Mute Communities subcategories by default?

So with this second mention from @stephankn in the Thailand category, I did not get a notification. So it seems that mentioning someone does not set the topic back to normal for them if they have it muted.

It’s a little confusing because muting a category and muting a thread don’t seem to behave quite the same way. I have the Deutschland category muted, but the topics created in that category are still set to Normal by default:

When I visit the category I can see all the topics:

However, these topics don’t show up when I look at the all categories > Latest section.

In the Thailand category, I Muted each topic individually as well as the category itself. Now not only do these topics not show up in all categories > Latest, but they don’t even show up when I look at the Thailand category itself:

Thailand category when logged out for comparison:

So muting a topic seems to be the most aggressive action. A muted topic will be almost entirely hidden from you, though it is possible view the topic with a direct link. You get no notifications even from mentions or replies.

On the other hand, muting a category seems much less aggressive. I had originally thought that topics in a muted category would be created in a muted state as well, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Since the topics are created as Normal even in a Muted category, you get notifications when mentioned or replied to, unless you specifically mute the topic. The category level mute appears to just hide the topics within from all categories > Latest, New, and Unread and never sends notifications about new topics from that category.


Just for reference. There is no obvious link on the GUI to display again the muted topics on a category to unmute them.

As @ezekielf probably has noticed, the default action in a category is to show “latest” posts. Also indicated by a big red button. As muted things do not show up in “latest”, they are not visible there. Similar reason that the muted categories are not visible in the global “latest” section.

To view them again, I add this to the URL:


to view the muted topics, it would be:
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I did. Let us know the outcome. I will then later edit the playground topic again to clean up the tag.

Not quite logical, but under

  • Preferences
    • Notifications
      • Categories

you can view muted topics:

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Thanks, it seems like it didn’t work, as I didn’t receive a notification.

I wonder whether I tagged it in the wrong way.
Is using the hash + keyword the right way to set a tag inside a post? Is it supported at all? Maybe it is not possible and only a way to link out to some tags?

I do not see the post listed on this view:

But it is visible as a clickable link to the above one in the post:

So it clearly does not behave the way I was expecting it to do. I assume it will only list full posts having a tag (adding a tag when creating a topic) and not having it on a post.

I can edit the topic itself to have a tag part of it. Probably it will then show up.

update: having a tag directly at the topic, it shows up on the overview. maybe now also visible for @mmd ?

It seems this didn’t work.

Right, now that you’ve added the tag at the topic level, I have received a notification.

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Is this any different to the old forum? The active topics there showed all country communities as well and as far as I know, you couldn’t mute them unlike here.

Yes, you’re right, the list is very similar. I doubt that many users really use it in the old forum, as it would include post from all different subforums, and generally doesn’t add a whole lot of value. I don’t recall, that I ever used this feature.

I think, a typical user would go straight to a “Users: …” subforum, and see what’s going on there.

Here on commuity, you have a list with categories, new entries, unread stuff that includes posts from every category. Maybe people are not yet familiar with the different ways to navigate to subcategories, and get lost somewhere along the way.

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I think due to the different UI and they way this is pushing users to use the functionality, the “latest” functionality on discourse is significantly higher on focus than the similar functionality in the old forum.

I click here on the menu link and the “latest” item is already selected. This brings it much more intop user focus.


The forum had it hidden between dozens of other links on the screen. So it was not such a prominent link to click on:


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Note that this is a list of muted categories, not topics. It’s a bit confusing.

So sounds like this is confirmation that if you are watching a tag you’ll get notifications from topics with that tag even if they are in a category you have muted. Correct?

Hello everyone, as per discussed in the last Forums governance team meeting - 2022-10-06

  • Wait for sidebar update, see if it helps users to track content in categories they are specifically interested in without resorting to muting a lot of categories

This request can be reopen for discussion if that is still insufficient.


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To offer a different perspective, I find that to be intuitive: categories as a whole can be noisy, so it makes sense to mute them, but you might want to still be able to discover content within them that is relevant to you, either by someone using a specific tag in a topic, by someone mentioning you directly, or even by tracking a topic manually or automatically (by responding in it). If I understand correctly from the responses above, this is already the case.

I suppose the use of the same term (“mute”) for actions that have different consequences can be confusing, but on the other hand it may help to look at this as the same type of action being applied to different types of content (categories vs. topics), each of which reacts to it in a way that’s consistent with their nature.


For the record, I don’t consider this to be a solution to the initial issue. An important feature of forums is the ability to discover content one hasn’t explicitly chosen to follow, and thus create serendipitous connections within the community and strengthen its bonds. That’s why I go to the Latest and New listings: even though I have followed several categories and tags explicitly, I know that there are likely topics that will be interesting to me in ways I haven’t predicted, so every now and then I take a look at the main page to scan the topic titles and open those that pique my interest. Of course, that is only possible for the languages I am capable of reading, so I’ve had to mute the Communities category to hide topics from local communities whose posts are in languages I don’t speak.

The new sidebar feature doesn’t seem to serve this need, unless I’m misreading what it does.

On the other hand, muting the Communities category (whose subcategories typically contain topics of local interest only, and often written in the local languages) by default would allow this discovery and exploration to take place, without harming the ability of people to become aware of content in the muted categories, by means of followed tags, mentions, navigation to those categories, tracking specific topics within them, or simply opting in to following them, thus overriding the default.

Am I missing any obvious downsides to this?

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Muting the parent #communities category should mute all the children ones:

Is this working consistently here?

Muting any category by default to everyone has the negative effect that people who is part of a local community is affected, vs the existing ability for individuals who want the /new and /latest sections to hide particular or all community topics.

Exactly. We tried and you get notifocations on a direct mention or via a tag you are watching. Do having local communities muted by default should work fine.

I don’t know what will happen if you now change muting globally. Probably you would have to reset all existing manual settings.
Can you try on a demo instance?

This feature does not appear to be working correctly. I have the #communities category muted, but I still get posts showing up that are in subcategories that I haven’t (yet) muted:


Yep, I’m seeing the same issue (I also have muted the #communities category).