Navigating to the local groups in Talk

Is there a way to make it easier for me to find my way to the London group? Or make this view more accessible? Currently it takes me three clicks from the home interface. Perhaps I just need to bookmark it?


The quickest way to access the London group’s messages (for members) is to go to your personal inbox by clicking on your profile pic (top right) and then the envelope icon as described here:

I’m still not sure how we can make it easier without some significant coding (e.g. adding groups you’re a member of below categories in the home view - assuming that’s possible of course).

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I think it’s not a coincidence that both Janet and I asked the same question this week! :slight_smile: - I find this the weakest aspect of Talk, but can’t think of a solution

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yeah this is annoying…

how about whittling away at the clicks?
e.g. the last one from choosing your group, lands you in the members, not the messages…
or how about a more personalised dashboard view?

I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s confused. By various things.

Why is it that I was quite unable to find this thread by navigating in through, but only by clicking on the item in my email summary? That seems to happen regularly.

And how are you supposed to return to the category (or group of threads such as Unread) from which you came? Or back to the dashboard?

And for that matter, it’s not very clear to me how Latest or Unread interact with Categories or Tags. Still less where Local Groups and Event Planning Kit fit into the scheme of things. And I’ve only just discovered that Unread is only posts you’re following.

This is all really useful feedback!

I think one of the more confusing aspects of local groups is that they use the private message system instead of the standard category one. That means things like notifications and navigating to conversations works differently, which isn’t necessarily intuitive.

Having taken a deep dive into the various settings, there’s very little we can actually change about the UX of groups, at least without doing some serious code intervention. I’m reluctant to mess with the basic code here, especially because the groups function is a relatively new part of Discourse and is the subject of fairly frequent updates. Maintaining any manual changes could be a pain.

Instead, I wonder whether it would make more sense to stop using the private messaging feature for groups and instead create a private category for each group. A private category is one that functions the same way as a normal category (e.g.: #right-to-repair) but can only be seen by members of a specific group. E.g. for London group members it would look something like this:


  • Consistency: in practical terms, this means that it would be possible to navigate to London-specific conversations in the same way as every other category. Creating discussions, replying and notifications would work in the same way etc. This would probably make life easier and less confusing for most people.


  • Group members would no longer receive a personal notification for every new discussion (unless they manually adjust their settings)
  • Yet Another Category: there’s a risk of making the list of categories too long, which might become overwhelming and confusing (especially for newer members)

What does everyone think?

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As long as this does not create too much extra work for us, or interface confusion for others (which it does not appear to, on either count) I’m happy to move to this.

Can everyone else live without default “personal notification” (and perhaps we can encourage people to change their settings?)

All sounds fine to me :+1:

One thing occurs to me, is that we never specifically tested new topic creation via email for categories, only for groups ( I don’t think it should be any different for a category, once its incoming email address is configured, but we should give it a quick test.

I agree that it wouldn’t create much extra work for us. As for interface confusion, I don’t think it solves the issue entirely (knowing to join a local group to see those conversations is still a problem I think), but I think it should be better overall. Would be useful to hear what others think.

Good point Neil!
Can we set up a quick incoming email for the London category to test that tomorrow?

Sorry James - only just saw this. But you should be able to set up the incoming email address for the category via the category settings here:

The email just needs to be set to discourse+something, e.g. for the group it’s currently . While we’re testing it for the category we should use something different, e.g. discourse+londontest, and then switch over to discourse+london.

Looks like it works!

Final point then, to avoid creating extra confusion by having lots of similar-sounding categories, I think it makes sense to rename the ‘Repair in Your Community’ category to ‘How to repair in your community’ (thanks for the suggestion @frances!) . This would hopefully make it clear it’s a space for info, discussion and resources around best practice for community repair events and avoid overlap with the London category.

Does that makes sense to people?

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Given no-one has raised any objections, I’ll go ahead and make this change today :+1:

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