Why was the Latest page chosen as the landing page?


From my own experience every discussion board I’ve visited has on the landing page the questions which have been locked down as everyone needing to know e.g. “Read thjis before posting !!!” and then the categories underneath that.

From my own dealings with new discussion boards, I will typically enter via a search result and if I want to go further I will typically sign up and then either start looking around the categories I’m in or I will go back to the start (as above) and try and find some other paths I’m interested in.

Why was the decision made with Discourse to go against this typical layout for a discussion board? I may be reading this all wrong, so go easy, but it appears that if this site was about ‘pets’ I would see everything from mice to pythons on the Popular page (“read landing page”) when all I’m interested in is stupid cat pictures.

Also why was the decision made to remove the hierarchy which is popular with discussion boards? If I am in Stupid Cat Pictures, I may want to click on the parent ‘Cats’ or my predecessor ‘Cat pictures’.

Apologies if I’ve got this all wrong, but I was slightly confused when I first landed yesterday. I understand ground-breaking needs to break some stuff… just my initial reaction.

Rationale Behind Latest As Default Homepage View
(Ides) #2

The smaller communities that I visit would use the popular section more then any other area or the next best thing being “latest 10 posts”. For a larger community, the popular section being the primary section may not be appropriate for all users. Perhaps have it where users are allowed to decide what their starting point is?

If your looking for the hierarchy theme majority of the discussion software does today, it would be called categories here. I believe there is an intention to implement sub categories but that’s about it.


I’m kind of used to seeing breadcrumbs. From what I can tell, it appears “category” is more like a tag here. It kind of says what it is, but it doesn’t make me feel like it belongs.

If this were a large discussion board it would feel more like Twitter than Reddit.

(Jeff Atwood) #4

You can select which homepage ‘tab’ is the default for your forum. Some forums might like it to be


But the saner default for most forums, I believe, is a simple, flat list of topics as I discussed here:

(Juffin) #5

@codinghorror Where can i select default homepage tab? i was unable to locate this in settings section.


Nvm found it <3

(Jeff Atwood) #6

As you discovered, you simply reorder the top_menu string, putting the tab you want first in the string.

(MaMu) #7

In small communities the popular page is the perfect landing page. For really big forums it simply doesn’t make much sense to get a popular page view because nobody is interested in all of the interest fields and it is hard to follow. So why not make the popular page customizable for every user? Let me favour categories and threads out of which my personal popular startpage gets built.

(Jeff Atwood) #8

First of all, the current page is now LATEST not Popular. That changed.

We do have a few things in the works here over the next 6 months:

  • You can already set a “hotness” per category for the very reasons you describe.

  • We were experimenting with a “popular” tab that would show topics partially based on the defined hotness of the category. This didn’t go so well. We’ll come back to this sometime soon-ish.

  • We want people to be able to mark categories as “not interested” to suppress them.

  • We want to learn which categories you prefer automatically. If you only ever click on “history” topics, and never on any other topics, we should stop showing you the other topics over time without you having to do a bunch of extra work to make that happen.

  • You can of course make the categories page the homepage of your forum, right now, today. It works well.

Category preferences
(Lee_Ars) #9

This sounds like a good idea and it might work well. However, the cautionary tale in this area is Microsoft’s experiment with auto-hiding menu items in previous versions of Microsoft Office based on use. The “Smart Menus” feature, or whatever it was called, was absolutely horrible and was the first thing I disabled.

In theory it sounded great—collapse menubar menu items that the user never uses, so that the “File” menu, for example, only shows “Open” and “Save” and not any of the other stuff that the user never clicks on. In practice, it turned out to be awful and limited feature discoverability. It also made walking users through procedures into a bloody nightmare, since so few menubar items end up being visible to an “average” user.

It might not shake out this way in Discourse, since a discussion board isn’t like Microsoft Office and usage patterns on a forum will obviously differ wildly from usage patterns on a productivity application, but auto-hiding categories based on activity might also not be a great idea in practice.

(Jeff Atwood) #10

I don’t see those as comparable at all. One is hiding channels you never watch on a television, the other is hiding controls on the dashboard of your car. Very different things.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #11

I’m fine with this as long as I’m made aware of it, like a little notification popping up somewhere saying “psst! we hid these categories because it seems like you have no interest in them”

Also, maybe there should be certain overrides to this filtering? (Also see my manual filtering suggestion). Say the Dev category has become hidden for me, but then a topic in there completely blows up with 50 replies and 1000 views; now this even I might be interested in, so it would override the filter rule as a “hot topic”.

(Sjors) #12

Yes I also want to be made aware when things get auto-hidden and I want to be able to unhide it. Maybe an overview of which categories Discourse thinks your primary interests are? This way new users would also directly know how smart Discourse actually is.

(syamsul) #13

I agree with introduction of “Most Popular” section. I couldn’t find an easy way yet to get the most popular topic as of now in Discourse yet. What I can think of now is that we have to go through all topics and check how many “Replies” that we have, and then, mark it as most popular.

But it’s probably more efficient if the system already figure it out?

(Jeff Atwood) #14

The Top tab is what you want. (we retired the Popular nomenclature long ago). New users and long absent users will get the Top page on first landing as well. The idea is that you show them your “greatest hits” on first arrival.

How to seperate the "drive by" topics from the "deeper" discussions?