Organizing Categories (overview needed)

Forgive the newbie question, but I’m stuck.

I’d like to learn how to delete and reorganize categories.

Delete: Because I want new users to have a quick top-level overview of what the categories are, and things like “lounge” don’t fit the model we’re creating. It seems as though there are some categories that are hard to delete, and I’m looking in vain for a button to override those and just identify the pre-installed categories and wipe them out.

Reorganize: I hit “Fixed Category Positions” but I’m confused as to how to drag the categories into the order I want users to seem them when they visit the home page.

Thanks for your help.


Out of the box we automatically order the categories for you based on activity. Many simply leave it that way, some like more control.

To gain control and reorder categories you must first enable the site setting fixed category positions (if checking that you may also want to check fixed category positions on create


Once that is enabled you can use the reorder categories tool to reorder them:

Regarding deletions, to delete a category, “edit” the category.

If you have no topics left your categories you will see a delete button.

If any are left a reason why you can not delete it will be dispayed: Can't delete this category because it has 4 topics. Oldest topic is Project collaboration.

I know, it is a bit rough, but hopefully this is a rather rare set of activities you will undertake.

Thanks heaps for books, podcasts and teachings, loved your rogue chocolate recommendation!


Thanks Jeff. And co.

Really appreciate the swift responses, and enjoying digging around here.


Jeff & Sam and others, would love your help in thinking through a taxonomy question:

My project has 50 assignments, and thousands of people doing each assignment.

The plan originally was that there would be 50 topics. At the end of each assignment, point people to the topic, where they can comment on the work of others and have their own work commented upon.

I think I dreamed this up when I imagined a classic threaded UI, so at a glance people could see that someone’s assignment hadn’t gotten any feedback.

But as I play with what we’re building, it doesn’t seem to play that way.

So, the question is: What’s the atomic unit of this install? Does each PERSON have a topic, and then post all of their work there, thus people-centric?

Or is it more of an activity-based phenomenon, where it all goes into a big stack and the topic isn’t nearly as important as the activity?

Or, am I missing an elegant way to:
a. alert an appropriate subset of folks to come look at something
b. make it apparent when someone is being ignored
c. make it easy to see what people have said about your work?

Forgive me if I’ve mis-categorized this note. The irony is not lost on me.




I think a nice way of organising this would be:

  • Each project has a category
  • Each assignment has a unique tag
  • All users in course should be set to “watch first post” on the “project” categories by default. (or full watch depending on noise you want to introduce)
  • Each user has a unique topic per project per assignment

I feel that if you mix everything in a big mish-mash of a topic it will be very hard to keep track of feedback.

With topic-per-user-per-assignment you will be able to quickly find all topics with 0 replies (using search)

Using tags you can quickly filter down the list to topics in the same assignment as your current one.

The downside of this system is that if people are not going to collaborate it can look kind of strange, imagine 1000 topics with 0 replies. But as long as people are interacting it will work great.


thanks Sam. We’re going to model this tomorrow. I’m in awe of your rapid and generous feedback, sir.


Consider using categories or subcategories for assignments

  • if your assignments need to be completed or displayed “in order”

  • you want to award badges for completing any assignments.


Thanks @sam! This is really helpful.

If we only have one assignment per project, is it still useful to use tags?

category: Project 1 — Name of Project
tag: project-1

We’re weighing the benefits that tagging might provide vs. the user adoption required to make sure students tag their topics appropriately.

If it is only one assignment per project I don’t think tags are needed.

Keep in mind, Discourse will function great with 300-800 categories total, if you bump the number up to 5000 categories all sorts of stuff will be slow. We use categories as “security entities” and ship them all down to the client on initial page load.

I recommended tags to help keep your category count down, but if it is not something you need, no reason to worry about adding it.

Thank you, sir. I think we’ll be well below the 800 category threshold.

We’re also thinking that one “All Projects” category with a sub-category* for each unique project makes sense, so that at the very top level it’s easier to see the other non-project categories.

Does this seem sensible to you?

.* thanks @scombs for that suggestion

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Yes, this all looks fine to me!