Forum Categories

I have been working on customising the new forum this evening e.g. logo and header links. I’m quite pleased with the results.


Discourse encourages minimal use of forum categories (like we’re used to) and instead defaults to a ‘latest topic’ view. Categories are still here and can be viewed by clicking on the categories tab on the top. I am still undecided if we should try and embrace having ‘latest topic’ view as the default. Any thoughts?

A quote from Jeff Atwood the founder of Discourse on discussion of categories:

For lower activity sites there is no question that latest is better.

Only for very high volume sites, or very segregated by category (Israel vs. Palestine) sites, should categories page be the default.

There is many more threads discussing the topic: Rationale Behind Latest As Default Homepage View

Even so most Discourse forums I have looked at have chosen to revert to a more standard category view by default openHAB, OSCE Days.

What are your thoughts?

Let’s try out the poll function :-D. See below for simple markdown required:

  • Stick with ‘Latest Posts’ feed as default
  • Switch to categories view as default
  • Unsure
  • I don’t mind / care!

0 voters

 - Stick with 'Latest Posts' feed as default
 - Switch to categories view as default
 - Unsure
 - I don't mind / care!

I have started creating topics (and subtopics). What do you think of the categories so far? Any suggestions? @moderators should be able to create / edit topics.

I still need an image for showcase. Can you help @Gwil?

I’d honour Steve with his dashboard view. Think his work must have inspired more then me over time … though I’m still learning and tweaking (though he still is too lol).

Other question in this post, why do we see the code on how to make a poll ? On purpose to show us how to do ?

nice work/progress already on this nice little new home :slight_smile:

Thanks, yes. The purpose was to explain how easy it was to make a poll and the markdown syntax required

The header looks good, but doesn’t display properly on mobiles.
It appears too large with the result that the ‘r’ is missing from the end, and the search and settings icons are squashed further down the page.

If I scroll further down the page, the full logo is replaced by the Oem logo, and everything then fits ok.

I really like the idea of categorizing and sub-categorizing but for now the front page needs to be as lively as possible. It is the landing place for most first time users and showing all the latest posts condensed into one feed demonstrates the sites popularity,

It is the virtual shop window for the forum, you get to show users the hive of activity and whats hot etc before they navigate into the dairy aisle, pick up a pint of milk and leave without noticing all the other great stuff that’s being discussed.

By having the latest on the front page it is totally fluid and every part is changing every time you visit rather than the slower categories taking up an equal amount of space and perhaps only changing every few days or weeks, that is valuable real estate that is static and quiet literally “old news”

With a bit of a revamp so that any slow categories are not top-level and the choices are easy, informative and inviting a move to a default category view could be more appealing but right now the latest is the better choice IMO and seems to be the dominant choice of those in the know.

I think the categories descriptions should be expanded to show links to relevant wikis, guides repos etc as well as providing any pointers on how to post for that specific category, identify crtain models or get a version number, perhaps even a few FAQ pointers too.

Plus the top-level categories should reflect the traffic and popular topics. eg emonCMS should be a top level cat’ with sub-cat’s for installing, issues, processing, feature requests, upgrading etc.
The emonSD image could be another.

I would like to see a section on integrating with other systems such as WeMo, Hive, OWL, energinie etc too.

When using on a moblie the latest seems far more friendly and ensures the latest makes it onto the screen

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Same at openHab

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That’s for the feedback, some good ideas.

I have created a dedicated Emoncms category with some sub-categories of installation etc.
I’ve also created an Integrations and Applications category.

@Paul that’s strange. The Logo looks fine on my mobile, just like @pb66 screen grabs.

With regard to what view we make as default, how about a compromise: We make the landing home page the category view to help new users but make the top logo click link to /latest? This will allow users to return to the latest page when browsing.

Over the last month or so, I’ve noticed more comments like"information overload" or “I’m lost in the sea of info here.” i.e. users trying to say they’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of info available on the site. This appears to be an opportunity to make the info relevant to new users easy to find, or at least easier than it was on the old Drupal site.

From what I’ve read, new users (at least at first) aren’t interested in much more than how to buy, build, and/or make an OEM system work for them. For someone just starting out, the rest of the site can be anything from a simple distraction, to overwhelming. I’ve been an Electronics Technician since 1974, and involved in the IT industry snce 1984. I remember my first experience with OEM some 3 years ago, went something like, “Hey, this is just what I’m looking for, but where the hell do I start? and where do I find the info I’m going to need?” Not the kind of thing that encourages a new user.

I can only magine what thoughts a non-Linux, non-Electronics, and in general, non-tech person, might have upon their first experience with OEM.

