Is anyone else using tags on a Discourse forum in a big way?

I love tags and was over the moon when they were being incorporated into the stock Discourse.

We use them quite heavily at the moment and I want to start a new forum which is going to rely on them even more. However a number of recent issues with tags has got me a little worried and I was hoping to get the thoughts of others using tags in a significant manner - how are you getting on?

  • What have you liked or disliked about tags on a Discourse forum?
  • Are there any features you wish tags on Discourse had?
  • Any other words of advice or wisdom when using them?

This doesn’t answer your questions directly but have a look at They use a massive number of tags to manage their online courses (:exploding_head:) but it seems to be working quite well at a glance.

Are there any specific issues or pain points that we can fix here? I can see that a few items you requested in '17 on It's Time We Talked About Tags are now supported. For example, we now have coloured / icon tags through the Tag icons component :dizzy:


Ah that’s great! Do you know if it is possible to use custom images instead of FA icons? That would be awesome :smiley:

It would be fantastic if we could have this from my original suggestions as well:

  • Ability to add info per tag, such as a short description and a link (this would show on mouse over, as well as on the tag view page)

It would make a huge difference imo.

There are currently two (Sam’s looking into the first one):

Nice site! I’ve actually been experimenting with a similar colour scheme as we often get requests for a dark mode. Looks like their tags are working fine - hopefully we can get ours sorted soon :smiley:

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Does anyone know if this is on the cards at all? It really would be awesome having it - not just for tags (so info on the tag’s page) but for the additional information it could provide in posts.

We often come across posts which mention (or sometimes have links to) things that we also have tags for - and I believe if tags also include info (short description and a link) I am sure far more people would include them in posts (far easier than finding the web page then copying and pasting a link). This would in turn help provide valuable information to readers of the post.

For example here on Discouse one of the most popular tags is #gdpr (82 topics) but many people won’t know what it is. By having this extra info available right there is highly convenient for the user, they could even click on the external link for extra info. It would also be useful for other popular tags her like #docker, #onebox, #akismet, #ember, etc.

I’d really love to see this and I think it would be highly valuable to Discourse - if I knew Ember I would offer to submit a PR :innocent: (the Rails side is easy enough - it’s just a few extra fields).

I would go with something like the following fields:


To count clicks as well as I think people love seeing that. Included topic_id in case there is an important Topic about that tag too, as there often is.

(Is it worth moving this post to a separate Topic?)


We are continually refining the tag system, at the moment @neil is working on refactors and adding tag synonym support.

I can see us eventually getting to “short description”, maybe even an optional “tag description” topic like categories have.

I don’t want to rush anything here, @codinghorror can decide when we eventually slot this but I do not think it will happen this release.


Thanks Sam, it’s great to hear you think it will get added at some point :smiley:

I’d be happy with just a short description for now (so long as we could add links into it and users could click on them directly from the post view) if that would make things easier for you/@neil - it could also help see how useful/used it is before dedicating more time to it (though I personally think it will be very welcomed by Discourse admins).

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We’re going to need a way to create and list synonyms, so I expect to be improving the UI for managing tags and seeing more info about them. The modal for changing the name of a tag is probably not going to be good enough. So I’ll keep your ideas in mind while building it.


Thanks Neil - can’t wait to see the next update to the tags system :smiley:


I’m just starting a community that will use categories for private groups in a private instance of Discourse to see if tags can work for three groups of users without using sub-categories:

  1. local groups (like franchisees)

  2. national office (like franchisers)

  3. consumers of the service

That is the order of implementation. Rather than being driven centrally, this is starting from one of the local groups. If it works for them then the national office can check it out at the point where other groups are invited to join.

I’m motivated to make it work, spurred on by the imminent improvements in tags The problem will be that there won’t be any obvious structure because sub-categories will not be visible. Other communities I’ve setup have used categories for the private groups and sub-categories to provide an obvious structure.


12 posts were split to a new topic: Could categories and tags be the same thing?

Eep. That would be spectacular.

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I thought this would be an issue for our community as we moved to Discourse from SMF [with many sub-categories]. I added the tags to each sub category description and it hasn’t proved burdensome after all.

I mentioned it yesterday in another thread we were in together, but for other onlookers, I then have mandatory tag groups assigned to each category.


Remember that, in my example, the only reason I am using categories is to give each group a private area.

What you have done is very different than what I am talking about. I’ll show you the difference.

Your structure is currently:

  • Category Art
    • Subcategory Completed Projects
      • Tag 1 Painting

I’m talking about having no visible structure for the content so your site would then have:

  • Tag group Art
    • Tag 1 Painting
  • Tag group Project Status
    • Tag 2 Completed

That is a very different proposition when there is no visible sign of structure.