Categorized Forums

Based on popular demand, we have just added “categories” to the COPA forums. They work like this:

  • When each author makes a post, he or she will assign one or more “categories” to that post.
  • When searching or viewing a list of all posts in the forum, users can select which categories of posts they’d like to see.
  • Uncategorized posts will appear no matter what categories are selected. BUT - from now on, we require that all posts be placed into at least one category. So within a week or so, the posts at the front of the public and members forums should all be categorized.
  • If desired, post authors can go back and add categories to previous posts by editing the post.
  • When you get down to viewing just one thread, all posts in that thread are still shown (in order to provide context, even if the categories are a little different).
  • You can configure what “default” categories are selected for your view, by going to the Control Panel and clicking on “Edit” where it says “Display Preferences…”

We already know, in advance, that the #1 comment will be “Why don’t you add a category for XYZ?” or “I don’t think you need a category for ABC.” I would request that, unless such category changes are VERY important, that we hold off, for now, on such suggestions - there are an infinite number of ways to categorize the posts, and we chose to pick one set of categories that we feel will work MOST of the time.

In the meantime, let’s get used to the category system, and see how it works.

If you have any problems or encounter any bugs with using the new changes, please let me know!

Thanks to all who provided suggestions on how this system should work. We tried to select something that would not impose any additional changes on people who like the system the way it is now (i.e. people who like a few number of forums, and don’t want to have to check a multitude), while adding functionality for those who want to be more selective in what they read.

Remember, this will only work well if we’re all good about assigning appropriate category labels!


P.S. I’m deliberately using ALL categories on this post for two reasons: (a) to make sure it always shows up, and (b) to illustrate the icons for all the categories. Please do not, as a normal practice, put a post in all categories like I did for this one! I expect it will take us, collectively, a little while to decide exactly what gets posted in each category…


Thanks for your tireless work on the forums. I’m sure this change will make the forums more useful for most members. This categorization idea seems to be a good compromise of all the competing change requests.