[META] Should we add sub-categories for this space?

It is technically possible to have subcategories on Discourse (although, it’d need confirmation from an admin/PSF staff to confirm that it’s actually viable for us).

This can be seen on Discourse’s own Discourse (obviously called meta.discourse.org).

Relevant documentation for admins

I think we’re a big-enough group that it is becoming a bit unwieldy IMO that we’re using one section on this forum for some very distinct purposes. To that end, I think it would be a good idea to have dedicated sub-categories for the different kinds of discussions we have here.

As I see it, there are (at least) 4 kinds of discussions that happen here:

  • Coordination discussions. This is mechanical stuff that involves co-ordinating multi-project effort, or stuff like the governance story about how we do those things.
  • Standards discussions, ala PEPs as well as some proposals/grand ideas for changes to how things are done.
  • Announcements about projects. This is releases for “major” projects (mainly pip releases and PyPI feature deployments), as well as one-off announcements for new projects/tools.
  • User feedback discussions, these come up often enough.

Does anyone else have opinions on whether subcategories here would be useful, and what those subcategories should be?

PS: I noticed this on Contributors - Conda Community Forum, which is what made me look.


Excellent idea if we can!


Related: Should there be a dedicated tag (or category) for packaging help questions?


Thanks for that link @jeanas – updated the suggested topic based on that discussion, where it looks like we’d end up placing a subcategory there instead for user support. :sweat_smile:

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It does seem it would be handy. Would it be possible to use tags? I see that Discourse has some tagging capabilities, but the question would be whether it’s possible to use them in such a way that their interaction with categories doesn’t become confusing to users (either for reading or posting).

I tend to think tags are a more flexible mechanism for this kind of “slicing and dicing” as they can be mixed and matched rather than being confined to a preset hierarchy. I see on the thread that @jeanas linked there were some doubts about tags, maybe because they’re not so obviously reachable from the main page. And I guess there is the question of whether users are less likely to add the correct tags than to post in the right category.

Is it possible to use tags? Yes, it’s already possible.

Do they solve the problem at hand? No.

There’s a good article on the Discourse blog about the categories vs tags situation:

To borrow language from that post, I’m fairly certain that we want the “walls” that (sub) categories give us here, rather than what “nimble” tags would.


Interesting. The linked blog shows considerable sophistication about tag usage - more than I’ve read before (e.g. trust levels, categories, grouping, parent-child relationships) - but in actual practice I’ve seen the “lightweight” tags concept get pretty badly abused. I suppose it depends on how “friendly” a community is; I’ve certainly seen cases where people just slap near every popular tag on their post to make sure the most people see their particular hot (to them) topic. And adding another way admins have to police posts (are these the right tags?) to prevent this doesn’t seem like it’s a great idea… just another 2cents-worth…

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It’s definitely doable. See Core Development - Discussions on Python.org and PSF - Discussions on Python.org for subcategory examples.

The main piece that needs confirmation is whether we can present the sections like they’re presented on the Discourse meta site, which is as a giant blurb above the post listing.

I don’t believe we do that for any subcategories today and I’m not familiar enough with Discourse (nor their admins side of things) to know the answer. :sweat_smile:

Nope, we don’t.

Neither do I, unfortunately. I quick glance around the admin settings didn’t turn up anything obvious either.

Sounds like a good idea, though I’d propose these categories:

  • Packaging Help
  • Packaging Announcements
  • Packaging General

It may just be my personal preference, but I don’t browse categories, I mute them. So I’m not going to spend my morning clicking into “coordination” before “standards” or whatever - I’m simply going to ignore e.g. people asking for help or announcing their latest version (in practice, I’m unlikely to actually ignore anything in all of Packaging, at least until it reaches 100+ posts without making any progress… if we can categorise those before they happen that’d be great :upside_down_face: ).


This is something that belongs in the more general help category IMO.

That’ll still exist, as the packaging category. I don’t think it makes sense as a subcategory to have a “general”. These are additional (optional) subcategories which I’m hoping that we as a group would end up using (based on the existing discussion pattern that I’ve seen).

Yup, and enabling that more clearly is the goal here.

Maybe, but it doesn’t go there, and you’ll never get people to choose “Help” over “Packaging” for it. But at least if there’s a specific Help category within packaging, the questions will mostly go there.

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Can we make it a locked down category with just one pinned post that says: “go post in Python Help with the packaging-help tag”?

That would work. It also can be a pinned post – there’s lots of tools at hand for us here, and I don’t want us to micromanage the whole thing in this topic. I think we should solve the problem if we still see it after introducing the categories; rather than doing it eagerly.

Taking a step back, I’m genuinely not concerned about help questions – it’s not a problem today – they get moved by moderators basically quickly enough to the help section already and they have an audience there that wants to provide help for those questions.

If it’s a pain for the moderators to do that, sure – let’s change things. But, I’ve had no indicators that it is and, right now, it’s not a problem that needs solving IMO.

Found the docs for this! We want “boxes” I think, but it seems like we have options.

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Regardless of where this discussion goes, if the other admins are good with it I’m happy to flip on boxes.


It looks like there is mostly consensus on adding subcategories as proposed by @pradyunsg. Could some admin make the change?

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I haven’t seen any admins speak up about the UI change which is necessary to make this useful.

I thought you were an admin… ?