Discourse software, Categories, and "Rooms"

Given recent renewed interest in creating segregated “rooms”, and the recent suggestion that Discourse’s categories be used to implement this, I tried to do some digging on what Discourse categories can, and cannot do.

What it appears categories can do

  • It seems possible to create as many categories as you like, and even a category for every topic (rendering ‘tags’ increasingly redundant).

What it appears categories cannot do

  • Segregate who can see and respond to a category, other than by Trust Level.

Non-members cannot see ‘Side Conversations’, and it seems it is possible to create a category that new members (Trust Level 0) cannot see, etc.

Yes, it would be possible to create a new category called ‘ID Conversations’, for example, and make that category invisible to non-members – but it would then be indistinguishable, except by name, from the existing ‘Side Conversation’ category – and would still be visible to all members. The only difference it would make is the increased work of implementing it and maintaining it.

It would of course be possible to assign a higher minimum trust level to the new category, but that would (i) require ensuring that all those interested in that category’s topic (e.g. ID) were given at least that trust level, and (ii) mean that all other members of that trust level and above would still see threads in this category, whether they were interested or not.

It is therefore hard to see what practical purpose creating new, topic-specific, categories would serve.

(Of course, I am not an expert on Discourse software, so if I’ve made any errors, or important omissions, please point them out.)

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I have never asked for a key or padlock on the room. I only wanted it to be a place a person intentionally visited for a specific kind of discussion (recognized to be tending to be more volatile if not handled correctly).

What you discovered sounds good.

What you have been asking for has often been very vague, bordering on incoherent. The best that I can make out from your unilateral demands (or bilateral, if we include Eddie) for a “room” or “segregation” is some form of separation.

Categories (existing or newly-created) won’t give you this separation George.

And I’m afraid that this is ALL that Categories can give you George – a figurative “padlock” that prevents users below a given trust level from viewing a thread.

That already exists George – they’re called ‘tags’, and there is a tag specifically for ‘Design’ – so (assuming somebody remembered to set it), there is no reason that anybody who doesn’t want to read a thread on Design/ID would need to find themselves doing so.

What I have “discovered” will make no practical difference other than creating more work for Admins and Moderators.

In what way does a thread in a category labelled ‘ID Conversation’ improve things over a thread labelled, with a tag, “Design”?

The more I talk to you George, the more I think you don’t understand what I’m saying, and the more sure I am that what you are saying isn’t sufficiently coherent for a meaningful reply to be possible.


You can search every single post of mine. I never once asked for a padlock or any special use of trust levels. People said i wanted to Banish people by religion or belief system. Uh-uh. No way.

If i had asked for a lock, maybe that accusation would have had legs. But all i ever asked for was separation… and everybody started losing their sh*t. But maybe people have starting to re-discover their poop…

I knew about the trust levels but i never sought them out. I figured just asking about them would make people’s skulls explode. I recused myself from discussing them… and continue to recuse myself.

And I never said that you did – however this “padlock” is all the substantive difference that Discourse Categories offer, whether you want it or not.

Beyond that, as I said before:

The difference would be between this (current):

… and this (mock-up):

Which returns me to my original question:


The difference in functionality is pretty clear. Tags can serve as a fairly refined SEARCH tool, pulling out a specific ID group from the huddled mob of ID groups, or a specific ID topic (like Irreducible Complexity vs. Fine Tuning vs Information Loss etc).

But if you dont SEPARATE the ID threads from the rest first the point of the effort is foiled. People need to travel one more level to have the privilege of arguing more heatedly.

This is simply a bald assertion. You clearly don’t understand the functionality.

And, other than by restricting trust levels, categories only “serve” the same purpose. If you have an “Irreducible Complexity” tag, you can have an “Irreducible Complexity” category, etc, etc.

You really don’t listen to things you don’t want to hear, do you George:

If you want to “SEPARATE the ID threads from the rest” you first need to replace the Discourse software with a completely different forum software package!

Within Discourse, a topic from an ‘ID Conversation’ category can appear directly above or below a topic from any other category – it will not be separated.


The default sequence for threads in discourse is first sort threads by category.

Then within a category, show all threads matching a given tag.

If there was a sub-category (instead of tags) you could see the 2nd sort of sub-categories within each category.

If you go back to the default sort of categories, i dont believe you can invoke a single tag in all categories at once, unless there is a category called ALL - - which would make the rest of the categories into sub-categories by default.

No it is not. The default is to sort by the topic with the most recent post (unless it is a pinned topic).

Default sorting primarily by category (or sub-category, or tag) would be unworkable, as it would mean that all of the topics in the first category, even the very old ones, would show before recent topics in all other categories.

The end result is that Discourse will not, and cannot, do what you want it to George. And I’m getting tired and frustrated at having to repeatedly tell you why.

If you won’t take my word for it, then I suggest that you take your issues to:

Goodbye and good luck.


You seem to think you are my reflection in the mirror, but that you know what I REALLY, really want.

Nope. You got it wrong - again.

All i want is a CATEGORY (aka Front Porch, Back Porch, Side Porch, Basement, Attic) for ID disputes. Maybe what YOU really want is to shut me down.

Only if it is the most extreme ‘Funhouse Mirror’, that distorts the image so badly that it is barely recognisable.

I don’t think even you know what you “REALLY, really want” George, so all I can go on is what you most consistently say that you want – which appears to be “seperation”.

There is no “aka” here George. A Discourse Category IS NOT a “Front Porch, Back Porch, Side Porch, Basement, Attic”. So choose one. Do you want a category? Or do you want a “Front Porch …” etc? If you choose that latter, then you would need to go to a forum that runs on different software.

To hammer this point home, let me zoom out on my previous example:

This is how a non-member would see the forum currently:

And this is a mock-up of how it would look with an ID category:

The difference is virtually indistinguishable, and give no separation.

If separation is not what you are after, then you need to clearly, concisely and coherently state what it is that you are after, rather than babbling on about “Front Porch, Back Porch, Side Porch, Basement, Attic”.

No, but I would appreciate it if you would give the quixotic argumentum ad nauseam crusades a rest for a bit. :roll_eyes:

Find a new dragon to slay Don George Quixote, your current ones have become boring.


Do you really think you should be spending so much time twisting facts and trying to convince me you aren’t a self-elected Inquisitor hoping for a big night at the “Auto da Café” counter.

I’ll put together my own MORE REASONABLE simulation for to sputter over.

How long have you been having these Delusions of Persecution George? Have you sought medical help for them?

You are welcome to. But I have to ask – why haven’t you done so already? My mockup only took me about 5min. Any realistic mockup of what difference a single new category would add would not look too different from the existing layout, so should not require too much alteration.

All I want is a category
Somewhere folks can discuss ID
Somewhere that I won’t be
Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Let’s sequester the atheists
And cdesign proponentsists
Somewhere they won’t be missed
Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Oh, so lovely with the athe-bloomin’-ists confined
They’d no longer pester me for evidence that I can’t find…

All the Christians would surely be
Glad of the opportunity
To discuss GAE
Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?
Loverly, loverly
Loverly, loverly

Anyone fancy writing a Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ parody?

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Only if you promise to give me a lobotomy first. :stuck_out_tongue: