As far as I can tell, the Recent Posts page ranks threads in descending order based on the first posting in that thread. So if a thread was created more than a week or two ago, you'll never see it on that page even if a new message was posted to it a couple minutes ago. Meanwhile, a topic that's a week old and with no postings for the last six days would still appear on the Recent Posts page (which is OK, of course, as it gives more people a chance to see it and respond if they wish).
This makes it impossible to "bump up" an old thread, as they say, which is a common practice among most bulletin board users on the Internet. I'm sure this is by design, but I'd like to point out some ways it may be making things harder for everyone here.
1. For example, Henry recently started a thread for all Gmail invitations to be posted. If you post there now, however, you won't be able bump the thread up to the Recent Posts page, which means only those who've already signed up for an alert or those who are browsing the forums one by one will see your post, and its reach will be diminished considerably.
2. You don't see very many non-English forum threads on the Recent Posts page, since they're quickly joined by a deluge of new topics posted to more popular forums, get lost in the shuffle, and are ultimately pushed off the page. "Yes, just like others," you may say, but a lot of non-English forums have relatively few threads and those were started a long time ago. Posts are made frequently to these threads, but once a thread is "old," they never show up on the Recent Posts page, reducing the potential that a casual visitor will see an interesting posting and contribute to that forum.
3. The inability to resurrect an old thread and give it wider exposure may prompt most people to start new threads unnecessarily, increasing the number of threads to be visited by moderators and making their tasks more time-consuming.
I suggest that a way be found to feature a recent post on the Recent Posts page even if the forum it's a part of was created years ago. If this is impractical, maybe an option can be introduced to toggle between the current system and another that shows only threads with new posts since the user's last log-in. In this new view, only the "red" folders of our current list would be shown, but it would show the reds from all forums, no matter how old, without having to check them individually.
Recent Posts is where I go to check out new forum activity, and I feel like I'm getting only half the picture. This must have an impact on casual users who don't follow forums religiously, signing up for alerts and so on.
Perhaps there already is such a toggle function and I'm missing it?
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