Formatting drop down menu for categories in topic creator - setting what is seen and the order

The categories and subcategories for the drop-down menu for the category selector in the topic creator are not in logical order (for a member naive to the forum set up) and are cumbersome to search through. You can search of course, but if you aren’t familiar with the options that isn’t very useful. But that isn’t the major concern for our set up. The goal is to pick a subcategory, not category, to assign the topic to. Members are likely to pick the category to post in, which is problematic. We just had that scenario occur.

Is there any way to control what options come up in the category selector (drop-down menu) in the topic creator? Ideally, we’d want to control what options are permitted and (in the dream scenario) the order they appear in.

Here is a video of clicking on the drop-down menu and it ends with the categories and subcategories on the forum home page.

I found this setting and am going to play with the fixed order of appearance of categories and subcategories so at least the order of appearance of categories and subcategories makes more sense. Would still like to exclude categories from the drop-down menu when subcategories are to be selected instead of the categories they belong to:

Here is what I am reordering:

It would be nice to have an option for which categories will appear in the drop-down menu for topic creation. Is this going to take customized code? I think what I am looking for is to exclude categories and only include subcategories in the drop-down menu.

Or . . . is there some other way to go about this that someone else has already figured out? :crossed_fingers:

I did not follow you completely … in practice you do not want your users to select category 1 but they can only choose sub-categories 1A, 1B, 1C etc.

If your users do not have permission to create a topic in a category they will not even be able to choose from the dropdown menu because they will not see it. Instead they will be able to see and select sub-category 1A if they have permission to create topics.
So use the category security setting to choose on what categories your users can create topic (which is different from reply )

The order in which they appear is chosen by exactly changing the settings as you are already doing



Brilliant! This might be the solution I am looking for. Course, I’ll still have to train up admin on category selection (the person who mis-categorized was my fellow moderator) which is no biggy.

Yes. I’ll leave this topic up as is at admin’s discretion in case others come along with the same question. I added this to the end of the topic title: “setting what is seen and the order”

Thanks so much!

@dax is this how I should set up security for a category where I don’t want topics assigned to it because there are subcategories that the topic would be filed under? I am precluding admin aswell from creating assuming “creating” means creating topics for the category itself and not its subcategories.

You can also choose not to give any permission to “everyone” (even to see), just delete the entry “everyone”.

Administrators can always see/reply/create regardless of the settings. This prevents administrators from automatically exclude themselves by mistake.
If users can not “see” there are no problems even if the admin had to write on category 1 instead of 1A


I am curious. :thinking: What does “seeing” mean, exactly? I removed all security permissions and the category is still displayed on the forum home page. This is actually what I want – for the category to be seen on the home page but not to be an option to select in the topic creator as the designated category.

That your users can see and read topics in category 1 (and also Like, share, bookmark a post) but can not reply to the topic created or create new ones

Because there is a specific site setting for that, here we are talking about security permission instead.


Does the security setting for the category apply to its subcategories? Me thinks no. My experimenting with settings appears to show that you have to set the master category security to “everyone can see” so that the master categories appear on the front page. But only being able to “see” the master category doesn’t apply to the subcategories. The subcategories own settings take precedence. Making the master category only be “seen” be everyone also removes it from the category drop-down menu as an option to select when generating a topic. [Just like you said, Dax. Just trying to wrap my head around this.]

This so cool, btw.

No, subcategories do not inherit permissions from their parent category


Discourse is really an amazing, well thought out forum software. I set up different dummy accounts and they only get in their category drop down menu for topic creation what they have permissions for. Very nice. I also just set up tags with icons for topics and it’s sweet how you can click on a topic tag and all the related topics come up. I am looking into the color coding to differentiate the subcategories in the drop-down menu but am on the fence about that is I like the uniform grey color scheme on the forum home page.

Thanks again for your help. :pray: