Global Forum Default View Management / Transparency

I’ve noticed the initial default settings changing over the last week.

At one point, when I (user) came into the forum I would have a ‘Categories’ based default view. (I think I was offered two view options: Categories and Latest - Default #1).

Later my Default View was set to Latest, with I think , three other views offered (Categories, New, & Top - Default #2).

I asked @Hakanto if he had changed the setting. He had not. I asked him to return it to Default #1. I believe he did.

Now I am experiencing a new Default (Default #3). This time it defaults to Latest, Categories and Top as options.

My questions are:

  • Who is making these adjustments?

  • What are the considerations that (this someone) is using to set the default view to Latest instead of Categories?

Polling potential Admins: @Nick_M @auggod @angus

Hey @richjensen,

@angus and I made these changes while working together on Forum design and development. There had been a drop in engagement since switching to Category view as the default, so we switched back to Latest view to see if it would encourage more engagement.

I had intended to write up a explanation of the changes, but had been very busy and hadn’t written it up by the time you posted this.

Our intent here is to be responsive to how we are seeing the Forum being used, to experiment with different things and see if that can encourage conversation.


Thanks for the explanation.

I wonder if the lack of engagement was a specific response to the many platform/dev topics clogging the ‘new’ channel (the right hand side) of the Categories View?

Perhaps that was an abnormal circumstance? Or perhaps Platform topics could be naturally excluded from ‘competing’ against non-technical subjects in Category view?

Or perhaps you are contemplating a longer term solution?

[Fan of the Category view as default - reason: provides simple overview for user navigation]

Yeah, agreed that it could have been a response to all the new Platform topics during the development transition.

@angus is going to try setting up the Sidebar that Pavilion uses, to see if this could be a view that accommodates both views simultaneously in a practical way.

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I was going to start another topic about a new issue but ‘new topic’ seems to be locked/inaccessible.

Is this user-specific or did the category get switched? (Maybe there is a limit to the number of new topics per user per hour?

The topic was/is Platform Category sort order in Category view.

I want to suggest that the since the Platform Category has expanded into a cluster to indicate its sub-components, perhaps it should be set lower in the Category sort order.

As a relatively specialized 'Worker Services space, I suggest it be placed at the bottom of the ‘open’ stack, ie beneath Places.

Wait, you can’t start a new Topic? Perhaps it is because we have set new Topics to require categorization and you aren’t selecting a category for it.

Do you mean that when you click “new topic” nothing happens, or that your aren’t able to publish your topic after writing it?

Weird. NOW the new topic button appears. My experience was that I could not find it at the top of the screen. There was a different button there…

Ah… now I just recreated…

If one starts at Platform and selects Forum one gets to a screen without a new topic button. Here is a screen shot.

@richjensen that’s caus you have a New Topic already in draft in that particular forum category. Click “Open Draft” to review and either publish or cancel your current draft.

You can’t write multiple drafts within a category at the same time, thus this presentation.

I’ve got ideas/questions about all this as well, I’m fine with the current setup of “latest” and I think it can help drive engagement a little more, we could fall back on categories default view once the forum is more or less all setup and running on its own.

I’ll make a lenghtier post about it later.

But it’s not surprising engagement dropped with 1/ all the new topics created with not super engaginh highly specific issues 2/ disappearance of the old ones that were generating conversations and started by the community 3/ the fact that category view makes it harder to see the latest topics on mobile because for example, if there are 9 new topics created in “business”, you’ll only see 3 of them and they’ll require scrolling but you’ll instead see a “view” that makes it look like nothing’s been added (ie. Helpdesk / Platform etc. Won’t have any new topics)

Anyhow as I said I’ll come back here later to discuss this but I welcome the rollback to latest for the time being until we find a better permanent solution.


Yeah, I use the forum on mobile quite often. Default category view is a pretty bad experience on mobile for a variety of reasons.

Yep! Thank you. Multiple tabs!

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I’ll take a look at this through my device. The expansion of the Platform category to several high-level subcategories also impacted the design.

Agreed, it feels back to square one a little now because only the subcategories are displayed under every topic and the color coding hardly helps, is there a way to only display higher hierarchical categories?

As an experiment for the next two weeks, I’ve reset the Forum to default to ‘Category’ view. I’ve recently invited some folks to the Forum and believe this is the easiest way for them to quickly grasp an overview of the content here, tools for navigation and the tips and pointers that new users may need.

In this default setting, ‘Latest’ topics are listed in the column on the right in a fashion nearly identical to the ‘Latest View’ default setting.

After two weeks I’d like to poll the community. If there is a strong sentiment to return to the ‘Latest-only’ default view it is a simple matter to make the switch back.


We’re experimenting with new user experience flows here as part of the ongoing work on implementing the new project-based work system in #platform, but also more as part of the current Website / Player epic, in particular the work around thinking about how we might open up parts of the community to public access

There’s a few things to note about this.

  1. The goal here is to have a few different flows which a user can easily traverse when they come to the community. This gives folks a sense of confidence about what’s going on and makes them feel less overwhelmed. This is true both for members, and also for prospective public readers (when some categories are made public). The three CTAs you see on the landing page lead to further CTAs in their relevant categories.

  2. The current list of three primary call to actions: Music, Platform and Handbook can easily be switched up. Interested in thoughts on what community flows make sense, and or/folks want to highlight. The key is to keep it simple, and probably max 3 different “flows” highlighted on the homepage. These are mostly targeted at new or occasional users.

  3. Note that some categories have specific purposes that can be highlighted in different ways, e.g. the Help desk, which lends itself to a more traditional “help button” cta. We could also make this a button floating in the bottom right for example.

  4. The use of the “latest” topic list view as the homepage can help with a feeling that the community is “alive” and also lead to some more seredipitous discovery of community content.

Working with many different communities on forum design, I’ll often have conversations with folks that go along these lines

  • The leaders, or “pro users”, of the organisation like the categories page as it reflects their “birds-eye” view of the organisation. They understand the hierarchy and full picture of the org and want to see that reflected in the community.

  • New community members or occasional users can feel overwhelmed or intimidated by a big categories page as they don’t really know where to start or what to do. Conversely they can also feel a bit lost with just the latest page too.

All that said, this is definitely still a work in progress and something that will develop throughout this current epic. So keen to hear others’ thoughts.


something that might be nice intro would be to have a monthly survey or poll thread that is presented to all authenticated users.

(A new thread each time)


Yes, interesting. A few thoughts on that.

Firstly, an additional UX element for the top area of the homepge could be a horizonal CTA banner with changing content that needs to be highlighted on an occasional basis, such as a poll. It could also be a piece of news, or the a notice about an upcoming meeting to kick off of a #platform epic.

On the poll idea, there might be a way to run some governance aspects of the cooperative through a monthly poll of members of the cooperative, who would either be all authenticated users, or a subset (i.e. using a user group). This would be highlighted in that horizonal banner area if it were running.

The key here is focusing folks attention on just a couple of important things at a time. If we were to add such a “current” bananer, it would have to be one thing at a time.

One small thing because it’s really a number one issue for me (ie. it took me forever to just motivate myself to write this post because of it) but could we have “dark theme” back quickly?

For accessibility issues Dark Themes are an absolute must and right now although I enjoy the new look of the forum it’s borderline unusable for me with the light mode as default it’s extremely tiring on the eyes. I typed “dark mode” / “dark theme” in the search engine to see if I’d missed anything but I haven’t seen any result. It was initially there by default and I had it checked and the first thing I did when I saw the overhaul was to go and try to check it back on in “parameters / interface” but there’s now way to do that anymore.

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