tl;dr – Our Puttytribe community consolidated 17 forum categories into 8 when we moved to Discourse one year ago. Now our members are pushing to add new categories and we need to design logic and a process for how and when to do it.
The core question: do you have a decision-making workflow on how and when to add new forum categories to your community? If so, will you share it here?
When we redesigned the Puttytribe community I run, simplicity and reducing members’ feelings of being overwhelmed drove many of our decisions. We decided through a member-led process to consolidate 17 Ning forum categories into 8 Discourse forum categories.
One of those current categories is “Anything Goes” – which is a catch-all equivalent to other communities’ “Small Talk” or “Off Topic” categories. Apparently, using that category and having the post creator use tags like “money” or “inspiration” won’t fly in our community. I’ll save the challenges of educating and re-educating people about the utility of tags for another day.
I realize we can’t stay at 8 top-level categories forever. And the suggestions to add a money focused and inspiration focused category have merit.
My dilemma? If I add any new forum categories without a workflow or process to determine if they’re worthy of the UX, admin, and operational implications (i.e., more work for my team), I’m setting an arbitrary precedence of something I believe needs to be carefully evaluated.
- @richard_millington – the core FeverBee forum categories haven’t changed since @HAWK created them two years ago. Is that intentional? Do you not have the internal need or member-led pushes to create new forum categories here?
- It’s been suggested that I find an Information Architect to consult on this. What other expertise or skill set would be appropriate to create a new category decision workflow from scratch?
- The Puttytribe already uses Discourse sub-categories for each of our Discourse groups (e.g., the top level category is “Groups” and each group has it’s own sub-category). I’d rather avoid more top-level categories with sub-categories because I only see a UX impact and unintended consequences downside to that approach over the long-term.