Playing around with Showcasing Topics -- Opinions?

From the discourse admin guide:

Pinned Topics and Banners

Note that pinning topics does work a little differently in Discourse:

  • Once someone reads to the bottom of a pinned topic, it is automatically unpinned for them specifically. They can change this via the personal pin controls at the bottom of the topic.
  • When staff pins a topic, they can pin it globally to all topic lists, or just within its category.

If a pin isn’t visible enough, you can also turn one single topic into a banner. The banner topic floats on top of all topics and all primary pages. Users can permanently dismiss this floating banner by clicking the × in the upper right corner.

To make (or remove) a pin or a banner, use the admin wrench at the top right or bottom of the topic.

Discourse gives preference to the end user to show what they want to see rather than shove things in their face. I like the ‘user first’ mentality they have.

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Honestly, I think the simpler option of having a Best Of thread might be a better idea:

  • it encourages participation from other people and gives all members a chance to highlight quality posts, not just mods
  • it allows them to be presented more flexibly - for example, this weekend Chris’s and Alain’s posts both followed a theme, both were great, and it would make sense to highlight them side-by-side.
  • it lowers administrative workload.

But where would we put a best of thread?

There is not an option for a third highlight category so one of Sponsors or Announcements categories would have to be removed.

Even if it were a technical option adding a third category would mess up the layout completely.

So the best of would just be stuck down with the other categories.

Or do you mean an topic and not a category? That could work. We create the best of topic/thread and pin it and admins and moderator’s could link best of topics in the best of so they are archived and can be found easily.

We could probably setup something where users ‘vote’ on topics and if they get enough votes the Staff adds it to best of. Now the easiest way to do this would be a x number of likes threshold but voting for topics could drive more traffic and be interactive.

I kinda like the ‘Best Of’ for archival reasons but not sure about this though.

P.S. unless someone comes up with a really really good reason we are not adding more categories. There are too many already and we maybe should lose some.


@jeremyhaak the other option is to create a ‘Best Of’ tags

At the current moment we are not using Tags at all. Just using:


Not sure about starting to use Tags though. That could just add more confusion.

I am ok with testing a ‘Best Of’ Topic

Edit: Looked into Tags more and this could actually work. We just set the permissions so only super high level people can use the Tags ( Staff and Moderators). We only allow a few number of specified tags, and then the /tags page becomes the archival page of good posts at the WCC Forum. It would be an admin only thing and most people would never even see or know about the Tags. Hmm…

Good to know. Something new.

The key is this:

I think a lot depends on how you think of Pinned.

  • If you think of it like last century’s forums, you might think Pinned would be a kind of “sticky post” and always listed first.
  • If you think of it like Discourse, Pinned is more like should be read at least once.

I was thinking of a topic (sorry, I’m still getting used to Discourse terminology), likely in Lead with no sub-category.

I think it should be open to anyone to post and I’m not too eager about voting or anything, personally; too much opportunity for hurt feelings… Discussion within the thread should be discouraged as the whole point would be to direct people to posts they might otherwise miss. Honestly, as I typed out my initial post, I kind of talked myself out of something more integrated like what we are doing with sponsors, since I think a thread is probably a bit more organic and natural and encourages participation.

On the voting front, it might be fun to take nominations in November for post-of-the-year or something like that for the fall AGM.

Also, I don’t think pinning is necessary. I think I recall seeing an option to bump a topic, which might be desirable periodically so that it doesn’t get buried and hard to find, but when people post, it will rise to the top and be seen, which is really when we want it to be seen.

Bumping could work. I just read about that. New feature to me. It is a bit complex cuz bumping is a per category setting. But will look into it.

I would suggest a topic in the Members Only category so members could link items they thing are “best”.

I don’t want to open this up to everyone as that could be abused.

Yeah, Members-Only makes a lot of sense.

Maybe the ‘best of’ topics can be created by WCC in prepping for our socials (when they happen again.)

Sort of like a “Year in Review” topic that can then be run through during a presentation, but then lives on in the forum as a topic.

Just a thought.

If we want a “best of” why not just create a new post/thread and add links to the posts you think belong there. Then it’s easy to search, no admin, no pins, no new categories.


When I click on the sandwich menu on my phone, it has various list links (e.g. Unread, latest, etc.) And one of them is “Top”.

I don’t think it’s determined via number of responses as the list shows the number of responses in each thread and that doesn’t appear to be the sort …so I’m wondering if it’s the number of hearts in that thread?

Maybe “good threads” are already determined by the number of hearts?

Edit…nope. I counted more hearts in the 3 thread on the Top list than in the first two…

There’s a formula for Top that is a combination of Likes, Views, Age, and Engagement (responses).

I like the idea educating members to engage with likes, views, and responses, then using Top as the main way to find these.

We are planning some form of referencing content from the website. It might be nice to curate some of the top public content into something that looks like a blog index that would point back to the forum.

We want to have people engage with the original post. I would be concerned that having posts about posts within the forum may fragment the engagement and mess up the formula.


This works and has the huge advantage of being built in and therefore easy to use. We would need to tell people we are doing this though.

The original idea of linking to the website was to have an RSS feed of what the current topics being discussed on the forum are to give people ( perspective new members ) and idea of what is currently going on. The idea of a using Top as a best of, also makes sense.

Two points though, do we want to have both a latest topics and best topics or just one of these? Second, implementing the Top topics right now might not be the greatest as we don’t have too much uptake yet and there could be a lot of topics about designing the forum in the Top listing, which is not ideal.

I will look into if we can remove things from the Top list ( I know you can by security settings, but we want the Site Feedback/Help Me stuff to be open to the public ).

What about enabling tags for Staff, we can tag the posts that we want to highlight and that becomes a filter, or a dedicated tag page we can add to the top menu.

For example, we could add a ‘best of’ link at the top menu (where all cats, latest, upcoming events, and FAQs links are)
That link goes to the built in topic list page, pre-filtered for the ‘greatest hits’ tag that only Staff can tag posts with. That filter can still be used via RSS or whatever to embed into the main site if we so wish.

Just throwing out a thought here.

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That sounds good. Restrictions on who can add tags should keep them in good shape.

There isn’t currently a clean embed story for RSS embed right now in the new Google Sites. We may end up just linking to the forum until they add Apps Script to Sites so we can fill in the gaps ourselves.

Using Tags seems like a good idea. I think we will need to set it to a Group who can use the tags, but with instructions. The “Staff” is pretty small and more people then just “Staff” will probably be required for this.

We can look into this some more and do some testing, but it sounds good to me.

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I’ve turned on tags. Staff are the only users who can create new tags.
I created a tag group called Topic Recognition, and for now a single tag called ‘Spotlight’.

To tag an existing topic, you’ll need to edit the original author’s post and add the tag. I’ve added permissions to the tag so that only Forum Committee, Board Members and Staff can add the tag to a topic.

For demo purposes, I’ve added the spotlight tag to Alain’s and Chris’ bike packing posts.
This would be the topic listing page for spotlight tagged topics:

We can add a menu item linking directly to this page if we like.
Under the ‘Latest Topics’ page, you can now also filter by tag at the top left breadcrumb area.

So the big thing I don’t like about this is that everyone can now see the Tags.

I just did a test and I think people seeing the option but not being able to use it will cause confusion