What are some good practices on when to click "Mark as read" in work-oriented chatting softwares?

As a result of COVID-19 era life style and the increasing prevalence of remote working, I receive much more messages in chatting softwares such as Slack, RocketChat, IRC clients, Telegram, etc. and I spend larger and larger amount of time dealing with them. I often find there are too many messages to read seriously in a line-by-line fashion. Most of the time, there is a way to click a 'Mark as Read' button to dismiss all the unread messages in a chat window (or channel, session, etc.), but in order to optimize the work productivity, I wonder what are some good practices on when to click "Mark as read".

If there is a more appropriate StackExchange website for this type of questions, please feel free to recommend.

  • I've only used Slack. Do the others have something like channels that you could selectively mute? – Llewellyn Jun 1 at 18:37
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    If you have to use all of the mentioned at once, your company is doing remote work wrong. Have you brought up that issue with some manager of yours? – Fildor Jun 1 at 19:02
  • When you've read everything you need to read? You, or others at your company, would be in the best position to identify sources of things you might not need to read. We can't really help with that. If there are rarely or never any messages relevant to you in some group, that would be a good place to start deprioritising. – Bernhard Barker Jun 2 at 11:47
  • Are the messages you're talking about aimed directly at you or are they part of a more general group discussion? – AffableAmbler Jun 2 at 18:33
  • Why mark as read? To get rid of a notification? – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jun 6 at 10:57

You're fundamentally asking: "When is it OK to discard unread messages".

I can think of only one reason, and that is, in cases where nobody has any expectation that you will read the messages.

Which usually translates into the case where you have just returned from holiday, and you have hundreds of messages to sort through.

As the comments say, you should be liberally employing every tool at your disposal, including the muting of channels that are unimportant.

Some communication tools may also allow you to enter a do not disturb mode, which means you will not be notified of new messages until you exit that mode.

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I think some fundamental facts are left out of this question. Who is on the chat channel? Is there any established procedure on how to handle more urgent issues?

My thought is you should try to narrow the chat down to just your important people (manager, supervisor, team lead, etc). If not, I would be direct and inform your boss that with so many individuals chatting, it's difficult to know when there is something urgent and to ask what is the best method to establish communication for important matters.

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