Thanks for this post. This is good feedback. You are the first person to bring this up.
There are many ways to set up the discussions for the course, for the individual discussion and then each person can set their own preferences.
The discussions are currently set so they don’t automatically generate emails when there are new posts, although that is one option.
Your personal options include subscribing to discussion forums or not. If you are subscribed to a forum it means you will receive notification of new forum posts. Usually you can choose whether you wish to be subscribed, though sometimes subscription is forced so that everyone receives notifications.
You can also choose to be notified when there are new posts to an individual forum.
Yes, it is a bit complicated. Too many emails are really annoying.
Yet another personal setting is to track discussions. Then when you look at the main course page or one of the discussion topic listing pages, you can see if there have been any new posts since you last access each discussion topic. This is probably the best option.
You should access the course most days anyway. This is an effective way to tell if there is anything new that has been added. New posts are highlighted – usually with a different color background for the post author and title.