In addition to category, options are also available per topic and per tag.
So, you can be watching a category but then have specific topics on mute or normal.
Also, you can adjust the activity digest frequency. With the digest, you can still see new things in categories you are not watching. And you can obviously also just visit whenever is good and review things to whatever extent you like.
Forum topics are not issues, though they can be similar. People can have discussions here that have no implicit call for specific responses or actions (particularly in categories that are more open-ended).
Our #welcome category has a pinned post encouraging people to set good notification and email settings that work for them: Welcome to the Snowdrift.coop community forum