Post Topic in Two Categories?

Am I correct that a topic can only be assigned to a single category? At times it could be helpful to be able to assign a single topic to multiple categories. For example in a gardening forum a discussion could be relevant to both a plant type category (eg. conifers) and a location type (coastal gardens). Ideally the discussion topic should be present and refresh in both categories.

Are there any workarounds that address this situation? I have considered tagging the topic with the ‘other’ category but this could get confusing and doesn’t provide the same search functionality (as i understand it)

Any prospects of this feature in the nearish future?

This is what tags are for. Categories are for stricter, wall-like groupings.

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yea, the problem i have is that my categories are more like a matrix than a tree. the categorisation approach requires me to select only one of the relevant dimensions to identify.

if i used tagging, in the example i gave does that mean i would create tags corresponding to each of my categories and then post topic to one category eg. conifers and tag to the other ‘dimension’ eg coastal gardens?

would somebody interested in coastal gardens need to follow both the coastal gardens category and the coastal gardens tag in order to see all relevant topics? if someone searched coastal gardens would they see all topics that are in the category and tagged to that?

There is no hierarchy in tagging, no. There is category and subcategory, so there is one level of hierarchy in categories.

@codinghorror yes, i have read the various discussions on the site about the relative merits of categories vs tagging and agree with the direction that you have been pushing. SO currently has about 1200 tags which means practically search is the only way to navigate. the discourse approach of categorisation plus tags is much more efficient. also, i agree that too many sub categories can hinder rather than aid navigation.

but my question relates to allowing a topic to not be restricted to a single category for situations where, as in the example, the topic could logically reside in more than one category. tagging is a workaround but doesn’t fully substitute as tags require search, which is what the categories help avoid (and categories are a more subtle way of presenting users with relevant topics compared to having to actively search a tag). i believe a one topic to multiple categories capability would improve the UX without compromising the logic that led you to adopt categories in the first place.

This is a completely impractical change that would cut deep into the internal structures in Discourse. The entire code base is designed around the concept that a topic has at most one category, changing this premise is very very unlikely to happen.