Discourse tags vs. categories

Do we have any guidance for users/moderators on the use of vs. categories? For example, there’s a category “Interfaces-RStan” but also a tag “RStan”.

Do we even want an RStan tag when we have an RStan category? Should tags perhaps be more specific?


Yeah good question. If I recall correctly there was some discussion about reorganizing the tags and categories (especially for the interfaces) and @martinmodrak had some good ideas (other people probably did too but I forget!). I can’t seem to find that discussion at the moment though, so maybe we should start it again here or maybe Martin remembers what I’m referring to and can find it.

Hi, the discussion is at Community Manager - Status Update 6/2020 and Let's use tags for field-specific content and much more!

Restructuring the forum (dropping categories)

One thing that got my attention when thinking about tags is that we have IMHO too many categories. Without going for a complete overhaul of the forum structure, I think we could shorten the list a lot:

  1. One thing that we could potentially also do would be to eliminate the “Interfaces” subcategories and use tags instead (we can enforce that at least one interface tag would be added to every post).
  2. While at it we could also eliminate the following rarely used categories: “Google Summer of Code”, “Technical working group”, “Meetings” and possibly “Project Proposals” and merge them with either “Stan Governance” or “General” and add tags to distinguish them.

I think the main problem is that the current categories don’t cut across the topics very neatly (i.e. I can have a post in “Developers” category that concerns rstan - which is where the tag might come in handy. One of the proposals would be to move the “Interfaces” subcategories all to tags, but I am not 100% sure this is the best option (tags are much less visible)… I am still trying to figure out what would be the best.

I have a specific problem in mind: users mistakenly posting in General and tagging it rstan. How are they to know this isn’t a good idea?

Maybe removing General would solve the problem.

I don’t think we actually have a lots of good options here - quite a few people post interfaces questions in “General” without tagging them at all, so I wouldn’t blame the tags (actually with tags, you can watch the tag and be notified if it is in any category, so that might be a plus for using tags instead of subcategories). It is my responsibility (and partially of community leaders or other active users) to recategorize topics that should have been posted elsewhere…

A part of the problem IMHO is that many questions actually contain aspects of both “Modelling” and “Interfaces/XXX” and those are then hard for everybody to classify well… Also I don’t think anybody wants to follow/mute categories like “Modelling”, so that maybe hints that the category is not serving it’s purpose well…