I think Robert said it best when he asked “have we been doing this so long that we’ve forgotten where we came from?”

Steve has a nice dashboard, but it’s approaching the info overload stage!

true it is quite loaded but it shows nicely what can be done with emoncms
Maybe take a part of the screenshot as example :sunglasses:

I agree 100% the information needs to be made easier to navigate, that is an absolute must and I have made suggestions above about categorizing and providing better info within each category. I had set out to demonstrate my vision but the “test_categories” I started to create this morning have been deleted.

I would like to see many more categories and a lot more guidance for both new and novice users, we cannot assume all new users will be novices, I hope we also attract experienced and knowledgeable new users to the forum too.

And for the record I have been hanging around this project for a while now too and I still struggle to navigate the information.

Unfortunately we cannot get all information for all user groups all on one page and to try will end up in a mess. the landing page is about both novice and experienced first time visitors finding the forum friendly, active and appealing enough to come back and also for the regular visitors to get a quick update. it is not just about the novice users.

First impressions are the most important, the one thing all user groups navigating to a forum will have in common is a desire to find a forum that is current and popular. The latest page does this without being too technical for the novice first time visitors or too basic for the more advanced first time vistors,

I just thought an interesting feed of posts was far more appealing than a reference book style index of contents, especially to novice users and new visitors alike.

Plus let us not slip into believing a user with no technical interest or ability is likely to stick around or progress very far with this stuff unless they are willing to roll up their sleeves and/or learn a bit, there are very few items that fall into the “just add batteries” and “simply plug and play” categories here and for many people we are quite a stretch from that.

I have the latest page bookmarked so I’m all set, plus I have already formed an opinion so where I land really isn’t important, my comment were solely aimed at optimizing the landing page, the purpose of which is to entice users of all types to stay.

I see the change has already been implemented so I guess we shall get to see how it pans out !!

On a slightly different topic but related:

Hopefully the new User Guide I’ve been working on will help with creating a distinction between development topics and user guide. I’ve just made a post about it:

@glyn.hudson I’ve just cleared my phone’s cache, and I still get the same - screenshot below.
I’m using a HTC One M8 running Android 6, and a default screen resolution of 1080 x 1920.

Anyone else seeing this?

I also notice that @pb66 screenshot above does not show the menu links like mine either…

@Paul do you have “request desktop site” enabled in the browser settings?

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@pb66 Yes, but it’s not enabled, and I’m using the Chrome mobile browser too.
Is your screen resolution similar?


No my phone works fine, I recognized your symptoms as it is a browser feature I use regularly since many mobile sites do not allow zooming, so ironically switching to a desktop site will allow me to zoom into a page that I cannot see on my mobile due to being on a mobile specific site.

It looks very much like the server is not serving you the mobile version for one reason or other.

Have you tried setting “request desktop site” and then deselecting it in case it is confused? or try viewing via incognito to avoid any account settings? Does that setting make any impact at all?

Have you installed any hackery to fool other servers eg your browser is identifying itself as a desktop to get around the sky go app’s restriction on hdmi output from a mobile (makes the sky app think it is on a laptop)?

Does the native android internet app give a different result?

Yes, no different

No, not at all, it’s pretty much default.

Hmm, yes that displays OK, good call!
…but why not in Chrome?

No idea, but let’s see if I can trump your weird browser behavior, whilst replying to your issue I have noticed something bizarre happening on my laptop.

If I scroll down the page a relatively small amount, I see no odd behavior and it will sit there happily all night

but if scroll down beyond a certain point then I lose the OEM logo

It’s difficult to know where that point is as it seems to trigger a ~10s delay, I can literally scroll down, stop and count to 10 if it doesn’t disappear at that point it will stay for good, but is uncanny how frequently it just disappears at 10s on the dot. if it is going to do it also seems to depend on the distance scrolled too.

Can’t replicate that here… teething troubles!

@pb66 that’s very odd behaviour. I can’t replicate your mobile browser or your desktop browser issue.

What version Chrome are you using? My Chrome version is 50.

I think @discourse might be interested to hear about your mobile browser issue. It sounds like the HTC chrome browser is behaving slightly differently that on stock Android. Discourse should run fine on Android 4.3+ and Chrome desktop 23+

See browser requirements.

@glyn.hudson I don’t have a mobile browser issue, my mobile is fine. I can however replicate the symptoms @Paul is seeing with his mobile browser issue by using “request desktop site”.

My chrome version was “49.0.2623.112” but as I checked it it started an update so I will recheck if it will still do it.