Private tags incorrectly shown in tags drop-down


(Tobias Eigen) #1

I was pleased to come across the “show filter by tag” admin setting today and tried it out.

Unfortunately it displays private tags, or tags that are only being used for private categories whether or not the user has access to the private categories. This is only going to sadden and frustrate users who might click on them and find no topics.

It also (counter-intuitively, I think) doesn’t filter the tags available by the category you are in. This is related to an older discussion from Filter topic with specific tag inside single category.

(Stephen) #2

What would happen when a user without access to those private areas tries to use a private tag though? Surely acknowledging that it exists is better than denying it?

(Tobias Eigen) #3

Not sure why that would be. at least on my discourse, the discussions in the private categories are internal and should be completely private. This includes the tags we use, which are actually only relevant for those categories!

If you go to the /tags page now it excludes the tags you don’t have access to. The “show filter by tag” feature should exclude them too.

(Stephen) #4

Sure, but consider a more general-use site. Maybe one discussing products that are commonly available.

If a tag originates from a staff discussion area, and is first used there, how should it behave when users tag posts in public areas? Should it pretend it doesn’t exist? Or even worse, block use?

The first case would run the risk of messy duplicates, the second would actively undermine the value of tagging for the majority of users on the install. There’s no way of knowing what tag uses will create, but with groups overlapping and no per-group tagging taxonomies, the only logical presentation is to make tags accessible to everyone?

How else could it be implemented?

(Tobias Eigen) #5

The way tags works in discourse is great already - if a tag is used for a topic (or topics) in a category you have access to, you can see the tag on the /tags list and of course in the topic(s). If you have access to private categories where the tag is used, you see the private topics with that tag from those private categories.

I’m super happy with how tags works in discourse. It’s just the presentation of tags on the “show filter by tag” pulldown that seems like a bug to me. I can’t use it because it lets people filter by tags where they won’t find any content.

(Stephen) #6

So if I’m trying to find out if a tag already exists, and it’s currently only in use in a private area, I shouldn’t see it and should just guess?

(Tobias Eigen) #7

that’s how it works now, yes.

An example. Birthdays are big in our organization. We use “birthday” in our internal categories to tag birthday greetings.

Here’s what it looks like when I tag a post “birthday” as a user with access to the internal categories where the “birthday” tag has already been used:

Here’s what it looks like as a regular member who doesn’t have access to the intenral categories:

This is perfectly normal and quite awesome to how tags function.

So I’m not really sure why we’re even talking about this - all I want to point out is that I can’t use the “show filter by tag” feature because internal tags like birthday show up on the pulldown list for regular members which doesn’t make sense because they don’t have access to the internal categories.

(Stephen) #8

That sounds more like your use case for tags, and the assumption that tags which originate from private areas will never be used in public areas. I don’t think this will be true for the majority of cases.

The behavior of /tags and the tags filter are quite different, but I still don’t see why it’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s arguably useful to see these tags represented on /tags too, even if it has a x0 count.

(Lisa Wess) #9

I think I had the same complaint…

at least if I am reading correctly. :slight_smile:

(Tobias Eigen) #10

Thanks Lisa for jumping in here. I do think this is a bug and not a feature request, so am not sure why @codinghorror has recategorized it.

You are talking about muting and the /tags page, right? I’m not so concerned about that actually and I think that is all working fine and as advertised. Or at least I haven’t noticed any problems with it. :slight_smile:

What this topic is about is the newish (or newly discovered by me) “show filter by tag” admin setting which turns on a lovely pulldown list of tags on e.g. the latest page. This is hugely powerful and really makes the tags massively useful as a tool for organizing topics across our forum. With tags accessed from here, we can dispense with alot of sub-categories.

I’ve left this on for a bit on my site, because it seems to be so wonderfully useful. But check out these screenshots which illustrate the problem.

First, looking at latest logged in as me, with access to private categories - note the tags pulldown which is awesome in this view.

Now look at the same view in incognito mode - it’s at so you can see for yourself. Anonymous users should not be seeing tags like achievements, birthday, or discourse which are only used in the private categories.

Meanwhile, here’s what happens when, in incognito mode, someone clicks on the discourse tag in the pulldown menu. We only use this tag in private categories.

It’s also what happens when, logged in as someone with access to the private category with topics tagged birthday but when browsing another category:

Without proper filtering, this is just going to cause alot of frustration as users click and don’t find what they are looking for and then have to keep trying.

(Lisa Wess) #11

I got you and we will run into this in the near future as well - so yes, please please have a look at this. :slight_smile:

(Stephen) #12

You still haven’t answered my question though.

If this behavior is incorrect, what should the correct behavior be?

Assume for a moment that some tags created in a ‘private’ forum merely originated there and aren’t intended for exclusive use in that section. If they’re hidden because they’re not visible in any pages accessible to normal users, then there’s a fairly good chance that similar duplicate tags will be created.

You’re complaining that ‘birthday’ appears in your list because of your implementation of a birthday tag on a particular install, but is it going to be true of all tags on all installs? With many Discourse installs in their early days, it’s entirely conceivable that tags will originate in staff regions. Is it somehow more useful for those staff that tag to be duplicated in error?

(Tobias Eigen) #13

Sounds like what you want is an admin setting to display all tags to all users. Not disagreeing with you that it might be useful on some sites. Maybe you should start a new topic about that.

This topic is just about the “show filter by tag” pulldown which is the only place I’m aware of that reveals tags for topics that the currently logged in user does not have access to, and leads them on a frustrating treasure hunt. I’m asking for the pulldown to be brought into line with how tags works otherwise in discourse.

(Eóin Martin) #14

Why is this tagged as a feature when it’s clearly a bug? As of right now, the functionality is inconsistent. Sometimes users can see private tags (show filter by tag) and sometimes they can’t (as seen in the ‘birthday’ search image above). So no matter what people are assuming other people want/need, this is a bug.

(Neil Lalonde) #15

This is a bug, so I re-categorized it as a bug. The dropdown shouldn’t be showing private tags to people who don’t have permission to see them. Not sure what all the other discussion is about… if there are unrelated issues, please open separate topics.

(Jeff Atwood) #16

Sorry @tobiaseigen I didn’t understand your first post. I’ve edited the title to make it more clear…

(Tobias Eigen) #17

thanks! sometimes in my haste I get not only verbose but also tongue tied with the terminology. thanks for your patience.

(Kane York) #18

I think we had to invent terminology here - nobody’s really tried to define the security of tags before. We just got staff-only tags very recently…

(Tobias Eigen) #19

Thanks! That makes me feel better. :wink:

Generally my impression is that it makes most sense for tags privacy to follow the same logic/terminology as categories privacy. You can’t see categories you don’t have access to, so you shouldn’t see tags you don’t have access to either.

This is how it works everywhere except with the tags drop-down.

(Neil Lalonde) #20

OK so maybe I shouldn’t make quick judgements at the end of the day. Sorry for causing confusion.

We don’t have “private tags”. Categories and tags are getting mixed up in my head lately. What you’re asserting is that a tag that is exclusively used in a secured category is called a private tag. I guess that makes sense, but it’s not something that’s implemented.

I think that’s the real bug that should be solved, and would fix the “private tag” issue at the same time.