Impose order on Settings categories

Could we have the settings categories listed in alphabetical order?

Please? For the love of little green apples?

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That might be reasonable, but did you know that when you search settings it searches the setting name, description, and value? So I pretty much never, ever use those tabs unless the thing I searched for was in several of them, and then it shows only the ones that match.

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Is that because search is so effective, or because you can’t find what you want in the tabs? :chicken: :egg:

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Whenever I’m helping new admins learn how to run their communities the existing order has proven incredibly helpful. Everything a new site needs is usually in the top five or six setting categories. There may be some merit in a checkbox to re-order the settings on-demand, but due to translations the revised order will become inconsistent and prove trickier when talking people through making changes to their site.

At least for me the search is highly effective. The only time I come unstuck is when I can’t recall the precise setting name.


@Stephen in the Data Explorer, the nine most important tables are pulled to the top of the list and shown in order of importance. The rest are alphabetical. That crossed my mind when I was writing the OP, but I didn’t want to over-complicate things. And yes, I see the value.

And at the same time… I would like to be able to browse to get a coherent understanding of what’s available. Search is highly effective for you… perhaps because you know Discourse well enough to be in the position of “helping new admins learn how to run their communities”? And, I’m guessing, you’ve been around long enough to see the unordered list grow from a few items to the couple dozen categories it has today.

Anyway, I find the settings page nearly unusable, and I don’t know what’s there well enough to know what I can search for.

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Have you ever considered creating your own navigation for frequent admin tasks?

A topic with bookmarks direct to the settings you find yourself changing with any regularity is pretty effective. I’ve done that for new admins before and it definitely seems to help.

Indeed, I’m rolling up on eight years now working with Discourse in a multitude of settings. It’s why I’ve developed an appreciation for the current structure. Even additions such as the wizard only get people so far, particularly when they aren’t necessarily prepared to answer all of those questions during initial setup.

I’m not sure where this assumption is coming from, would it not be fairer to say that your own admin tasks don’t align with the current ordering?

During first setup we’re definitely more concerned with the settings which relate to branding, login, and discourse basics. As time progresses user settings and those which relate to groups, posting, and email become of greater importance. I may never need to touch settings relating to Trust Levels, Security and Oneboxing.

But you (usually) don’t have to remember it exactly because it searches the description too, so it usually Just Works.

But even then, what I’d do is search for something as a place to start and then you might wade through all the stuff in a tab. But there are now hundreds of settings, so browsing them is really hard.

I found the search incredibly useful from the start (once I learned that it existed). But there were many fewer settings then!

I agree with the notion that the settings page is unusable to click around in. OTOH, I think that it’s mostly true that if you don’t know what problem you need to solve by changing a setting then you might rather not know about it. Don’t go looking for trouble.

“Hmm. I can change the username length! How long should I let usernames be?” is not helpful, but “I have a bunch of people whining that they can’t have their username because XX chars is too short. Maybe I can change it.”

FWIW I like the ‘important bits at the top’ approach over alphbetising - though I do think the settings pages as a whole could be much less labyrinthian. As yet I haven’t come up with a magic suggestion of how to accomplish that, but I’m still mulling it over. :slight_smile:

(Working with Discourse admin settings approx. 14 months :slight_smile:)