My issue with the "mark as read" dots in the Redesign is that I might mark a parent post as "read" but once a new reply is added, the dot by the parent post turns green again. This can be confusing as I might think "oh, I must have missed that one" and then read and grade it again (a second time) or simply waste my time reading something I'd already read.
Just another reason why using the side bar is not helpful because any new replies to the thread do not show as new independently of the parent post.
I do not want the "mark as read" dot by an older post to change based on there being new replies further down the thread. Once I mark it as read, it needs to stay that way.