Each of those categories is slightly different. You can definitely delete the Lounge category by deleting the posts within it but you can’t delete the Staff category because it contains posts which are important, like your TOS.
It might make sense to back up and tell us why you want to delete the categories and what you’re trying to achieve.
By the way, the same goes for badges (and probably a bunch of other things I haven’t run into yet). There’s no way to disable all built-in badges or delete them (I searched for this as well), so again “sensible defaults” which make sense for a public form don’t work.
So is there a “beginner’s guide” to configuring Discourse? I suppose there is not, or I would have come across it by now.
No, there’s not as such but TBH it shouldn’t be required – the setup wizard takes you through all the impt steps. Your use case is very edge, as you’ve discovered. Feel free to ask your questions here and we’ll answer them.
I want to not use the built-in badges, not disable the badge system entirely. I have “disabled” them all, but now I have a long long list of disabled badges, with my custom badges beneath. It makes for a very inconvenient UX: scrolling all the way to the bottom, clicking on a badge, then scrolling all the way back up to see what it does.
Maybe an improvement suggestion: disabled badges show below enabled ones?
Can you provide recommendation for how to deal with “trust level” for a private org? We have our own permission system (department, job title, etc) - should I just set every member to TL_(?) and then ignore it? Are there a bunch of related settings I should disable?