Emphasize certain tags / can't decide how to use them

i’m working on a migration to discourse. on the old forum, we have quite a lot of categories and subcategories. one of my categories has like 10 subcategories, and we have resisted adding more of them for obvious reasons.

hypothetical example:


imagine a Food category with subcategories like Asian, European, American.

i like the idea of getting rid of subcategories and using tags instead. multiple tags can be applied to a topic, and we could make many more tags without feeling guilty about polluting the schema with endless classification or infrequently-used tags. imagine tags like japanese, chinese, thai, nepalese, pasta, eggs, sautée, technique, noodles, breakfast.

but a problem i have is that the tags aren’t prominently displayed on the category view page like subcategories would be in the screenshot above.

i would love for a subset of tags or a tag group (just Asian, European, American) to somehow be displayed prominently to users both for browsing and posting purposes.

tags also seem to lack the concept of order/position.

tags do have descriptions though similar to categories which is really nice.

so despite the advantages of tags, am i right that they are missing some ‘first class’ features that categories have?

can some of this stuff be implemented via theme components? like at least displaying a tag group prominently inside of a category on categories page?

or maybe a category tag cloud with one tag group stickied inside of it? something like that could be cool.

i have considered keeping a few subcategories as the bare minimum and using tags for the rest, but my problem with that is subcategories are mutually exclusive. it would be quite reasonable to tag a topic with both Asian and European, for example.

thanks for your insight


my solution is converging on creating a site map topic with emphasized tags.

discourse is amazing software. i love how you can invoke a category or tag with # in the post editor (and append ::tag if there is ambiguity between a category and tag with the same name).

here is an example:

# Site Map

## #food
- #asia #europe #america
- #breakfast #lunch #dinner
- #noodle #soup #baking
- #technique #healthy

this allows me to present/emphasize a subet of tags in whatever ordering/organization i want.

the question remaining is how to present this site map.

i could use a custom sidebar section, but honestly if it belongs anywhere in the sidebar, it belongs in the top (Community) section. or atop Categories.

i could inject it in there with js, but hopefully editing the community sidebar section will be a feature someday.

also, i have entertained the idea of trying to make a theme component that shows the contents of a topic on the homepage. maybe it exists already though?

a preview of how that looks (with tags sort of randomly chosen):



my two biggest problems with this so far:

  1. it seems you can’t hover for tag and category descriptions when they’re invoked with # in a post.
  2. for tags that are in use in multiple categories, clicking on a tag as shown above is not that useful. i may have to actually link to something like /tags/c/documentation/10/reference instead of /tags/reference, which kind of messes up the simplicity of the thing, but it’s not a deal breaker. it would be cool if you could do something like #reference::category:documentation/tags/c/documentation/10/reference