Ordering topics - how do the links work?

I’m trying to reduce the prominence of a particularly busy widely visible category in our /latest view, as it is turning off quite a lot of our new users who are joining the forum to primarily access a private category. I still want them to see / know about the busy category, but not be overwhelmed by the stream of topics / replies in it.

Can you suggest a smart way of doing this? I know that I can do the following, but none quite hit the spot:

  1. Remove access to that category
    • no good, I need them to get some exposure to it, especially if @mentioned
  2. Mute the busy category for all of these users
    • drastic as the category now vanishes completely. But could work if I make a route back to it
    • can’t do it for just one group in the UI, challenge to manage with new joiners+++
  3. Turn down the search priority of that category
  4. Make a clever implementation of this Theme component:

However, I can’t quite work out which Topic List Sort order to use. If I use /latest?order=category, it puts the categories in reverse alphabetic order, which is weird. Can they be reversed?

Any other suggestions?

1 Like

Difficult to consult without context. I have suggestions ranging from “don’t worry about it” to “mute that and explain it as…”.

I start from the point of view that /latest has a literal value, and maybe you ought to not point new folks there, until they’ve learned to mute categories on their own.


Yeah, that’s pretty sound advice!


Yes it is! You have done pretty well without much context; I’m certainly grappling with how much to worry about it, and how to teach them to mute things.

The context is our forum which started off as a simple COVID-19 national multidisciplinary health forum, kept private. We are attempting a transition from a busy single category discussion board to a much richer collaboration platform which also caters for a very complex array of specialist interests. It is the first online forum experience for most of the users, who are very email centric.

Indeed; I’m trying to find an alternative which will give them the specialised content that they are after, with a taster of the broader stuff.

I like everything to be muted and have folks opt-in; not proposing this, just the context. Because it is then kinda hard to find stuff, I front-load onboarding messages, and point out where things are and how to start tracking it.

/latest is just a firehose sometimes, I never make it the default view. I’d give a category listing, and then your super busy category can be fixed or will always be at the top due to updates, but it won’t be a wall of a single-category posts.

One final thought: ask everyone. Your site can’t accommodate everyone (it’s sounds very popular!), so ask everyone what their personal struggles are with the site, and try to address there. Sometimes a solve is a strategic re-wording in a help message.

And now others will advise… :slight_smile:


Thanks heaps for the tips; I’ve taken your advice and have settled on a categories view with the busy category pinned down under the ones I would like them to see first. :crossed_fingers: it works well for people.

Good suggestion; you’ve really got to go and actively seek feedback, eh?


Especially in communications platforms; otherwise the tone and policies are set by the folks with a disproportionate amount of attention on them. :weary: