We have an “off topic” category which I guess is a bit like a lounge.
It’s only visible to TL1 so is quickly accessible by new members and while there are no trade secrets in there, we don’t want it being indexed by search engines as it would take away from the main content of our site.
The description reads:
It’s a hugely popular category and a place that really allows the community members to get to know each other.
Popular (daily) discussions include reality TV shows, live discussions during live sporting events, recommendations for purchases, discount and coupon codes, other hobbies (eg. Motorcycles, camping, etc), online gaming, volcanoes, and general current affairs.
More obscure topics cover things like vehicle tyres, DIY home repairs, Lego
My top tip for such a category? Much like the offline world you’ll quickly find that politics, religion and covid always divide. We don’t ban any of these subjects but we do warn people early on if it looks to be going south. A short reminder is sometimes posted to remind people to respect others views and to remain civil.
I completely forgot it, but we decided on our own forum that the off-topic category would be available only for TL1 users, exactly like your case (though it’s not very popular in our forum).
My question is specifically about the default Lounge category as it ships with Discourse, but your reply is interesting because after all, the only difference between Lounge and a “custom lounge” is that the Lounge is inherent to Discourse.