Sorry to hear that, it sounds like you will need to restore your forum from backup
Struggling to make sense of some aspects of the notification system in NodeBB.
As I understand it, "watching" means you see posts in the "Unread" section and also receive notifications (in the bell in the top right and via email if configured).
"Not watching" means no notifications but the post appears in "Unread".
"Ignoring" means no notification and nothing in "Unread".
However, at category level we have the ability to set "Watching", but actually it's the equivalent of "Not watching", as far as I can tell.
There's a plugin, nodebb-plugin-category-notifications, which adds a "Subscribe/Unsubscribe" button to categories and enables full notifications for all topics in the category, but unfortunately this seems to fight with the inbuilt notification system, so if people ignore a particular topic but are subscribed to the category, they still get notifications!
Basically all I want is to be able to click at category level to truly "watch" every topic in that category (unread and notifications) but be able to ignore individual topics if I want to. There doesn't seem to be a clean way of doing this.
There is existing discussion about this here: https://github.com/NodeBB/NodeBB/issues/5172
You can voice your support for whatever option you see as best there.