Large number of forums / categories / groups?

I’ve seen this asked a few times over the years here, but haven’t been able to find a follow up. The use case I’m investigating is having a large number of areas that represent a school, which house discussions for each school. There is no requirement to restrict access permission to these areas, other than perhaps an option to “join”. Also having sub-categories within each of these areas would be required.

I’ve noted that a large number of categories / sub-categories in discourse is not recommended, while a large number of groups might be an option? Although it seems groups would need to be linked to categories anyway?

Running multisite instances seems like overkill given the overall traffic would not exceed a “normal sized forum”. In fact I suspect a large number of these “areas” might never see any traffic ever, yet they need to exist so they can be found if required.

Just adding - would using a tagging solution something like state.suburb.type be possible with 10,000+ pre-defined tags? At least this way content could be filtered / aggregated by schools, we just need a way to automate the tagging process when messages are created.

Hey Chris – good to hear from you.

You are correct in assuming that groups isn’t the right approach here. Groups don’t segregate content as such – they drive permissions but still need to be attached to a category.

A large number of sub/categories is fine (performance-wise) until you get to the thousands, but from a psychological/UX perspective it’s not great to have numerous options – people just don’t know where to go… paradox of choice.

You can build out a rich architecture using tags and tag groups. Check out Tags: category restrictions, tag groups, relationships and It’s Time We Talked About Tags

Will the discussions within each school be similar? i.e. will every school talk about teachers, uniforms and sports (for e.g.) or will they all talk about different things?


Hey… thanks for the reply and advice, will check out those links. Yes, the structure of each school will be the same, although I’d assume some schools might want to setup their own boards.


No worries. If you’re still on the fence after reading up on tags, let us know.


Not sure I understand @HAWK? We have groups that are not attached to a category

Fully agree with this. I have found that the natural tendency is to set up categories at will. My view is to keep them to an absolute minimum and then use tags to “guide” the user

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For sure, but they don’t control any content gating in that case.