Sub-forums under a master?

I have a scenario where I need to deploy a single parent forum that contains multiple sub-forums of differing topics. Let’s just say, as an example, I have a forum called “Education” and I need to have “Math”, “Writing”, “Science”, History" sub-forums.

The way the concept works is that someone can visit or education.tld/math and then they’ll get just the Math forum’s content and accompanying categories and tags, BUT if they go to education.tld, they’ll see all of the sub-forums and be able to search their content, etc.

Is this possible with Discourse?

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Sure. You can see how that works right here on Meta.

Go to and you see everything. Go to, and you see just support (and its sub-categories). Same for,, etc.

If you don’t like the /c in the URL, you can eliminate it by using permalinks, but this would have to be done manually. For example, I created a permalink for support, so you can visit (open that link in a new tab, internal routing doesn’t support permalinks), but you cannot visit as no such permalink exists.


So basically you’re saying to use the idea of “Categories” to segregate a forum into subforums (where category is a synonym for topic and a forum would have different topics of discussion).

So the /c/ stands for category for major segregation purposes. (Might be a smart feature to allow for a configuration override vs having to make permalinks. Interesting. I’ll have to play with this a bit and see how this fits.)

Is there per chance a way to customize appearance on a per “category” basis in order to give different CSS options for each one? For example, if - from my example - the main idea of the forum is “education” (very broad) and then it has sections such as math, it might be useful to then have math centric logos and various things going on there…

I guess this could be more comparable to StackExchange with a main big holder with different sub stacks like StackOverflow, etc… It would be nice if Discourse facilitated this style of segregation and specialization for large community building…

Hard to say. Your terminology here is quite confusing.

Going back to the Meta example. The top level,, is the “site”, or “forum”. Within Meta there are different “categories”, like support, bug, feature, etc. Within each category are “topics”, like this one we’re interacting in. Each of our replies within this topic are “posts”.

Yes, you can absolutely customize each categories appearance separately via CSS. A good example of this is They use a different category for each of their games. Notice the different appearance of the Conan Exiles category than the Secret World Legends category.


@jomaxro, this example from Funcom is perfect and exactly what I needed to see to answer essentially all of my questions. This, at least, shows me that a hierarchical organization is not only doable, but can be made approachable and attractive.


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