Setting Up New Forum for Genetic Disorder With Widely Varying Conditions & Symptoms - Many Categories or Mandatory Tagging?

I’m building a community centered around a genetic disorder that has multiple conditions. I’ve successfully installed Discourse (I think) and now I need to build Categories. The problem is I don’t want to discourage users from participating because they’re overwhelmed by the categories. Here’s a sample of just some the condition categories:

  • Bleeding Disorders and Bruising
  • Cancer and Tumors
  • Dental
  • Developmental Delays
  • Eye Conditions
  • Feeding and Appetite
  • Growth and Hormones
  • Hearing Problems
  • Heart Disorders
  • Kidneys and Urinary Tract Complications
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Lymphatic Conditions
  • Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Issues
  • Musculoskeletal issues
  • Skin and Hair

I’m not sure how to set this up. Do I create a category for every condition or do I create tags for the conditions? If I left most topics uncategorized, is there an easy way to sweep them into a category and tag them later?

Also, I could not find any documentation on creating mandatory tags within a category. How does one do that?

This is my first forum and I’m struggling to figure everything out. I hope my questions make sense. Thanks in advance.

You likely don’t want more than five categories. See It's Time We Talked About Tags

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What is the purpose of the forum?

If you create a category for each condition then all you have is a taxonomy, a classification scheme. It doesn’t lead to any action/activity.

I would be looking to use verbs/actions for categories like these examples:

  • Diagnosis - how do I find out if I have this disorder and its conditions
  • Therapy - how do I get better; what treatments are available
  • Research - what is being done to find solutions to this disorder and its conditions
  • Support - what financial and non-financial support is available for me

By the way, I agree with @pfaffman to use tags for the conditions because their use will vary by context and you can have only one or several relevant in any context.

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Another good general piece of advice is start simple, and only add additional “stuff” as you have demonstrated need for that “stuff”.

Adding a bunch of complexity at the start rarely ends well.

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Verbs/actions is a great suggestion for categories.

The purpose of the forum is to discuss and find answers to questions surrounding the various conditions of the disorder. For example, a typical question might be: “Does anyone know why my five-year-old is waking up with bruises on the back of his legs?” This person will be looking for what the bruising is related to, what type of specialist to consult, and what can be done to treat and alleviate the cause.

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When you say “stuff,” do you mean anything specific? I believe I have a solid grasp of what the tags should be. Is it okay to mandate the use of tags in the beginning?

Well, you could also personally tag the topics as they come in, to get a sense of what people are actually posting, and then have a better idea of what tags are actually needed before offering advice.

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That makes sense. Thanks!

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