Removing the legacy hamburger navigation menu option

Last year, we announced the new sidebar navigation menu, which has since become the default navigation menu for new sites, with many existing sites also adopting it. Concurrently, we marked the old hamburger drop-down menu as legacy in the navigation_menu site setting.

Screenshot from 2023-05-17 11-42-33

As a replacement to the legacy navigation menu, we introduced the header dropdown navigation menu option. This choice is designed for sites that prefer not to use the sidebar navigation menu, yet still want to retain the customization options offered by the sidebar.

In an upcoming Discourse release we will migrate all sites automatically to the new header dropdown navigation, effectively discontinuing support for the legacy navigation menu. In the release after, we will be removing the legacy navigation menu option completely. On our managed hosting, we will gradually transition sites still using the legacy navigation menu to the header dropdown navigation menu.

Screenshot from 2023-05-17 10-55-41

Please note that if you don’t set up any default category or tags; it will be shown as below.

Screen Shot 2023-06-01 at 12.59.01

You can add default category or tags via Configure Defaults which directs you to below settings.

Screen Shot 2023-06-01 at 12.45.00

Screen Shot 2023-06-01 at 12.46.16

You can apply these changes to existing user preferences from the pop up menu.

Screen Shot 2023-06-01 at 12.45.14

Screen Shot 2023-06-01 at 12.42.25

Once you set all defaults, you can view All Categories & All Tags links as well.


Screen Shot 2023-06-01 at 12.45.50


Screen Shot 2023-06-01 at 12.55.18

The default experience of sidebar for users differs in what users see on the site for the first time before they have personalized their own sidebar.

Normal User view

Header dropdown




Admin User view

Header dropdown




Anonymous User view

Header dropdown




Themes or plugins that rely on the official plugin API to customize the legacy hamburger menu will continue to work. However, if your customizations do not use the official plugin API, you may need to adapt them for the header dropdown navigation menu.

Please feel free to share your feedback here if you run into any problems when switching to the header dropdown navigation menu and we’ll be happy to assist you with it.


This seems premature. The user-customizable sections feel like a prototype still. The site-level customization seems even less baked. Is there better handing of nested categories coming before we see this? Tag groups?

Has there been any design thought on how this is supposed to work with the Categories and Latest Topics front page style? Maybe I missed that, but they seem awkwardly in conflict and I have no idea what to do about it.

And, “community” still? Really?


Is this also what will happen automatically for instances set to legacy when updating to that upcoming release or does the release only remove the ability to choose legacy going forward?

The change being made here is to switch sites using “legacy” (hamburger) over to the new “header dropdown” (hamburger) menu.

We aren’t forcing everyone to use the sidebar and header dropdown should work fine with the categories + latest home page option.

The user and site wide customizable sections you mentioned are certainly still evolving, but that is just new stuff.

As we start rolling things out more widely, sites will still have the opportunity to opt out and use the hamburger for some time. We’ll use that feedback (and feedback here) to help identify whether there are any other changes required before it’s final removal.

We don’t plan to do that until 3.1, which is likely to be sometime in the July/August timeframe.

I misspoke there. We will likely do this sooner if we don’t discover other issues along the way that need more time.


my view only: i’ve written quite a lot of user documentation in my life and i am stickler for terminology and making it clearer for users. thus, i now try to refer to it as the navigator (or navigation) menu because that is what it really is. the hamburger icon is what most folks seem to keep referring to and is the accepted name for that icon in other apps too. the legacy navigator menu still had the hamburger icon. the new navigator menu is configurable in drop down or side bar (but i don’t get why it’s still called a sidebar when in drop-down mode?). i used to call it a hamburger menu when it was legacy, but when i made the switch, i decided to change the terminology for my own users and am now referring to it as the navigator menu (or sidebar) and the icon as the hamburger icon. (eg: click the hamburger icon to get the navigator menu).

