Categories: how do they work?


Categories are pretty powerful in Discourse. There’s the category-level ACL system, which we don’t need too much of, I don’t think. They can be nested, which I don’t think we’ve tried. Perhaps most importantly though, people can pre-filter what they get emailed about at the category level, which would give people license to post more freely in some categories than they would on the mailing list for fear of spamming uninterested people.

I’m vaguely happy with the categories we’ve got, but I can’t help but think that someone out there will have a brilliant idea for how to do a better job with them. Especially after we get a little experience and practice using this system.

So I thought maybe I’d invite a bit of brainstorming (and/or bike shedding) in this thread. Any specific proposals or general thoughts on how we should organize VHS Talk’s categories?

Personally, I think we should have at least two members-only categories. Something along the lines of VHS Admin and VHS Members Discuss or Chat or something. The first being the sort of low-noise forum that vhs-members was supposed to be, the second being more like how we actually ended up using it.

Really what I’m looking for with that second one isn’t an exclusive members-only discussion area, but just a non-public discussion forum where we can have discussions that are open to the VHS community but that won’t get picked up by search engines. Like a private version of General lounge, but open to anyone who wants in, or even anyone who registers an account on the site.

I think I’ll sticky this one for a bit, because I’d really like to see what we could dream up.

Server migration


One category-related suggestion is that it would be nice for our email notifications to display categories in the place that [VHS Talk] currently is (this adds nothing)


I still think an Events and Announcements category should be considered


It looks like this feature will be coming soon!

Agreed, I will add this now.

Sounds reasonable, Could we nest them within each other?

  • VHS Members Discuss
  • VHS Admin

For future reference this is the current category set up

  • General lounge
  • Events and Announcements
  • Projects
  • Space and infrastructure
  • Staff
  • VHS-Members only

So it will look something like this.

  • General lounge
  • Events and Announcements
  • Projects
  • Space and infrastructure
  • VHS-Members Discuss (renamed from ‘VHS-Members only’)
  • VHS Admin (renamed from ‘Staff’ to ‘VHS-Admin’ and relocated under VHS-Members)


Nesting like that is interesting, not sure about the naming of these last two, suggestions welcome:

  • VHS-Members Discuss
    • VHS Admin

I want to see that we clearly identify that last one as a low-noise members-only channel to cover the original purposes of the vhs-members mailing list:

  • Promoting a new member to a key member,
  • Financial info about the society,
  • Minutes of member meetings,
  • Discuss society business on the members channel.

This stuff is important and I’d really like all members to see it, either through email subscription or through the forum UI.

Generally I love this category system. This is one area where Discourse has the flexibility to kick the stuffing out of traditional mailing lists.

Presumably “Staff” was a default category on install, no? I wouldn’t mind keeping it around for a scratchpad for people who are doing the IT work on VHS Talk. As people come and go, it can store the history of any thinking that went into the system’s setup.


I think I agree on all of Bruce’s above points


I added a Group Buy category, so that we can keep them corralled.


Would anybody be reading this after two years?

I need to know fairly quickly:
if it is doable with some ease to create say 8 different “virtual” users to discourse (or at least one automatically and always logged in ), that have reading access but no writing ( replies or new topics) access to talk and specifically to the membership area and only if they are logged in from the physical hackspace (or even from a physical machine on the hackspace?
thumbs crossed for quick reply, Handy