I’ll try one last time on the “no heading” pitch, and then call it over: I don’t think this section should be presented like the others, since it is inherently different. The others are logical sections grouping basically the same thing. This is a grab bag. So, “no heading” is conceptually best. /end-attempt
OK, this part I’ll fight harder for. Although I couched it in humor, I really, very seriously believe that labeling the hard-to-group items at the top of the menu “Community” is actively harmful.
It degrades and misuses a word has already taken a lot of abuse, but which means something important to me — something that has been a big part of (I know, dramatic, but I’m serious) my life’s work. Community means people, and not just any random selection of people, but people with a common interest. This is really, really important.
I can roll my eyes when I hear “Community” to describe groups of people that are marketing segments (if anything), and not communities at all. I can try to gently correct when people conflate the idea of community with “we’ve got a forum people can post on”. Or when someone in an open source project talks about “the community” as the userbase, we can have a good conversation about what subset of users comprise an actual community, and whether the developers (or corporate backers) are part of that community.
But this is worse than any of those — it’s using “Community” intentionally to have no meaning. “Other” or “Miscellaneous” seem worse because they’re up-front about “We don’t know what to call this”, while if you squint at “Community” you can dissolve it into somehow covering:
- All posts
- Posts I’ve made
- Groups (for access control? Defaults? Nothing at all? Depends on the site!)
- The list of all users
- Anniversaries and Birthdays
But yet somehow discussion categories, chat channels, tags aren’t included?
I think that suggestions like “Other” and “Misc” seem wrong because they’re too on the nose. It seems bad to put something called that at the top. “Community” slides by that reaction because you’re treating it like it doesn’t matter what it means at all. Please, don’t do that.
On top of that, you’ve now consumed this label so it can’t be used for anything else. There are three major cases I can an see here:
- As noted, many sites call their entire forum “Community”. I believe this is a mistake, but it’s at least understandable: the whole forum is there for the community to interact. But now, you’ve applied the label to a weird subset.
- For other sites, a different subset might actually appropriately be called Community. The case where there is a Developers and Community split, for example. (This is really common!) Or, one might want to have Community-related topics as a category. Or, one might have a forum about different local communities. And as I mentioned above, I can easily think of some ways of building a Discourse forum where Groups are communities. Or Tags! But now, again, the label is taken — at best, I’ve got confusing duplication.
- The forum might be part of something larger that is Community. That link should go “up” to whatever that is.
Sure, these sites could change the text for their own use, but 1) now they’re inconsistent with the rest of the Discourse universe, and 2) that’s really just punting the problem down to everyone else.
You’ve asked for “a clearly better alternative”. I think that’s an unfair bar. Or, rather, I think anything that isn’t actively harmful crosses it. I still really believe in the first idea, but I said I wouldn’t argue that further. So, let me offer some alternatives which I hope are constructive:
… and take the thesaurus to any on of those if you must. I think they’re all “clearly better”.
If you’re set on some header label for this design but no word seems to work, that might suggest a third possibility — there is a fundamental conceptual problem, and the design and needs a bigger re-think.
But whatever you choose: please, please, not the way it is.