Category preferences

(Sam Saffron) #1

To date, most of the communities we have run have had very low levels of “interest segregation”. Most users have a similar level of interest in most categories.

However, now that is picking up steam, this is changing. Some users are VERY interested in “Rhino for Windows” and not at all interested in “Rhino for Mac”.

I have been thinking about how we can better accommodate for different interests within a community. To do this I suggest we add per category user preferences.

Here are the options I think we should consider:

###Muted category

  • Highest level of suppression, muted categories do not appear in the “new” or “latest” tabs (unless you explicitly started tracking a topic in that category)

###Untracked category

  • Medium level of suppression, topics in untracked categories show up in the “latest” list, however don’t have the “new” star on them. The do not show up in the “new” tab.

###Default category

  • Default (what we do now)

###Tracked category

  • Raise the volume, topics in these categories will ALWAYS be tracked regardless of the global setting. Topics in these categories will keep the “new” star on them till you read the topic.

###Watched category

  • This is the highest level of volume, same as tracked. ALSO send an email to you whenever a new topic is posted in this category

This leaves 2 questions

  1. Is this too much / too little?
  2. Where will the user enter these settings? UI mocks?

How to get notification of all new topics of a category?
(Мария Сергеева) #2

There are also suggested topics in bottom of threads. As they can belong to different categories they should be affected by preferences too.

(Sam Bauch) #3

I’ve definitely had users ask for these, particularly the watched/tracked categories features. I think making the system very similar to the topic tracking system would be great, so this is neither too much nor too little.

In terms of where the user enters these settings, I think you could emulate the topic tracking as well (at least for watched/tracked). i.e. if a user demonstrates a lot of activity in a given category, give some sort of inline prompt of “Would you like to be notified about new posts in this category?”

(Kevin P. Fleming) #4

I too plan to run a Discourse with categories that have non-intersecting user bases, so this discussion is quite welcome. I think your proposal is spot on, and I think I’d prefer explicit action for modes other than “Default”, which could be done on the Categories page.

(Мария Сергеева) #5

If category is watched it would be good to give an ability to explicitly select whether emails should be sent on new threads only or on both new threads and new replies in the existing threads. If forum is big amount of emails in some category can be really huge if every reply is emailed. For some category types (like news or classifieds) it is also can be not welcomed.

(Мария Сергеева) #6

There is a background color highlighting for interesting tags in StackExchange on the main page. This feature can be useful for watched categories for latest page especially if there are many categories in the forum.

(Benjamin Kampmann) #7

This sounds really great. As we are looking into using this as a replacement for a multi-mailinglist-system for organisational teams, being able to mute a category to not be bothered about it, would help a lot to keep the volume down and the engagement high. We’d use different categories to organise events of teams in independent locations and they do not need to be bothered with each other (unless mentioned in a topic). High plus one for this from here.

"Email all Posts" option to allow email client interaction
(Brian Gillespie) #8

I think this idea will be useful for many users, but for those of us on staff at McNeel that need to monitor many different categories, the following would be more useful:

Prefer topics from the same category as the topic I am viewing in Suggested Topics.

Background: when I’m reading the Rhino for Windows category, I’m logged into my Windows machine - I can test and reply on that forum. To participate reasonably on the Rhino for Mac category, I have to log into a Mac computer. Reading the Windows category isn’t helpful in that context. It is much more efficient to get my head into a particular space and stay there: focus on all the python scripting questions at once, then on the Rhino for Windows questions, then C++ programmer questions. If I’m jumping around from category to category with each post, I have to do a context switch. You know how much I hate context switches, right?

So… two simple things would help a lot:

  1. If I view a topic from a specific category, the Suggested Topics should prefer that category until I’ve exhausted it. It isn’t necessary for this to be some super-smart feature that can tell that I started in a category list and boxes me in. Just staying “in the same vein” as the previous topic would be sufficient.
  2. When viewing a category listing, it would be helpful if the New and Unread counts at the top pertained to that category only - and clicking those links would filter the results I already see in the category listing.

