Default category on the merged site will be "Ask in English"

When you start a new topic on Discourse from the front page of the site, the topic composer can be pre-filled with category. Because[1] traffic on Ask is higher than Project Discussion, and because new posts there are more likely to be new members and possibly drive-by or infrequent visitors, I think it makes sense for the default category to be Ask in English.[2]

However, this means that for Project Discussion, you need to either

  • browse to :category_project: Project Discussion before hitting the “New Topic” button — if you are viewing a specific category rather than the front page, that category will be selected in the composer[3]
  • or, change the topic once you’ve opened the composer.

I don’t think this is a huge amount of a hardship, but it does seem… less convenient than it was. I’d love to hear any suggestions for ways we could make that easier — including possible Future Features for Discourse.[4]


  1. if you don’t count Copr’s automatically-generated topics ↩︎

  2. non-English questions are rare enough that we can easily recategorize them ↩︎

  3. this is true for tags too. and for tags and categories, for that matter, so you can bookmark e.g. #dei topics, so if you hit the New Topic button from that page, your post will default to Project Discussion category with the #dei tag ↩︎

  4. Perhaps user-configurable defaults? ↩︎

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On the one hand, this will draw all the posters who don’t know where to go to ask which is probably exactly what we want.

On the other, even for an experienced poster, forgetting to fill in the category box is pretty easy to do so it is likely a lot of posts will end up in ask and need to be moved. That doesn’t seem like the end of the world though.

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This seems like the easier to deal with of the two scenarios. It would also be pretty frustrating for newer users looking for support to get bounced around. Re-categorizing things also isn’t the hardest thing in the world, especially once we get ask TL4’s ported over here.

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A nice thing about the way Discourse works is that the category is really just metadata, so moving a post doesn’t feel like “bouncing” it so much. The URL doesn’t change, for example. This is one of the major advantages of merging, because with separate sites there’s not much to do except tell people they did it wrong, which is not the experience I want them to have.

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I think this may be short term. When things change it takes time for people to change their habits, but then over time it becomes the new norm and habitual.

I think the ‘ask in english’ category is the right choice.

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