Maybe just remove the "Community" header in the sidebar? (A plea!)

I think “Shortcuts” is the closest alternative that would make sense, unless we start splitting things off into new sections. I agree that it works best if it’s editable as well. Maybe that’s the path we take with this… once it becomes editable we switch the default to “Shortcuts” and let people put whatever they want in there.


To all of this, I want to add: Discourse is amazing community software, and I’m happy and privileged to be part of the community around it — and the discussion community here. :slight_smile: Thanks for listening, everyone.


I think we may eventually consider other things like splitting this section up into more cohesive conceptual buckets as well (site wide stuff vs. my stuff seems potentially promising).

Adding more sections has a cost right now though.

One thing we’ve been fighting for a while without a great answer yet is how chat stuff gets buried at the bottom of the sidebar. This becomes especially apparent when you’re in full screen mode and are really “in chat” but have a tall stack of non-chat links you have to scroll past frequently to see what you care about. We tried things like a more isolated chat mode, and auto scrolling to those sections of the sidebar, but neither felt like the right answer (at least for now).

There’s a lot of territory still for us to explore here together. We may even circle back to ideas we’ve tried before when the time seems right.

I am looking forward to the section being customizable because I’m hopeful it’ll help us learn more quickly what is working well for people when they have more room to experiment independently.

We will continue experimenting too and sharing what we learn!


This is definitely a whole `nuther topic, but… yeah, that seems like a natural consequence of having two primary modes of interaction in one interface. When you have something clearly primary and an adjunct mode, like a typical forum + direct messages, it’s fine because the second can be kind of out of the way. But with two that could either be The Main Attraction for a site, it’s hard because they naturally fight. Maybe better to clearly switch the whole site between forum mode and chat mode interfaces.


Discourse team, any more consideration on this? As the new menu has become the default, I’m noticing the terminology becoming entrenched.

This is harm that could have been avoided. :frowning:


The summary is: The original poster does not like using the word “Community” as a catch-all label for the top-level menu in Discourse. They feel it degrades the meaning of the word and is conceptually wrong. They propose alternate labels like “Shortcuts”, “Menu”, “Other”, or removing the header altogether. They argue that “Community” does not accurately describe the varied items in that menu section. Responders agree and suggest making that section editable so communities can choose their own label

I am not sure AI fully captured it… but I think this has evolved from :

  • Choose a different word


  • Remove header
  • No collapse
  • Add a big full width button in sidebar for “new topic”

We ran this by @awesomerobot and @mcwumbly and simply do not have consensus that we want to make this change, we like consistency and this is calling for inconsistency. In the mean time you are allowed to edit this:

Perhaps a middle ground here is:

  1. Allow section title to be blank (when blank it just does not render title.

  1. Fix magic new-topic so it no longer navigates away and works more consistently:

:arrow_double_up: already “kind of” works, make it fully work. (stop navigating away, handle conflicts more cleanly)

With these 2 in place at least you would be able to achieve your desire without forcing a brand new default on everyone …


Well, that was my original suggestion but I had given up on that.

I am able to change things on my own site, but seeing it everywhere, including here, continues to really trouble me. “Community” is not a disposable word for “things we don’t know how to categorize”.

As for consistency, I’m tempted to appeal to Ralph Waldo Emerson, but, perhaps more constructively — I do not think that the current situation is consistent at all.

This hard-to-name group is hard to name because it is not like the others. Treating it in the same way gives the appearance of consistency while actually being inconsistent.

That’s the reason for my original suggestion: I think it’s strictly better from a conceptual perspective. And it happens to neatly solve the naming problem.

There is much internal discussion about this, I hear you Matt but reaching consensus on what to do here is not easy.

We will chase this up over the next week or so. There are also a lot of consistency questions that make changes here more complicated.

  • You add a “new topic” button - why no “new DM” or “new PM” buttons as well?
  • Position of these things and prominence
  • Lack of collapse
  • Community topics, community review, community admin, community users, community badges… only real odd person out is “My Drafts” to be honest.

To me the really confusing wording is ‘open draft’. My reaction to it is always “But I don’t have a draft in progress!” (Draft implies something I started writing but didn’t finish.)

Followup: Well, apparently I DID have a draft in progress, but nothing in it.

However, on this forum there is some cognitive dissonance between the Community category and the community label on the left-hand sidebar.


i just renamed the community section on my site and i’m happy with it. had not a single complaint about it from any of my users. a few didn’t like the whole sidebar thing when i first switched the navigation menu from hamburger drop down, but that didn’t last long once i showed them out how to customize their own setup and added some global links they like.


What did you change it to, Lilly?


the name of my forum (which is more or less the name of my forum community) :slight_smile:

i recognize that this sort of naming approach may not work for others.

but i am still contemplating hiding the more section and adding those links in the section above it.


A post was split to a new topic: Make logo a link to main website homepage

A post was merged into an existing topic: Make logo a link to main website homepage

FWIW, i also made a Navigation Menu Modifier theme component that has a lot of further customizations for the sidebar mode that i use on my site, and that address a number of sidebar mod requests i’ve seen on Meta.


i’ve actually decided to hide that section (community) from anon users on my site, then added the about link to the global custom section. i felt that anon users don’t need to see a lot of that stuff like birthdays, etc.

I’ve been in online communities where celebrating birthdays is a big deal, automating it doesn’t really seem to do that. And if a community grows beyond some size, birthdays become too commonplace to be worth celebrating. I’m on one site where the daily birthday list can have dozens of names on it, I never look at it, I don’t know if others do, but I suspect not.

With anonymous guests, I’m not sure if having things that increase the sense of ‘community’ tend to lead the anonymous readers into joining the site. (If there’s a fee involved, that complicates matters.)

On my food site, we tend to talk about what we’re cooking and baking on a daily basis. That’s a holdover from the site that most of us came from that was discontinued by its sponsor, King Arthur Flour. I don’t know the reasons why they dropped support for their forums, maybe they thought all that chatting about what we’re cooking and baking wasn’t helping sales. But I can say that I used to order products from King Arthur’s catalog several times a year, since they dropped their forums in 2016 I’ve probably ordered from them maybe three times.


I like what you’ve done in this topic, @mattdm . Congrats :clap:

After reading the whole topic, this would be the potential suggestions which came to my mind:
There could be 2 higher ranking clickable titles for (1) the “public” section and (2) the “private” section. Both of these would have a “create” button, which could stay always apparent (or not). It could remain a + sign or be more prominent, like a “create” or “new” button.

The “personal chat” collapsible section could get a hiding pencil button like “categories” and “tags”, which would direct to the homepage of chat. Then this section works the same way as the categories and tags ones. It makes sense to me: You have the people you chat regularly with, the button lets you edit that list, and 1 additional click for a new chat is available from there.

The “New”, “unread” and “sent” links appearing in the sidebar when you click “inbox” aren’t really necessary and could be discarded (or not). If it feels bizarre to only have the “Message” clickable title and directly the collapsible “personal chat” section under it, a permanent “Sent” could be put there. This would be the equivalent of the “My posts” in the public section. A “More” could also be added, if there is some use for it.

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I just did the same, having just switched from legacy mode to sidebar. I changed “Community” to “Forum”.

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