(Jeff Atwood) #9

This is already the case – except topics that you are tracking with unread replies are prioritized regardless of category. So if you happen to be tracking a bunch of topics outside the current category, which currently have unread posts, you will see those first in Suggested Topics.

Note that we recently changed Suggested Topics so it puts topics that you created on top whenever possible. Logic being, of all the topics you care about, the ones you personally started are the ones you’d care about the most.

I suppose we could also change it so that topics with unread replies from the current category are shown first as well. What do you think @eviltrout, this is a very similar change to the “put your topics first” change we just made, above.

(Brian Gillespie) #10

I appreciate Discourse working to make my life easier by putting the best topics first! It turns out that I’ve got Discourse set to track basically everything, because I want to read it all. I think several other staff here track almost everything, too. I guess that means that the current sort is guaranteed to show up with mixed categories for me.

Given the criteria you mentioned above, my sorting preference would be:

  1. Current category - Unread topics I created
  2. Current category - Other Unread topics
  3. Current category - New topics
  4. Other categories, intermingled - Unread topics I created
  5. Other categories, intermingled - Other Unread topics
  6. Other categories, intermingled - New topics

This would allow me to see things I care about most within the context of the category I’m currently viewing. Thanks for listening!

(Jeff Atwood) #11

Just so that you can understand what I mean about the current behavior. With no topics containing unread posts, here’s what I see in Suggested Topics at the botto of this topic, right now:

(Brian Gillespie) #12

Yep, I get it, thanks. That is how I want it to look if there are 5 unread or new topics in the current category, regardless of the state of topics in other categories.

(Lowell Walmsley) #13

Since we’ve started using discourse, I’ve tried a few times to look at the discourse forum and didn’t get very far.

I think these would help a lot:

  1. Be able to select multiple threads at a time to mark them ignored or read or whatever.
    Best for me would be shift-click to select a range like standard Windows.
    Checkboxes would be ok if they work with shift-click like in Gmail

  2. When I’m looking at Rhino Windows or Rhino Developer, and select Unread or New, I want to see Unread or New for the individual forum, not everything available in all forums. In general, I (almost) never want to see intermingled threads from more than one category.

Not being able to do those things makes it so I don’t have time or patience to use the forum much except to see specific posts I get email about. (And makes it annoyed every time I try.)

(Jeff Atwood) #14

Your proposed change has been checked in and is deployed here. Good suggestion! No reason not to be consistent in the read and unread states on Suggested Topics anyway…

(Jeff Atwood) #15

Yes, this is definitely coming. You will be able to select multiple topics and change their notification state all at once, without entering them.

The Suggested Topics change that was implemented today, proposed by @briangillespie, should help you a lot. Pick a topic, then scroll down to the Suggested Topics. The unread and new topics shown there will now favor things in the same category by default.

(Lowell Walmsley) #16

Great that we’ll be able to select multiple threads. That will help a lot.

I think the Suggested Topics is the little list with 5 threads, right?
Its a good idea to have that choose from the category we’re already looking at.

What I meant, though, was about selecting New Rhino for Windows or Unread Rhino Developer in the bigger list and not have to look at things from the other categories, but still see a lot of (preferably all) the threads in the filter I select.


(Brian Gillespie) #17

Whoo hoo! Thanks! Can’t wait to have it on our server!

(Brian Gillespie) #18

We’ve finally manage to upgrade to the latest Discourse 0.9.6, and this feature isn’t working as I expected.

Today, I still can’t see that Discourse is preferring topics in the category of the current topic (News):

(Jeff Atwood) #19

Yeah this regressed. I was noticing that too. @eviltrout can you fix it?

(Robin Ward) #20

I looked at this but couldn’t repro it. I was able to get it to show topics from other categories first, but in that case all were topics that I created.

For unread, we prefer topics created by the user first, then topics in the same category second. Should that be changed?