Tips to organize your home page

Hahah wow what happened? This place is like reading random Chinese fortunes floating in a giant bowl of soup now. I see arguments both for and against the new software. Mine is against. This is just a confusing and time-wasting headache.

Doubt I’ll be around for anything with exception to comp threads on occasion but good luck with it.


If strange things were not given a chance, i would never have a girlfriend :smiley:

Don’t be so hard and give it a try :wink:

Community needs you.


You really do need to go in and change your notification settings.

Consider topics new when I haven’t viewed them yet

Automatically track topics I enter immediately

When I post in a topic, set that topic to Tracking

Notify when liked First time a post is liked and daily (if you need the self esteem boost.)

Finally, under Interface, set your default home page to New and set text size to Smaller

You’ll see the new topics immediately and you can click on the unread tab for replies on topics you’ve already entered.

I believe I see all the activity this way in a way that’s sensible. After a short period of adjustment , I found that the new software makes interacting on the forum more enjoyable and certainly search is much better. I like how if you try to start a new topic, it will search for similar topics, live, while you’re typing, preventing redundant posts.


Yeah, Jizzy, give it a chance! You’ll get used to it. :crazy_face:

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I decided to check back in because I made the original post before I had any coffee and noticed new messages in my email.

Sorry if I sounded to harsh in my initial reaction. I’ll try to use it maybe when I have more patience Also apologies if this is already covered but why was this done? Was there a vote or something? Was the old BB software bugged? In other words why change it unless it was broken or something?

Edit: Never mind on that question. Just caught up on this thread Big Changes Coming to the Forums!

Like bikibird has given me great instructions (thank you for that) for sorting out notifications but why should I even have to do that?


Well you don’t need to set your notification options to those, they just help it act more similar to how phpBB did.

Neither phpBB nor Discourse’s default notification settings are objectively better. Both can be useful. Both probably annoy some people. But if you’ve gotten used to one then changing might disorientate some people.

I think the phpBB active page is essentially functionally identical to the Discourse latest page. But most people didn’t use that page (as far as I know… Some people might have used it, but most people said they visited the unread page instead.) The Discourse unread page is different to the phpBB unread page, because it pays attention to your tracking settings, an option phpBB didn’t give you. The one thing it can’t do, even by changing your tracking settings, is include the new topics. But I reckon we can make a mod to do that.

I still don’t understand what about Discourse makes some people say that it looks unstructured. If you can help explain I’d appreciate that.

The categories page shows categories just like the categories view of phpBB did. The latest page shows all topics from all categories just like phpBB did. The current front page brings both together (which is something we haven’t decided if we’ll keep, we may change to something else) but each half is still just as organised as phpBB ever was.

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I invite you to my alternative IF forum:

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Compared to phpBB, proboards, vbulletin etc, it is unstructured. Categories, unread, etc are all obfuscated and lost in a messy UI.

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I think this is what makes the front page look so busy. The eye doesn’t know where to go and it’s a little bit more than the brain can comfortably process. From UI design perspective, I’ve been told that seven is the maximum number of menu choices humans can comfortably deal with. More than that and you should look into chunking things into sub-menus. I realize the left and right panes are intended as two chunks, but it doesn’t really scan that way to the eye due to the styling. The snowy whiteness of Discourse makes it like trying to pick out two polar bears in a snowstorm.

If you are looking to ease the transition, I would suggest just displaying the categories on the default home page and getting rid of latest.

I also suggest adding a "Getting Started with The Forum’ category. This would be a read-only category with the code of conduct and tips for getting the most out of Discourse.

Possibly you could pin some of the getting started topics on the right pane, but again I would be concerned about making the page look busy. If you do that, I would suggest somehow shading the background and trying to make them look like square post it notes rather than skinny rectangles so that they’re easily distinguished from the category list.

“Latest” is the only place where you can even remote hope to see unread posts. Removing that means our ability to get a list of new posts drops from ~50% to nearly 0%.

What do folks think of the Glowforge forum look? It’s pretty appealing to me and I wonder if it would be easy to install as an optional theme.

(I realized I’m staff and in theory could do this myself, but in practice I am afraid of breaking things if I try to mess around with site innards in any way.)

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Themes are easy to install if the theme creator makes it available. I searched all over for the glowforge one, but I would guess they customized it themselves.

If anyone wants to try their hand at creating a Discourse theme, there are tools and instructions at the meta-forum. If the theme is stored on a GitHub page, all we need to do to install it is paste in the URL.

Except there is a latest tab button, that is one click away, in the tab bar at the top. Also, if you like latest the best, you can set that to your home page. See my other post in this topic for the settings that work best for me.

@bikibird is correct. Don’t forget you can set the default front page view in your profile individually.

The page gets very simple, especially if you do this with the Minima theme.

That’s a lovely design. Amazing how a simple change in font color makes a big difference.

Never mind. I misunderstood what you were saying.

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Aw, shoot. Maybe I will write the Glowforge people and see if they can share their Discourse theme.


Indeed, I’d be quite sad to see the “latest” page go away. It seems like the most useful one of the views, and the closest to the way the old site acted.

I think before the two views were somewhat merged into one. From the category view I could see if there were new posts in that category. They were marked and floated to the top when you entered the category. That is what I miss the most. I had favorite categories that I would check often, and got emails when things changed. Now it is more disjointed… too many emails is one problem (maybe that will settle), the other is the latest screen has no focus. There are many topics I am interested in, but a handful that are the most important. An “infinite list” in latest posts makes it harder to see what used to be easy to see. Just my 2 cents.

Edit to add: Maybe if the latest list could be broken up by category it would be easier.

If you go to a category, you get a list of “topics with latest posts” for that category. I think that’s pretty much the same as the old forum. Or does the category list not show if each one has new topics? I thought it did, but I just read everything so now I can’t tell.

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