Sibling categories instead of parent child?


I’ve been looking for a mainly category-less forum, something that depends more on filtering to keep it’s stuff organized.

Discourse is the closest thing I’ve found, but not quite. Reading through the posts I’ve read up on the issue of going completely user-tags, and for that much I completely agree.

But simply one layer of categories doesn’t seem like it’d be enough for my case, and the added “subcategory” option feels like it’s out of line with the whole “category-less” thing.

Would it be possible to go somewhere in-between? Something like 2 “families” of categories, working side-by-side. It’s not really tags, and we get more layers without depending on subcategories.

An example of how this would work would be for example in a support site. The first family of categories would be the product line, and the second would be the type of support needed. A user well-versed with a specific product can filter by the said product using the first family of categories and leave the second one off. A user who needs specific help can use both families to further filter the topics and find a thread relating to his issue.

Of course this can be done with the current system, but here is where things differ. Since both category families are independent of each other, we could have a user who’s well versed in hardware regardless of the product. He could sort using only the second family of categories and leave the first off.

This is of course but one scenario, this system would work even better for my site (it’s a gaming community) and I’m sure it will be the same for many others.

I’m certain this small modification won’t take long to do from my end so don’t take this as a feature request or anything (you can if you want to though). It’s just I’m personally curious as to why everyone decided to go with subcategories when it seems like the whole purpose of this structure was to drift away from that mindset… Maybe the idea was never was never brought up? Or maybe there’s something I’m completely missing and this might be bad for my site in the long run!

Haha, well other than that I’m real impressed with this innovative design. Kudos~~

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Are you talking about a category-specific list like

Recategorized, since this isn’t really about the Discourse Hub.

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Not really, it’d be more like having 2 category drop-downs on the home page instead of just 1 with subcategories.

So you mean siblings rather than decendants?

I’ve seen this in sub-category relationships, but not really in any forum-wide.

How to convey such a relationship other than by similar names eg.
__________ beginning
__________ advanced

would indeed interest me.


Yes that could be one way to describe it. I suppose a model like this would only be applicable to forums who’s subcategories per categories are identical though now that I think about it. Then again cases like these are pretty common.

Like for the support forums idea, in the traditional forum layout this would have all the products as main categories, then every category would have the same support type divisions as subcategories.

For the gaming community I had in mind, we’d have all the relevant games (and general) as the main categories and every category would have the same subcategories. Namely; general, gameplay, help, usercontent, tournaments and events.

It’s very possible to have people who just want to browse all the usercontents for every game, or maybe the tournaments going on for every game (since this is a specific gaming community, the games are pretty similar in mechanics). Being able to filter using only the 2nd list of categories seems like a real plus to me.

No need for a whole new system. You could do this by extending tagger:

  • Every thread is required to have one (and only one) of these 6 tags.
  • Create a simple filter for tags, similar to the “All Categories” drop-down. Use this to show/hide the tags of your choice.

With more advanced filtering controls, you could even do queries like:

  • Show only categories: DOTA2, LOL
  • Show only tags: tournaments, events

And you would get a stream of posts exclusively about those two games, with either of those two tags.

Damn you sound confusing @Eedan! So much it reminds me of myself! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m far from an expert, but from what I read around you’re missing the user power to mess things up. The current sub-category layout is in place trying to prevent that. Yes, sibling categories, which is really tags, have not only been thought of, it have been tried over Stack Exchange.

So, for your example… “Type of support” is meaningless for most users. How would you even distinguish between “general” and “help” when you need “general help”? Which probably are most cases, by the way. You have named a “category group” and tried to fill it up with unnecessary items.

You don’t need to manually pre setup each category or even each sub-category. Do it as needed, as moderators and staff members feel the need to it. There’s already the “uncategorized” for “general” which helps into figuring out new categories as needed.

Maybe you could have just products as categories if that actually makes sense for who’s giving support. That way if a user can’t find a “tag” they want, it will fall into that and mods can organize as there is need for it.

Or maybe since all your products are pretty similar in mechanics, maybe you actually want to initially categorize by those: gameplay, tournaments, events. The user doesn’t care there’s no “product” to choose. In fact, most users won’t even bother to properly tag anything, that’s why we kind of force them doing so with categories.

Most likely you’ll soon realize there’s a whole different set of categories that will actually apply for your case. And sub-categories will only be needed as long as 1 category gets filled up with too many different requests or topics that would not trigger the interest of that whole sub-divided community. So the community itself divide it again.

Maybe that’s the TL;DR here: divide and conquer. :slight_smile:

Really interesting, I would prefered this feature to tag system.

I imagine in admin option to use hierarchical or sibling categorie for improve way to use Discourse.