New category and tag notification UI?

Continuing the discussion from Sidebar category configuration – just follow watching/tracking instead of having separate config?:

This is great. I’d love to be part of that exploration. I’ve put a lot of work into how we’re using categories and tags on the Fedora sites. I’ve tried to make both tag groups and categories functionally meaningful. As we[1] get to merging the two (end-user focused Ask Fedora and project-contributor communications Fedora Discussion), that’s about to get even more important.

Particularly, tags with our “Project Discussion” categories act like individual mailing lists — we have one for each sub-project team that wants one. (Tags are great for this because you can add multiple tags to “cross-post”, and they can span team activities in the Project Discussion category and in other categories. ^[For example, in a separate category for drafting announcements, or even one configured as a kanban using that plugin, or possibly some future ideas I have for team calendars. But, in Ask Fedora, we probably want to keep to more traditional topic-based tagging — that way, some who is an expert in the graphics cards, or cares about helping people with ARM devices, or whatever, can follow those topics. And there are totally different tags for the Social category and for Announcements.

The per-category tag group rules make this work pretty well with what we have, but I’m not sure if it’ll make any sense on the sidebar — I don’t think it would as things are now!

We’re going to have a few places where we make use of the three-level categories in the combined site — see how Common Issues - Ask Fedora works now — I want to put that under the future “Ask Fedora” category on the merged site, but keep the hierarchy with Proposed and Archived common issues as sub-sub-categories. And, I’d like to mirror our various Fedora announcement lists. (Ideally, including all of the archives!). I think that could make sense as third-level subcategories of News & Announcements - Fedora Discussion. (Or, maybe we could use tags — still thinking some things through.)

I don’t think anything we’re doing is out of bounds, but I also see that many Discourse sites use tags haphazardly if at all, and use categories as meta-topics. Categories work fine for this when there are only a handful, but if there are dozens, I’m very convinced that pivoting to tags is the best approach in Discourse.[2] So, I guess our usage is in the minority. So I’m worried that, with no bad intentions, what we are doing might go from “some work to set up, some things could be better, but pretty great overall!” to totally broken.

  1. omg finally! ↩︎

  2. Happy to talk more about that with anyone who wants to geek out on it! ↩︎

Nothing here sounds particularly crazy or concerning. Can you expand on what things you believe could break you? Tags only setups are things we always supported, as time passes our support for tags is only getting richer and richer. (for example recently added descriptions and so on)

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I think the main thing I’m worried about is: we’re not really a tag-only setup: categories are important too, and we’re using tag groups with per-category rules. This doesn’t lend itself well to a big flat alphabetical list in the sidebar.

But I think I may have put this too negatively. :slight_smile: on the one hand, there’s that worry, but the other side is that richer support and better tag UI could make things even better and easier, so I’m looking forward to it!

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More thoughts: I think of categories as contexts. My basic test for “should this be a different category?” is: would this have different access permissions[1], tag rules, or topic workflow? If not, probably not a different category.

Tags are associated with categories via tag groups — not necessarily 1:1. (However, if a tag has a different meaning in a different context, it should be a different tag.[2])

The sidebar menu, as well as existing notification configuration, shows tags separate from this context. That is potentially confusing to users.

  1. “very different set of moderators” falls under this ↩︎

  2. This runs into a problem when there are synonyms — but usually there’s a way around that. It might be nice to be able to consider tags with the same name in different groups to be actually different, possibly with tag group icons to help disambiguate… ↩︎