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Thanks, Richard Lowe
Tricks of the recent post watcher:
the key really is that no matter how short you set it it will never take that long for you to refresh. If by chance you need to walk away the key is to forward your browser to some thread and leave it on that. Then when you come back you just back the browser to the active post list and then refresh it yourself so that you know where you are. I just leave mine set to 60 mins just in case I forget to leave it off of the recent posts page.
there is a science to addiction. You guys don't actually follow the links everywhere do you? Too easy to lose track of what's new that way. ;)
Go to Control Panel -> Active List Preferences.
On the Active List Preferences screen the last option is a drop down "Page 1 Auto Meta Refresh".
Just select "none" to disable the active list auto refresh.