Reordering categories

If we are going to have the Categories be the default landing page for newcomers, I thought I’d try re-ordering it into something that had some logic to it.

I put Site Feedback first because with the recent change-over, things are going to be in flux, and I think making input and feedback a priority makes sense. Once we have things better worked out, we can lower the priority of this category.

My personal biases reflected: I put “General Discussions” and “Newbie” up in front for the following reasons:

One of the big advantages of this site over StackOverflow is that we can actually have opinionated discussions! This seems like an important differentiation, worth emphasizing to me. Your thoughts? General also has popular threads like “What I did/drew today”.

A lot of people coming here (that we hope will come back) will be newcomers. So a place for newcomer questions should probably be pretty high up, yes?

Next I thought it would be good to emphasize the games that people can check out and try out, or other activities like contests.

After that, I went for the core dev topics. For some reason they were kind of scattered, and it makes much more sense to group them together as a block.

Then wiki/tutorials kind of things.

Last: lounge, misc, chit chat, etc.

Moving in the right direction?

I don’t really have feedback on the category sorting, but that’s because i didn’t even get as far as wasting a thought on that yet, this forum implementation has some serious problems on the “no-soul-no-focus”-front.

The one thing that really really irks me is that the forum overview looks like word salad. There is no instinctively noticeable differentiation between different elements in each section (categories in “Category” box, latest topics in “Latest” box).

You look at it and it’s all melting together because there are no borders and way too much text, like noise made of letters. The colored bars in the “Category” are nice in theory but it’s bullshit in practice, it’s not prominent enough and it reminds people of these dreaded “You can buy this domain, here are some ad-links derived from your search input”-pages, this shit gives you flashbacks from finding out the page you’re searching for is gone. It hurts my eyes and my soul.

The categories need stylized icons or something to represent sub-forums and a proper category tree to navigate, or you just reduce the amount of god damn text and use the gained space for user content (game-icons/images).

Using the Icon of the user who last posted in a thread as a topic icon is a bad choice, it changes with every new post, how should the users make a connection between the topic and the icon if it changes all the time, you simply can’t…

You also need to put that user-generated content up front: images, games, new posts, that’s what everyone is looking for, if you can’t find it within the first 2 seconds of looking at the forum landing page it’s game over.

That’s my 2 cents. I very much appreciate the work put into this site, but it’s not really what it could and should be right now :woozy_face:

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I wish I could give feedback on categories but I don’t use them (I reverted back to latest).

From multiple modern forums I’ve been using recently, I believe that the concept is a bit different. Topics are the first grade citizens here, and they are tagged with categories. This is a major difference compared to traditional forum softwares like SMF from which we migrated. The relation is inverted here.

In traditional forums, there are categories (also called as boards) which contain topics. A board, can in-turn contain sub-boards and topics. This is why the home page shows the list of categories there.

However, modern forums are just a set of topics, also known as discussions here. And there will be tags. Each topic can be assigned with multiple tags. This is also the reason why Discourse allows to create topics which aren’t categorized.

I do get the point that we are trying to emulate the old behaviour, which is okay with me. In that case, I’d suggest that you look for a way to prevent Discourse from creating topics without any category.

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Really interesting point from @SHC on modern vs traditional forums. I am going to have to stretch my brain a bit on this, as I was resistant to changing to Discourse and am now biased towards getting back the perceived benefits of the traditional way. What I wanted (mostly) was a revision of the topics to better reflect the changing tech. But we decided as a group to make the change to Discourse, so I’m going to try and get my head around this different concept of how to organize the topics.

Per the “topics rule” viewpoint, the categories are thought of more as tags?

As we discuss this and try things out, I will try to be careful about not doing anything that is not reversible, and to working incrementally. Maybe we can arrive at a decent hybrid of traditional and modern.

One change I have in my admin permissions is to change the colors. I will give a try to using colors as a way to support the categorization. In other words, all the showcase-related will be one color, all the core coding topics another, etc.

OK done. This is pretty much a cosmetic change and I’m not particularly attached to the choices I made.

I need to learn more about how categories and subcategories are created/organized/managed.