Is there a mechanism to watch threads (and I don't just mean those that one has started)?

For example, I might find a thread in which I'd be interested but don't know enough about to contribute?

In Oracle forums one used to be able to "watch" a thread and a pair of little glasses (binoculars?) would appear beside it so that the watcher could see simply by scrolling down the list of threads/questions which ones had previously piqued their interest. Sometimes I find myself saying "drat" (or other words :-) ), "where's that post on <_insert obscure topic of choice>".

Maybe some mechanism whereby a user could

  • signal general interest (pair of binoculars icon on the main page - but don't bother notifying me)

  • notify me of answers via the (way cool) Recent inbox messages icon

  • or notify me of all activity (answers and comments)

Some sort of default could be included in one's profile (general interest, answer, comment level) - I know that one can receive email notifications, but personally, there's enough clutter in my inbox.

Any thoughts?

1 Answer 1


There isn't everything you probably want in this feature - click the little star under the question's voting buttons:

enter image description here

This adds the post to your favorites tab, and there is a "recent activity" view there so that you can see which of your favorites have been active recently.

You can find more details about this feature here. You can see a feature request that I think encompasses more of what you're after - and remains unanswered 5 years later - here:

Mark questions to receive notifications and updates?

In other words, your request has already been made (and probably at least 20 other slightly different ways, too) and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for implementation. The functionality you have now is probably all you'll have for the foreseeable future. That said, you should check out https://stackapps.com/ as there may be apps / userscripts / add-ins that can help out here (or maybe you could write one).

  • Thanks (again) for your input. I think though, that I shouldn't necessarily have to favourite a post just because I want to follow it. I must say that I'm very much singing off the same hymnsheet as the OP in the thread to which you referred. I think that there is scope to make the dashboard in the user profile more sophisticated for discerning posters (like you and me :-) ). Oh, yes, and is there anything about stackexchange that you don't know? :-)
    – Vérace
    Sep 5, 2014 at 0:39
  • Many would probably argue that there really isn't any semantic difference between "favorite" and "follow." You don't think so because "favorite" doesn't do everything you expect "follow" to do. Currently you can favorite or bookmark a web page in your browser. If following is different, why isn't there a follow feature? I'm sure they could make the dashboard more sophisticated, but they need pretty compelling reasons to make any changes. At all.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Sep 5, 2014 at 0:40
  • RSS? I suppose that I'm suggesting that users of the site be allowed a more nuanced way of following/favouriting threads/posts?
    – Vérace
    Sep 5, 2014 at 0:43
  • @Vérace Well, RSS is a browser feature but it relies on the web page offering that protocol. And I don't think it universally tells you when someone has left a comment on a blog post for example (you need to subscribe to a completely different mechanism for that) and I also don't think all RSS feeds tell you when updates have been made (only the publication date). I understand what you're suggesting; I'm telling you that they think the mechanism is already nuanced enough (or they would have created something better in the last 5 years).
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Sep 5, 2014 at 0:44
  • 1
    @Vérace I'm not going to argue with you about this; I'm telling you the current status and how I think the request has been perceived by the powers that be. I can't do anything about it, and trying to convince me something should be done about it is not going to get you anywhere.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Sep 5, 2014 at 0:46
  • I think that what I'm suggesting is within the scope of what's feasible - it certainly wouldn't do any harm - just a nice to have as an option for those who would wish to make use of it?
    – Vérace
    Sep 5, 2014 at 0:47
  • @Vérace Ok, but I'm pretty sure it's already been suggested, no? This isn't a suggestion you can even make here, because this site can't implement something like that independently. You don't need to convince the moderators of this site, you need to convince Stack Exchange. Unfortunately if you post this request there, they will likely close it as a duplicate of the request that has already been made, and then continue to not do anything about it. If I could close it as a duplicate of that request, I would too.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Sep 5, 2014 at 0:47
  • I appreciate the fact that you're taking the trouble to respond - and I haven't been around long enough to have completely grasped the site's (and sites') Gestalt/Zeitgeist - but with your help, I'm getting there. I'll mark your answer as correct and leave it at that, until, Phoenix-like, I arise from the ashes and take control of the world (err... I mean dba.stackexchange...). Apologies for the purple patch - tired, need sleep! Over and out - if you've anything further to add, I'll reply tomorrow.
    – Vérace
    Sep 5, 2014 at 0:53
  • 1
    Since you say you haven't been around long, I'll offer this suggestion: with millions of users before you, if you think you've come up with a great idea to improve the site, you're probably not the first. Search meta.stackexchange.com and meta.stackoverflow.com as you'll likely find one or more similar or identical suggestions, lots of discussion (metas are very lively places, especially when suggestions involve change), and often an official response citing the reason(s) they won't do x, or won't do x now, or won't do x without much more compelling evidence it will improve anything overall.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Sep 5, 2014 at 11:24
  • 1
    Ah... there's the rub. I did search meta.dba.stackexchange.com but not meta.stackexchange.com! Lesson learnt! Thanks again for the heads up. My only defence for posting ideas is in a previous thread you answered one of my points by saying that what applied 3 years ago didn't necessarily do so now. But I will search harder in future.
    – Vérace
    Sep 5, 2014 at 11:28

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