Restrict certain Tags to a category, but still allow that category to use all other Tags

Correct me if I’m wrong, but at the moment, if you create Tag Group A for exclusive use in Category A, Category A is then unable to use any other tags being used on the site. Is this intentional?

If it is it seems a little odd to me, particularly with how the option is worded Tags that can only be used in this category: or Tags Groups that can only be used in this category:

The way it’s actually functioning is:

Tags that can only be used in this category AND Only these Tags can be used in this Category

It should be one or the other in my opinion.

I would like to create a group of Tags that can only be used in Category A. However I don’t want that to prevent Category A from being able to use the 20 other tags on the site.

Long term, it would make more sense to have a Tag configuration page that takes care of selecting where the Groups and individual Tags can be used rather than doing it from a Category perspective.

For example select a tag from a drop down list. Say we select tag-a. We then have a page with all categories on the side and the tag at the top. You can then quick select all categories to use tag-a in, or you can individually select which categories to restrict it to by placing a check next to each category. You could do the same with Tag Groups. Granted it might be technically difficult if a tag belongs to a group and they have different settings, but it needs to be properly thought out.

In the short term, wouldn’t it make sense to change the behaviour slightly. By default, all Tags should be available in all categories. As soon as a Category sets something on a Tag, the tag and only the tag becomes either:

  1. Only available in this category (and other categories that have it selected). It leaves other Tags unaffected in this Category and all other Categories. In other words the Tag needs to be included wherever you want it available. OR:

  2. Unavailable in this Category. It leaves other Tags unaffected in this Category and all other Categories. If you want to also exclude this Tag from another Category it needs to be explicitly set as unavailable in that Category also.

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Yeah that’s intentional. There are a lot of permutations to “allow this”, “but not these”, and “default to these” but “don’t default to these”.

1 Like


I have a For Sale category. I have a vehicle manufacturer tag group and vehicle model tag subgroups added to this For Sale category.

Are you telling me there’s no way this For Sale category can also use all other tags on my site that might be relevant also in this category?

The only solution I can see right now is to explicitly add every tag to every category.

…because, if I add for example the tag accessory to For Sale in order to use that tag there, it then becomes unavailable everywhere else.

So in order to then use accessory in General I have to add it to that Category too.

I have got round this limitation by creating 3 Tag Groups:

  • site-and-marketplace
  • site-only
  • marketplace-only

I then apply them on the relevant Categories. I know Tag Groups weren’t exactly designed for this, but because of Category/Tag inclusive AND exclusive nature, it’s the only way of achieving complete control.

If you know of a better way of achieving what I need, or the Category/Tag functionality is tweaked please let me know.


I just noticed this behavior too, and also think it’s odd.

The phrasing (as you noted initially) Tags that can only be used in this category: implies the tags listed can’t be used elsewhere, not that the only tags can be used in this category are the ones listed.

I’d suggest either changing the behavior as james noted in the initial post, or rewording the label to be explicit: List the only tags allowed in this category:, or something along those lines.

1 Like

I’ve stopped using this feature of tags altogether now because I’ve found it buggy and confusing for my users.

I’ve opened up the creation and usage of tags to everyone site wide simply because it makes more sense to my forum members and keeps the functionality more like social media hashtags that way. It also actually works and is a lot simpler.

Although the core developers would disagree with me, I think trying to use Tags like we are above just highlights the need for proper sub-subcategories in order for some forums to function correctly due to the subject matter and how they need to be organised.

At the moment this is Discourse’s Achilles heel in my opinion, and at one point even made me question whether it was the right software for my needs. In the end the positives far outweighed the negatives, and the fact I was already using the software but just expanding my subject scope meant my users were already used to the functionality, so I stuck with it.

Glad that you’ve found it works by opening up to users - I’m trying to keep a more constrained approach, so unfortunately I can’t try that route.

Sub-categories exist and seem to work fine, but tags allow for cross-posting, which isn’t possible with sub-categories.

@neil any thoughts?

Am I correct to summarize this topic with this mockup?


Yep that would pretty much solve the issue for me.


Allow all tags in this category

That is a bit weird, since you’d assume all tags are usable on any category, unless someone has explicitly said otherwise…

Only allow the above tags in this category

1 Like

Ok that works too. As for how it will affect the queries… maybe I’ll save that for next week.

This was kind of my point. The way it’s working at the moment this isn’t the case.

This makes more sense assuming that by default all tags are usable.

Should probably add an extra help string.

Tags in the above list, or in a tag group in the above list, can only be used in this category (and other categories that have the tags in their list). Any topics in categories without the tags in their list cannot use the tags.

To make the tags in the list the only tags that can be used in this category, check the box below.

… I’m not the greatest copy editor in the world. But it’s better than just the field descriptions


We’ve just hit this exact same problem.

Is the tickbox fix (or, at least, the more-intuitive default) still on the roadmap?

@neil will be working on tags when his plate clears a bit. Drawing his attention to this.


Are you sure you want to continue this old conversation?

Mega bump, cause I am sure.

I also ran into this and it’s confusing :slight_smile:

We can’t change the default behaviour, but some more text in the UI to explain how it works could help. @riking’s copy, or something else? @Mark_Walkom what do you think would have helped you?

1 Like

Better wording for sure @neil.

Tag and tag group listing is implicitly exclusive for categories that do not have the same tags or groups listed. Such categories will not be able to use the listed tags unless they are also set.


Tags, or tag groups, in the above list will only be available in this category and other categories that also have the tags in their list. Categories without these tags in their list will not be able to use them.


Ok, the second paragraph seems better to me. Will add it.