Currently watching categories is opt-out. On forums having lots of new topics, this results in a huge number of items in example.com/unread. I think the unread page would be far more useful if watching categories was opt-in. That way /unread would contain only the items a user is interested in from the start and they won't have to go ignore a bunch of categories in order for /unread to become useful.
If we were to update the list automatically the page would be a total mess on a busy forum as topics would have to move around every time a new post comes in.
You do have a point there.
However, you could still do it in a Facebook-esque style:
When a reply is made to an existing topic (or a status, on FB) is made, do nothing (or alternatively, only update the reply count & "X posted Y minutes ago" snippet)
When a new topic is made, add it to the top of the list
List every topic in order of most recent reply (current behaviour)
@julian how difficult would it be to implement that check..? It's because the way I'm using NodeBB, each member has his own personal category and only a certain group is able to create topics in it. Since each member has his own category the admin home page is cluttered with every member's personal category. So it would be awesome if those categories don't show up in the admin's home page. 🙂