anyways, this past weekend i migrated to the new navigator menu from the legacy one. i started off by using the drop down mode in order to make it as much like the legacy menu as possible so my users would find it easier to adapt (i have an older user demographic, mostly ages 40-80). the roll out went much better than i expected and the users quite like the customizable features. i had planned on keeping the menu in drop down mode but after a few days i realized how much better it is in desktop when in the slide out mode on left. i also like that it is more like the mobile view. so i switched it to the slide out on left side over-night last night and i am very happy with it. in retrospect, i think this inadvertent staged migration was a good thing.

some feeback:

  • my only major complaint is that i want more control of customizing the top section (i easily renamed “Community” to my forum title in the text replacement console). i have used some CSS to change a few things in that part but it’s a bit tricky to access those elements.
  • why is Latest called Everything? i changed that too
  • My Posts should not be above the Admin and Review options for Staff - what happens is it pushes Review down into the …More section. please make the Staff controls precedent.

love the menu so far. great work Discourse team :clap: :slight_smile:

edit: ok so i found out soon after i made this post that Everything is dynamic and changes from latest to new. i didn’t notice till i had switched on the power user option and someone pointed it out (doh). love this. i just had to figure out a better name for it (Recent / Unread). cool feature. i have also since noticed that Review moves up when flags are pending, so that isn’t an issue either.


I recall reporting this at some point, somewhere… but I still have some sort of interaction happing with [i think it is] the custom categories component…

updated to add: Here’s where I reported this way back…


Sorry, can you clarify what you’re expecting to see in that space you’ve highlighted in the screenshot? Is this about category icons?


I’m expecting to see icons, next to the categories, yes. In “legacy” mode I see this…


This would be a regression for our site, too.


yes i found your old topic. icons should be available for categories given they are in the other customizable menu sections and that they were usable in the legacy menu.


OK, yep, we’ll put it on our list to address category icons somehow before we remove the old menu.


ok my mods and i just noticed that for the Staff view, when there are flags pending, the Review option moves up above Admin. i really like this! it addresses my point above (mostly). :slight_smile:

my users have been relatively well-behaved lately lol


Pushing the “Review” link into the “more” drop down when there is nothing to review is an intentional design decision we made. When there is an item in the review queue, the link will automatically be moved out of the “more” drop down.


Looking at switching from legacy to sidebar, I was seeing the categories and tags empty despite default sidebar categories and default sidebar tags being set appropriately. Perhaps I set them before they became user preferences or answered no to changing them for existing users, though I’m not convinced I would have done the latter.

I needed to reset those default settings to empty, answering yes to changing historically, then setting appropriately and again answering yes. Answering yes once with it empty was important, otherwise changes were not applying to my user preference.

Also, it’s slightly strange that these settings are named with sidebar when they apply to both the sidebar and header dropdown, though it’s not that big of a deal for the admin setting names and the setting names are hidden from user preferences.

In the user preferences UI however, it feels pretty weird having to go to a “Sidebar” section to change settings for the “Sidebar’s categories section” and such if what you actually want to do is change these for a header dropdown.


In phpBB there’s something called ‘Active Topics’ which might be a good term for this.

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The new menu is baffling. It’s missing the things people mostly want, such as Latest. Navigation now takes multiple clicks. I’m getting complaints from users. How do I switch it back? This reminds me of Atlassian.


The tooltip just says “menu” so that’s what I’m calling it.


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Latest is a part of Everything - this dynamicaly changes between Latest and Unread. there are also settings for the side bar notifications in the user preferences for sidebar.

if you want, you can add a link to /Latest and /Unread filters for your users in a custom link section that all users can see.

also you can change the tool tip for the hamburger icon to whatever you want in text replacement in js.sidebar.show_sidebar and js.sidebar.hide_sidebar

you can also use text replacement to change the name of “Everything”.


That I can customize my site to improve the UX is OK but why not just have good UX to start with?

“Everything” might be the weirdest menu choice I’ve ever seen. What determines whether it’s actually Latest or Unread?

It’s also not good that this topic’s heading uses developer jargon (“hamburger”).


the hamburger icon is the accepted name of that icon for as long as i can remember. it is used in many apps. i have used the term to describe the icon/menu for as long as i have been doing app admin and support, and my users (older, non-tech demographic) have never had a problem with it, often joking about the hamburger menu not being full of food items. :wink:


If you don’t have unread items, then it’s latest