Is it possible to change the order of topics?

I’d like to change the order in which topics are presented on the screen. Is that possible?


Topics rearrange themselves according to their activity etc. an inactive topic will fall to the bottom and active topics will surface and stay afloat if you get my drift :wink:

Although I will add that by enabling the fixed category positions site setting as an admin will allow you to change the order of categories in the /categories page.

Thanks! I fixed the category positions. That doesn’t allow me to order the topics, though. Is that just something that can’t be done?

Unfortunately you cannot re order categories as far as I am aware. Sorry.

Correct. If you want a topic to float to the top it needs a response. Topics are ordered by the latest response.


What order would you like? What problem are you trying to solve?

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I’d like to use the discussion board for a focus group. I’d like to guide focus group participants through a few topics first, so they have all the information they need to respond to other topics. I can achieve this by calling a topic “read this first” and telling people where to go next, but it would be nice if it was a bit more intuitive and they could just start with the first topic, then the second, etc.

In a category it’s possible to order the topics (category > Settings)

In your case, order by Created > Ascending should be the way to go


But in the homepage, I don’t see any option other than pin topic globally or make a banner topic with the order of topics to read


I’m having trouble finding where you get to
category > Settings
order by Created > Ascending

When you enter a category, you can access the category settings in the tool button

You will have something like this :

And you’ll see a Appearance section


And you need to edit the third one


You can pin those topics so that they stay at the top.

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I’ve created a new category for two topics, and tried making the first topic the banner and pinning the second topic to the top. But for some reason the second topic isn’t appearing at the top. I also had to chose a time frame for pinning it to the top (e.g., “later today”, “tomorrow”). I’d like to just pin it instantaneously and forever. Any idea why it doesn’t appear pinned? I did it yesterday using the “later today” option, and figured by today it should be pinned.


I think maybe you read it backward and it was pinned yesterday and now it’s not?

There is also some intricacy about which of the pinned topics shows up first. I think that has to do with the order that you pin them. I’ve told you more than I know about this issue, so hopefully someone with more experience here can chime ine.

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You could create a Versatile Banner with the ‘Read me first’ intro and links in? You can then have ‘part 2/3/4’ etc linked in a series at the bottom of each subsequent topic?

That can then be collapsed/dismissed once someone has read it.

Where can I create a Versatile Banner?
Right now I don’t know if the Banner is the best solution. I’m afraid people are going to overlook it because it doesn’t appear with the other topics, or people might accidentally dismiss or collapse it (or even intentionally dismiss it) and later need it again and not know where to find it.
I also don’t quite understand what the fixed category order does, because the topics still show up in the same order on the page, with or without fixed category order. Topics that belong to one category don’t show up grouped, either. It’s not clear what problem the categories or category order solve.

Pinned topics is definitely the way to go here.

You can either pin globally (everywhere) or in a particular category.

As @pfaffman points out, you want to select the “forever” option here.

Prefix text topic titles with “Read First:”

Once a pinned topic has been read it will become unpinned for that user. You can change that by searching for automatically unpin topics in your settings


Are these first few topics like guide/how-to style information? If so, you can nestle these in a separate ‘how-to’ category, and close each one if they don’t require responses. As these are closed (and no one can reply) they should stay in the static order in which you created them.

You can then pin (globally) a ‘Welcome Topic’ to the top of your board, or add a regular banner (or a Versatile Banner) to draw attention to/explain the #how-to category.

Does that sound useful, or have I misunderstood? (it happens a lot :slightly_smiling_face:)

I understand the desire to control the display of topics, but this works against the principles of the design of the platform as a community tool- it is meant to be the result of actions that take place by your community.

In using Discourse now twice to run an online conference, I have to keep reminding myself and colleagues that it’s not as controlled as a web site. I have found it best to loosen as much as possible the idea of “controlling” the display beyond making categories.

So in our conference category, I have several sub categories to organize individual sessions by modality (keynotes, posters, live webinars) - here is our recent conference, where the blue boxes are conference information subcategories and red boxes are session subcategories

but have to remind people that it’s not the viable way to browse for sessions

For pur events, this organizing of topics to make more browseable friendly is in creating a seperate post/Published Page (see below) as a schedule, or an ordered list of the topics in a meaningful way. For our conference, I built a series of topics in a schedule subcategory (where replies and topic creation are closed), where each day has its own topic and links to the others within.

The “solution” is maybe to as suggested, use a pinned topic, but rather than trying to pin all the ones you want to order, that you pin a post like “New Users Start Here” or “Getting Started Guide”, and within that, create in the post a welcome message and the topics linked in the order you want to proceed. That way you just have one pinned thing. At the end of each one, you can even add a link, button to take them to the next or previous.

To make it cleaner, you can also use the option under primary topic (three dot menu, then wrench, then select Page Publishing from the menu)-

this converts the topic as a stand alone page (like the difference between WordPress posts and Pages?) that does not include the topic interface. This exists at a more or less fixed address you can share as a link for new users.

I use this on our space to provide a getting started guide

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