In my vBulletin forum, there is an option to see how many new replies were made since my last visit in this thread. It shows the number of the new replies in a black box, on top of the thread icon. In addition, if a person clicks on that black icon, it transfers him/her right to the first unread post in that thread. Here how it looks like: http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/1050/saasagasgagagagagaga.png It's possible to adjust the time this icon is shown to users, so in my forum it has a counter of 48 hours and then disappears (if the user hasn't clicked on that thread. If somebody reads the unread threads, it also disappears).