How to Organize New User Content?

My community is about Reptiles. New users are always asking the same kinds of basic questions that are a turn off to some of my more senior community members. These seniors are there to participate in the higher level conversations, which are of great interest to everyone.

Right now the forum is organized into broad Reptile categories: Pythons, Boas, Lizards, Geckos, etc (there are too many reasons why I feel we had to organize this way, which I won’t go into). But within those, I am trying to win them over to the idea of Tags instead of creating the dozens of Sub/Categories they are used to. These new user questions would be appropriately be placed in any of these categories.

Options as I see them:

  1. Create New User subcategory for every category. On the one hand, these are where there posts should go (broadly speaking), but it’s horrific to create so many similar subcategories.
  2. Have new users apply a tag #beginner-question or something, which members can mute. If this could be automatically applied I think it would work, otherwise I don’t think it’s maintainable because new users are the least likely to correctly tag their topics.
  3. Single top level New User category with TL1 create and make all other categories TL2 create or higher. This is nasty because it mixes up all the different kinds of new user questions.
  4. Have users be able to mute Topics based on OP Trust Level, e.g. < TL2. This solution, which I doubt is possible, would fit the best I believe. My more experienced users would then have an easy way to filter their streams.
  5. Disallow any Create from < TL2. This is issue is so significant that I consider this an actual option, however I believe it would be missing an opportunity.

I’m on day 3 and still only private inviting, but have over 500 users and probably close to 100 topics. I’m happy with progress so far. Have been itching to use Discourse for years and am really like it. Thanks!


I think that either the zillion subcategories or tags will work, but you’ll need a Cadre of trust level 3 users who can add the tag or recategorize the posts. Since they are new users they will be likely not to understand the norms.


New users are TL0 in steady state. Discourse sites start in ‘Bootstrap’ mode and initialise every new user with TL1 but this only lasts until you get your 50th user.


Definitely move over to tags, we’re a year into discourse and had 4 million subcategories to start with, it’s very cumbersome to navigate versus the activity then specifying down.

  • Breeding
    • Snakes
    • Tag species
    • Tag “advanced subject”

If you’re starting out then setting a template for submissions under the category setting that says:

Read the FAQ here and use the search before asking simple questions, if you repeatedly ask questions that have already been answered you may be silenced or suspended.

As you’ve outlined already, getting new people to understand tagging or trust levels or this or that is impossible because they’re new, they will ignore anything you write more or less anywhere so the best place to interject with them is at the point of the offense.

The hard thing you’ve already done is having advanced level discussion on your site, people seek value and if you need to silence or suspend some people for others to get it then so be it, tell the veterans to not get mad and simply flag stuff that’s not in the right spot there’s a lot of control over what the flags can do for you automatically as well.


As I just posted in Visibility of Muted Tags, tag muting is a lot more watered down than I realized, and I don’t see how it will achieve our goals. Even category muting doesn’t remove it from Latest, and isn’t that the prescribed method of browsing?

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Maybe something broke then because that’s how it ought to work on cat and tag settings. Try doing what you did on a random user account then impersonate them, might be because you’re staff.



I stand corrected – Categories DO get excluded from Latest/New, but Tags don’t. You can see the description on mute for Tag is different, and doesn’t make that promise. But I don’t see why not, and without it seems pretty weak.

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I’m not sure what the semantic difference between “not be” and “never be” is when applied, I’d have thought they should function the same personally. I think that’s a bug tbh. I know we have a few members who have set tag “Gambling” to muted/ignore and if topics about introductory offers at ladbrookes are popping up for them that’s less than ideal.

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I don’t think it’s a bug because it does what it says on the tin, but I don’t like the recipe. Here’s what Mute Tag says, cf what’s in Mute Cat above:

Nothing about Latest mentioned.

I would love to hear in this topic or the other one what the rationale behind this is and if it could get changed.


What would be the level of effort to implement one of these two solutions from the OP?

(2) A tag could automatically be appended for topics created by certain trust levels. For example, a topic from a TL2 user would get the #tl1 tag. (To keep things simple, there would be nothing special about the tag, and the user could remove it if they wanted)

(4) The ability to mute Topics based on OP Trust Level, e.g. < TL2

The latter sounds cleaner from an UX perspective but like more work.

The former sounds like it might be really simple based on something like this snippet and introduce less complexity to the platform. Would this be pretty easy to do?

One of these, combined with giving tags full mutability would be a good solution to managing these posts from new users.

This is easy to do in a plugin. I don’t think this should be a core feature. The snippet you linked to is a good example of how to do it.

DiscourseEvent.on(:topic_created) do |topic|
  guardian =
  DiscourseTagging.tag_topic_by_names(topic, guardian, ["tl0"], append: true) if topic.user.trust_level == 0

Using tags is the best option because each user can easily unmute those topics again later by unmuting the tag. Having to unmute each topic individually would not be fun.


@neil I was really excited about this, but this morning I’ve come to learn that because I’m using discourse hosting and not self-hosting, I cannot install even a trivial plugin like this unless I’m on the Enterprise plan. But thanks anyway.