Forcing users to use topic templates even if they attempt to bypass

Thanks for the improvements to this.

There’s another issue:

Users posting into a Category from another view, so the template isn’t populated into the Composer in the first place.

They write their Topic in an arbitrary format, then submit to the Category, thereby completely circumventing the template.

What might be nice is an inability to post to a Category from anywhere but the Category.

I’m not sure how you’d make that intuitive though, say if you were in Latest at the time and might discourage posting to the right Category.

OR, add the template contents at the top of the post when they select the Category, thereby prompting them to re-hash things …

At present it’s too easy to ignore the templates when posting to any Category.

Just thinking aloud here, there may already be an approach here that someone can school me on or it might not be an easy functional problem to solve (let alone code!)

Lastly, may I plug one solution, and that is using the Custom Wizard Plugin to walk users through this process.

Sorry, I find this post very hard to understand. Can you list the specific actions a user would take, step by step?

Sure, so STR the challenge


Let’s say you have a Category “Introduce yourself”.

And in this Category you have a default template set up in the Topic Template setting of the Category.

Desired User Behaviour

The desired user behaviour currently is:

  1. User visits Category “Introduce Yourself”
  2. Hits “New Topic” - this is now populated with the pro-forma
  3. User fills it in
  4. User Submits

Result: Topic OP conforms to template


STR Circumvention:

  1. Go to Home showing all Categories
  2. Hit ‘New Topic’, write “Hi everyone I’m new here”, pick a subject etc,
  3. Select the “Introduce Yourself” Category
  4. Submit it.

Result: The Topic does not conform to the Topic Template.

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What happens if you change the category before entering the body, that is, you enter each field in the order that the fields are presented on the screen?

I don’t agree that the body content the user typed should be erased and overwritten with the topic template if you change the category during editing.

Oh sure, agree it should not and yes, if the user chooses the Category first, all is good:

Desired user behaviour also:

  1. Go to Home showing all Categories
  2. Hit “New Topic +”
  3. Select the “Introduce Yourself” Category - Topic is now pre-populated with pro-forma
  4. Fill in the details
  5. Submit it.

Unfortunately, choosing the Category is often an afterthought.

I appreciate you are doing everything right here so far, I just wonder if we can add some extra bit to catch the scenario I represent?

What exactly can be done? A nag dialog inviting the system to overwrite the user’s post body text with the template? That’s going to be a hard sell with the user due to loss aversion.


Yes, it’s tricky.

Perhaps a Category configurable option to append the Topic (not overwriting what’s already written) with the template and a nag dialogue to reformat before submitting.

I’d rather, for some cases, the users were guided strongly to do this, and I’m up for making it harder to submit Topics in that area of the site if they don’t follow those steps, just to police the content in that Category.


This is great conversation. Another obvious issue with the template copy is that the forum’s users can range in their ability to understand that the text will remain in their post, unless written-over or deleted. This creates inconsistencies with formatting, and ultimately can create inconsistencies with the topic information across the category. Additionally, in some cases, a forum may find value in having hard requirements for some information to be present in the post, and furthermore, for information to be staged/presented within the topic rigidly. I’ve always felt that a topic creation form would solve these problems, but I understand that is either not doable, or there is not enough demand.

Regarding what populates in the topic editor, as a function of category selection, could this be solved by giving the forum owner the option of making the topic editing area state some copy (i.e., You must select a category first, before posting your topic), then depending on the category selected the template copy is populated (yes, I know, without a form option, unfortunately)?


I feel like this has gotten off the topic of people submitting without editing and should be moved to a new #feature for further improvements.