Educating users about tags

Continuing the discussion from Tags: category restrictions, tag groups, relationships:

Thanks Neil.

While we’re at it: do you (or other active members here) have any best-practice to share about educating members with respect to existing tags ? It’s in everybody’s best interest for topics to be accurately tagged, but I find there are a few grey zones (these are concerns for now, granted I’ve not experienced it yet). Here’s a use-case:

  • I’ve defined tags feature1 , feature2, feature3 under group product1, all requiring parent tag product1
  • members of my forum might naturally tend to tag featureX, which won’t be autocompleted because productX should actually be tagged
  • I’d like my members to know that, would they tag product2, then all these tags would be available to them

The instance_url/tags is quite nice in that respect, but I was (and am still) very surprised to see that it’s not linked anywhere in the UI. :frowning: Apart from pinning a post where I send users to this tags page and/or share best-practice, I don’t see how I can pass the message (nor which Discourse UI/UX features can help me on that).

Happy to get input from other forum mods/admins on this.


P.S.: I guess one might argue that products are less tag-like , and could rather be mapped with categories. But I don’t see this working best for us: our products work together (no strict silo), and we’re more leaning towards categories like ‘Get help’/‘Report bug’/‘Discuss best practices’
P.S.2: the above context got me thinking that a ‘Discover tags’ link somewhere close to the tag input field could be a nice UX improvement


Educating myself (and others potentially):

That is wrong, there is a shiny Tags link right there in the hamburger menu close to your avatar. :open_mouth: (my bad for missing it so far)

Still open to feedback/thoughts about getting members to better understand the notion of parent tag, and have upfront visibility on the tags hierarchy.


I followed Neil’s (@neil) tutorial: “setting up a tag schema like Car Talk uses”.

I hoped to end up with something where a user could, up near the top of the page by the “Latest” and “Top” options, select first a Make and then a Model (well actually in my case select a state within the USA and then a city within that state). But I’m having trouble achieving that… the user just sees a single list of all the Makes/Models (states/cities).
When I look at the Car Talks forum site itself, there’s a prominent “Make & Model” button next to “Top”. But when one selects the button nothing at all seems to happen. I posted about that in their site feedback section and was informed that that’s been the case for weeks. I’m wondering if perhaps a recent forum software update has killed that capacity or at least made it dormant.
Is what I’m trying to do feasible? If so, I’d be grateful for any advice on how to accomplish it. Thanks!


So to confirm, you’ve got one tag group of states, and one tag group of cities for each state, where the parent tag for each cities by state group is the relevant state tag from the states tag group?

I’ve just tested that setup and it works, only allowing things to be tagged by manufacturer then model, and only showing model sub-tags once a manufacturer was selected from the filter.

As for their Make & Model option it’s definitely not working they don’t have the tag selector up there enabled either.


Thanks very much, and yes, that does work quite well in respect to adding a tag to a topic (though I’m not sure why the list of manufacturers/states doesn’t stay in strictly alphabetical order though in settings the box is checked next to “Show tags in alphabetical order”… a state I used recently appeared at the bottom and subsequently at the top of the list unexpectedly out of order).

But what I had hoped is that there might possibly be a similar user experience when using the tag selector up at the top between “All categories” and “Latest”… that the user would first encounter a list of manufacturers/states that had been used as tags and then after selecting one of those see a list of models/cities from which to choose. But instead the user sees a list of all tags, both makes/states, and models/cities all mixed in together in one potentially exceedingly long list. Perhaps what I was hoping for isn’t currently practicable.

So if you pick a state and open the selector again, what happens?

After selecting California and seeing the topics tagged with California appear below, what I see in the selector box when I open it again is a set of tags that have been used to tag topics, including, for example, Oregon (a different state/parent tag) and Portland, whose parent is Oregon.

That selector is from a plugin made specifically for Car Talk. I’ll have to look at it to see why it’s broken.

That doesn’t exist, as you found. The tag selector in the top nav includes the most popular tags in the topic list (e.g. category) that you’re currently viewing, but doesn’t consider parent-child relationships between tags. So if I understand what you’re imagining, if you choose a tag that’s a state (which shows you a list of all topics tagged with that state tag), then a second tag selector would appear beside it with a list of city tags for that state (topics tagged with both the state and city tags).


Yes, that’s indeed what I was imagining though no child/city tags would appear in the initially viewed list, and the initially viewed list would be sorted alphabetically if “Show tags in alphabetical order” is checked off in the Tags section of Settings.
Even just that latter alphabetic sorting being possible might work well for me as I think I could then just use tags like:
CA-San Franciso
CA-Los Angeles
and not need to have a parent set and a bunch of child sets, or a two-step process.
Is the fact that I don’t see the tags in the tag selector box in reliable alphabetic order a bug, or is the alphabetic ordering controlled in tag settings only relevant to some other circumstance(s)?
Thanks for that excellent tutorial, by the way. Very helpful for this discourse site admin just getting started!

I am now seeing all the tags in the nav bar tag dropdown in alphabetic order (with a fairly small set of tags and few tests). I’m not sure why I saw a few out of order previously… Perhaps the change has to do with the fact that I’ve now consolidated two subcategories into one.

It would be a bug if the nav bar tag dropdown wasn’t showing tags in alphabetical order. I’m not able to reproduce that bug though.


It’s working perfectly for me now, and I can’t recreate it either…
If I (think I) see it again, I’ll take a screen shot and let you know… Thanks for all your great work.

Is the hyphen the only character allowed in a tag other than a letter or number?

Underscores are valid too AFAIK.


Ah, thanks. That’s helpful!

There are a ton of other symbols which are technically valid in tags (for example ™£∞§¶*•ªº–≠“‘…æ«≤≥÷~) but I hope to never encounter a community where their use is commonplace.

Good to know… The underscore serves my current purpose well.

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These characters are stripped out: # /?#[]@!$&'()*+,;=.%\^|{}"<>`
Everything else seems to be valid.

source: (see TAGS_FILTER_REGEXP variable and self.clean_tag functions)