is really important I'll just subscribe to it, but I'll cover that in a separate tutorial.

Third, if I'm not sure whether or not the topic I see in the list is of interest to me, I can hover over the thread topic title with my mouse cursor and a pop-up window (example shown above) will be displayed with a short excerpt of the topic. If I find what I read interesting I am more likely to click on the topic title and read the entire topic thread, if not, I may just move on to the next one. Depending on your browser, sometimes this hovering can be a little tricky and you might have to move your mouse away and try again but once you get the hang of it, it works pretty well and is a feature that many members don't know about.

Step 3: Marking Topics/Forum as Read

Once you've read all of the topics that are of interest to you, it is a good idea to mark all of the new topics as having been read by you, whether you really have or not. Actually what this does is reset your last visit time/date to be the moment that you select the "Mark Forums Read" menu choice. If you immediately choose New Posts after marking the forums read you should not have any new messages. I almost always do this whenever I know I am either going to browse away from the site or simply get up from my desk and go do something else. By marking topics as read I am ready for the next time I sit down and want to see what is truly new since my last visit.

To mark all of the forums as having been read first choose the "Quick Links" button as shown in the following picture:



Next choose the "Mark Forums Read" choice from the drop-down menu and that's it!

Conclusion

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and I highly recommend getting into the habit of using the "New Posts" feature for keeping track of what is being posted on the website, you'll soon find it is an easy way to keep your visits organized and to be certain that you aren't missing out on any content!

If you found this tutorial helpful, please reply and let me know. If there is another feature of the website that you'd like to see a tutorial created for please post your suggestions as well.
 

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Premium Member
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522 Posts
I am just cruising around the site so yes, I did read it and it was helpful.

Better late than never!
 

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Porschiste
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1,444 Posts
So was this tutorial helpful? Did anyone read it? :)

Thank you! Very helpful. I keep going to that "most recent posts" frame on the home page (lower right, just above the fold) and your post has made me realize that I am missing stuff.

But I had thought it would be about keeping people like me (newbies) from posting in the wrong sub-forum.... ;)
 

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Premium Member
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2,355 Posts
Yes , been using this technique for some time, but it was a revelation when I started using this sometime ago. I'm sure it will be very helpful , especially to new members.

Cheers
 
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