Consider "Categories" page as default landing page

The discourse forums have always been the "latest" page, this layout worked best when Rust was much lower traffic. However these days with our current organisation size and traffic I feel that it would be a better experience if we had the "categories" page as the default instead.

A single stream of posts can seem pretty intimidating and confusing if you're a new user, where as with the categories larger it's easier to find a topic that you're interested in. The "categories" page makes it easier to tell at a glance whether you're on users or internals. It also provides more incentive for people to create and use categories, since they'll be more prominently displayed for more people.

Users Categories Page

Internals Categories Page

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My gut feeling is the opposite, that categories would work best for expert users and the flat list for new users.

If you are a new user, you most likely are visiting the forum to ask a question, and a single list makes it less ambiguous. With two lists, you need to figure out where are the questions, and you need to figure the category upfront.

Maybe it’s just that I am accustomed to the current way, but seeing categories in NixOS discourses just confuses me.


That is true, though I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I feel that the current forums maybe gives too much of a Q&A website impression rather than a "forum"-style forum . Certainly this is shown in the screenshot above where help is ~4x as active as the next category, and has more topics per week than the rest combined. So it's quite easy for other kinds of discussions to get lost in the activity.


FWIW, we have an internal Discourse at my company that defaults to Categories, and I actively use the "Latest" view because the categories are mostly useless and it's effectively wasting half the screen so I can't even see all the new threads. There are one or two categories I might like to exclude, but Discourse doesn't seem to allow doing anything with category tags beyond include-filtering. I feel the same way about categories on IRLO and URLO. In general, there's just not a sharp enough separation between them for them to be a useful browsing tool.


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