Something like Discourse’s notification levels (seen to the right and bottom of this page with the little bell) could work well too. And I think it would be useful for users to be able to set the notification level for each question, tag, category, and community.
“Normal” would be for:
- (suggested) edits to your own posts
- comments on your posts
- @ comments in questions you’ve participated in? We’d want to limit the potential for abuse here. But a site could also allow general @ commenting like on a SE Team
“Tracking” would be applied to questions you ask (but you could also manually set it, or unset it) and would notify you when
- there is a new answer
- question is closed/reopened
“Watching” would notify you on
- edits to existing answers
But you could mute all of this with “Muted”.
For a tag/category “tracking” would notify for new questions, and “watching” would notify for new answers (or in other words, automatically set questions to tracked).
And like Discourse, there could be a user setting to change the default status for your own questions, or for questions you answer.
Discourse also uses these statuses to change how a topic is shown on the topic list. Similarly we could do the same in Q&A: tracking/watching could highlight the question in some way. It’s basically an expansion of the “watched tags” system of SE.
We may want to use different labels for these.