Too many categories

The front page has a flat list of categories, but the list is so long now that it’s hard to find anything. They’re not in any logical order, either. I suppose this list has crept up over time.

For example, just now I wanted to find the release notes for Kinetic. Before DIscourse, they were at a predicable URL on the Wiki, but now the URL can no longer be guessed or remembered. I know that it’s just a page in the Release category, but finding the Release category looks like it should be a case of just looking at the available categories, except then I can’t find it because the list is so big.

Is it possible to restructure please, so that the list is browseable again? Perhaps by using sub-categories? I’m not sure what facilities exist in Discourse for this.


A main facility in Discourse for cleaning up too-many-categories is Discourse’s powerful tag tools, which are currently not used much.

Tags are intended to be the organizational tool that lets the community arrange itself and reduce the number of needed categories.

  • Tags can be required in some circumstances
  • Tags can have defined parent-child relationships
  • Tags are intended to be a primary user-facing organizational method, not a supplementary search assist.

Orientation to tags in Discourse: (includes examples). Generally, creating rules around tags is a Moderator-level task.

After a bit of research, I suspect that many team-specific and product-specific categories could be eliminated by the considered and routine use of Discourse’s powerful tagging features without chaos. There’s a learning curve, but it’s small.

This would, of course, require buy-in from the various teams.


Another option is to reorganize how we post documentation. Currently, about 10 of the 37 categories are used almost exclusively for various projects’ documentation.

It would be simple to migrate the documentation within these categories to Documentation subcategories.

 From: Mir -> HowTo_A
 To:   Documentation -> Mir -> HowTo_A
  • The URLs of each topic remain unchanged, so mappings should not break (untested).
  • Documentation diataxis tags (HowTo, Tutorial, Explanation, Reference), when used, are also unaffected by this change.
  • This assumes that teams are willing to shift discussion and other threads to a different category (Desktop, Server, Community).
  • This won’t work for any categories that use access controls (group memberships), but most categories are not using those anyway.

This would, of course, require buy-in from the various teams. It’s very easy to implement and reduces the number of categories by up to 27%.

Ping: @danieleprocida


Yet another option is to prune lightly-used categories.

Currently 11 of the 37 categories have fewer than 15 topics:

Category Topics Category Topics
Introductions 1 Canonischool 1
LightDM 1 Kernel 2
Lounge 6 MicroStack 6
Raspberry Pi 6 Design Systems 7
Announcements 9 Appliance 16
Landscape 19

Some have good reason to remain unchanged, but perhaps 8-or-so could be merged with related categories. This could reduce the number of categories by up to 21%.

This would, of course, require buy-in from the affected teams.


Be a Power Google User! Google is your friend.

In my opinion tags are a complete waste of everyone’s time and just create more confusion.

I even spelled the name wrong and the first match is still the Release Notes link: