Default tags appear in sidebar if user preference is empty

When I try to empty the tag list in the sidebar, “official” comes back.

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Admins can configure a set of default categories and tags for the sidebar. On meta, we’ve currently configured it such that #official is the only default tag.

When the user preference is empty, we populate it with the default tags, but I can see how this is unexpected if you’re emptying it intentionally.

We do plan to make some changes to the logic for how empty preferences are handled.

This is the spec we currently have in mind:

We want to update how we handle empty sections and empty defaults for categories and tags in the sidebar so that we’re properly nudging people to configure things, but attempting not to annoy people or sites who prefer not to use them.

Our approach is to:

  1. Nudge staff to configure defaults
  2. Treat defaults being present as a signal that these sections should be present for users
  3. Hide the sections for users if no defaults are configured.

Here’s a more expansive description of the logic:

  1. If a site has no tags
    • hide the tags section for everyone
    • hide the user preference for sidebar tags
  2. If a site has no default tags
    • Hide the tags section for users if they have no tags configured; if they configure them via preferences, show section
    • Show a link to “Configure default tags” to admins at the bottom of their tags section (below any tags they’ve configured for themselves, if any)
  3. If a site has no default categories
    • Hide the categories section for users if they have no categories configured; if they configure them via preferences, show section
    • Show a link to “Configure default categories” to admins at the bottom of their categories section (below any tags they’ve configured for themselves, if any)
  4. If a site has tags and defaults, but user has none configured
    • Show a link to “Add tags” in their sidebar
  5. If a site has default categories, but user has none configured
    • Show a link to “Add categories” in their sidebar
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That explains Dave, thank you for your fast and elaborate response!!

I was just going to post in #ux about this one

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That would be good for the very first time.

But after a user has explicitly cleared the categories (or tags) section, it would be good if the entire section went away completely.

The user obviously knows how and where to configure the categories and tags, explicitly emptied it, and then the nudge reappears, while we already know that they do not want to configure any.

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I think this a pretty solid rationale and I appreciate it being important to find a balance between “nudging” and “nagging”. My rationale above is to put a bit more power into the hands of the admins to define the UX for members of their community.

I have some concerns that users may not easily find their way back to add these things if the sections are completely hidden since the path they take to get there to remove them (clicking a link in the section) is different from the path to add them back (finding their way to the preferences page directly).

But I expect this is going to be area where things continue to evolve as we learn a bit more about along the way.

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