Need for subforums?

Is there a need for subforums on I feel like there are more topics/day lately, and it’s not always obvious just by reading a topic name too know if a certain topic is about a bug in MonoGame, someone looking for help implementing a feature, or if the post is about something else entirely.

I know there are optional categories that can be applied to every topic, but not everyone uses them. With the increasing number of topics/day I feel like subforums would make it easier to navigate the forums, and also possibly making it easier for new people just looking for help to find answers to previously asked questions. What do you guys think, are subforums a good idea?

As far as I know Discourse doesn’t have any concept of “subforums”. Categories are the main way to organize things.

What should probably happen is having our moderators categorize any topics that users fail to do themselves.

What so you think @moderators ?

What about having the field for category start blank, and have the submit button require a user entry for category?

Perhaps there could be a flashy reminder to “inspect the complete list of choices, before making a selection” (aka selecting “general” when a better category exists)

It depends on what the Discourse software allows.

Yep, just throwing out ideas. I know nothing about forum limitations, I just mean to suggest that perhaps a minor interface tweak could go a long way, before committing admin resources to routine category inspection.

I just noticed as a Regular I can edit topic categories too.

Categories seem to work fine with most other posts. However I don’t think you can make it mandatory in Discourse

Yeah… I don’t see an option to make a category required when posting.

We could request this from the Discourse team if we want… but my guess is this doesn’t exist because they think it doesn’t work well in practice.

I don’t see any major issues with how things are working really. The only thing would be to maybe have our mods help categorize when they see topics that could be better organized.

Imho in practice lot of things would end up in “general” but same thing happens on forums with categories.

That’s why a flashy reminder might be good. Some percentage of people who would otherwise forget, would be reminded to choose a category. It would be a one-time investment, that would pay off forever down the line. :slight_smile:

So I was wrong… there is an option for this in Discourse that says:

Allow topics to be created without a category.

Which is currently enabled. When you enter a topic without a category it by default gets put into the “General” category:

This is where all the current uncategorized topics go (i’m fairly certain this is because I renamed the original “uncategorized” category to “General”).

The setting however has a warning that says:

Allow topics to be created without a category. WARNING: If there are any uncategorized topics, you must recategorize them before turning this off.

Now I have no clue what the implications of this are. Will it disallow me from disabling it? Or will disabling break the site in some bad way that can’t be fixed by re-enabling it?

Then say we do disallow uncategorized topics… where do people put stuff that is “general”?

My thinking is maybe we do this:

  • Rename the current “General” topic to something else.
  • Disable the ability to post uncategorized topics.
  • Make a new “General” topic that users have to select when posting.

Now I have no idea if this will work or what possible side effects it could have. So i’m not sure if this would be better or not. I need to do a test on some temp Discourse install or find an existing Discourse site that has this feature disabled so I can see how it works in practice.

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I think this doesn’t help. Can you move all posts of one topic to another one? If so you can rename current general back to uncategorized, make a new general topic, move all posts of current general topic to new general topic.
However maybe some extra topics can solve the problem. What other topics do you think we need?

Do you have an option to clone the existing site somewhere to test.

Allow topics to be created without a category. WARNING: If there are any uncategorized topics, you must recategorize them before turning this off.

I’m guessing this means existing posts that don’t have a category may not be seen or cause an error until they have a category assigned. If you have access to the DB, this should be easily solvable.
Guess the developers thought this would be something you would / should turn on from day 1