Unified tags between #ask and #project — a potential solution (your input needed!)

See Adding `-team` to (almost) all of the tags in Project Discussion for background. Discourse has added a new feature, which is kind of complicated to explain but which may make it possible to reduce the complication and confusion while still also allowing people to not get bombarded with user questions when they’re looking to participate in project discussion — or the other way around.

There is a new user preference, which you can find at https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/my/preferences/tracking:

Assume for a minute that we merged e.g. coreos-wg back into coreos. With the option unchecked (as is the default), if you follow that tag, but mute Ask Fedora, you won’t get user-question posts (unless you are following that topic specifically, which should override everything). However, if you check this box, you mute Ask Fedora in general but still get notifications for any tags (like coreos).

I would like to get rid of the tag split, because it’s kind of confusing (and not everyone wanted it in the first place), and because having unified tags makes it easier to re-categorize posts, and it’s really powerful to be able to look at the combined view of the tag regardless of category. But, having messed with this enough already, I’d like this to be the final[1] change if we do it.

So… questions…

  1. Does this make sense?
  2. Could it be explained or presented more clearly?
  3. Does it seem sufficient to solve the problem that caused us to make the split in the first place?
  4. Should we plan to (with appropriate announcement and lead time, of course!) merge the tags back together and simplify things?
  5. Anything else?

  1. well, for the reasonable future, of course! ↩︎

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I think this will work. I do have some questions…

If you just watch the coreos tag but aren’t subscribed to anything else, will you receive both Ask and Project Discussion topics?

The reason I think this will work is if I think about it from a “new user” rather than “existing user” perspective I think it’s easier to see why this is the right long term solution.

If I’m a new user and I subscribe to the coreos tag I should reasonably get all notifications about coreos tagged activity. As a new user I then decide if that’s too much for me and I can go in and select the new option you talk about to mute Ask posts.

For existing users it may be a bit confusing, because the behavior will change without any action from them, but I think we can live with that.

Yes. Unless you mute one of the categories, of course. (And don’t have the new option selected.)

I’m not sure how this works with the other possibility, Tracking (which shows counts but doesn’t send notifications). I’ve asked the Discourse team for clarification.

Any plans to implement this?

I’m still kind of hoping for something even better — I would like to only make one more change, and then stick with that.

Does that mean “something better” is in the works? Any info on that?

The thing I don’t like about this particular approach is that it relies on the big hammer of muting the whole Ask Fedora category — Tracking or Watch First Post or Normal are not affected. You can’t just have it not notify — you have to hide it from yourself.

I’ve asked Discourse to consider this approach:

  • tag tracking to be configured per-category rather than globally
  • there is a new explicit state, Default, for topics and tags


  1. If a topic is not Default, whatever it is set to wins and tag and category tracking don’t matter.
  2. If a topic is Default and at least one tag is not Default, the tag setting applies to the topic.
  3. If a topic is Default and tags are all Default, the category setting applies to the topic.

I think that would give the flexibility we need, and also address another thing I noticed, which is: I have Project Discussion as Watching, but realized for some teams I don’t need to see every post. So, for those tags, I changed the tag watch to Watch First Post only. But, that doesn’t work, because the category Watch is “stronger”. The new mute priority option could be extended to cover other levels, but that becomes a confusing matrix — and honestly, the new mute setting is really confusing to explain as it is.

My idea gives the flexibility and is easy to explain.