Alternate category view proposal

New meta discourse user here - hope this is the right place for this…

I asked a similar question over on JustinGuitar community - where I’m a heavy user, not an admin.

JustinGuitar Community - Is there a master list of categories…

The problem over there is that there are dozens of top level categories, each with approx 10 sub-categories, and it’s getting unwieldy.

I don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to post something in a category that I know exists, been unable to find it, and give up and dump it into some catchall category like “Just chatting”

I see lots of other users are doing the same, and it kind of defeats the purpose of having categories in the first place.

It also contributes to the impression that the site is too big, and it’s hard to find things, which is periodically expressed by some of the users…especially new users.

I proposed having an alternate category view that showed everything as a two level, fully expanded tree, very crudely mocked up in Notes on my iPad

Using this approach, I think a user could quickly scan the list, aiding in discoverability for the user, and reducing moderator workload moving topics to proper categories.


That’s a problem that the admins created. It’s a horrible idea and it’s encouraged not to do that. You migth point the admin to It’s Time We Talked About Tags

That’s why it’s encouraged not to have lots of categories. :slight_smile:

Another issue is that they have contrived to have the categories page not list all of the castegories (probably because there are too many). Normally, would list all of the categories. So what you really want is the default list of categories. :person_shrugging:


Thanks for the link. As far as I can tell (I’m just a user) they don’t use tags over there at all, so I assume it would be a massive effort to change the approach.

This might be for historical reasons…the site was ported from some other system to Discourse…maybe it was easier to keep an existing category scheme.

This is all speculation on my part.


There are command-line tools to bulk change/merge categories, add tags and so on. Technically speaking, it’s not necessarily a massive effort, but it has to be thought about thoroughly because some of these actions can’t be undone.
It can also have an impact on the community used to how things are organized. Users would have to adapt their habits to the new structure and learn how to use tags if they are not used yet.

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I mean that’s the way they set up the site and are running it. The Discourse team can make as many new inventions as you want, you have a grand total of 0 input on if any of it is ever used in whatever website you may use. Your first challenge would be to make them even care what you, one user wants in regards to redesigning their site. Then they’d have to install it, make options available, etc. all of which have the underlying assumption that they even think it’s an issue in the first place.

But either way you’ll have infinitely more luck (I’ll wager .5% more?) by telling the people on the actual site you find their site impossible to use and poorly designed, instead of trying to get the people who made the software to make brand new software that you can do literally nothing with lol. All the flaws you mentioned are solely because of how they wanted to set up and use the site. Adding new functionality to “fix” a problem that was self created doesn’t make much sense