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Subcategories... Well, sorta...

Mike.XIIIMike.XIII New
edited August 2009 in Feedback
Almost every bulletin board software I know of has "subforums" in one way or another, the exception is Vanilla ;)
Yes, I know Vanilla1 has an addon available, but let me continue a little more.

The purpose of a subforum is to further narrow down your list, to make it easier to categorize and in theory, easier to find things as well.
Now that has one important drawback, it usually forces the user to click more, and waste more time getting to what they want.

That right there is the main reason Vanilla intrigued me so much when I first discovered it; On the first page of the forum everything I want is right there in front of me, all the recent discussions without needing to click anything.
Other forums have their "portals" or their "active topics" and so on, but a lot of the time users don't even know those extra pages exist.

So why am I requesting subcategories for Vanilla when I just described them as "bad" from my view? Well because I think other forums are just going about the implementation the wrong way, and I also think Vanilla can do better ;p

Vanilla reminds me a lot like deviantART, because as I said, everything recent is right there on the first page.
Now if you go to http://www.deviantart.com/ and click on any of the categories you'll see how it works wonderfully.

The "All Categories" root shows everything, and with each (sub)Category it narrows down your search. This is very important, because it doesn't just divide the content like folders on your operating system for example, it shows all the content inside that category and recursively shows the content of the subcategories below.
I propose Vanilla2 do the same with discussions.


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    You could make an addon that does this relatively simply, especially if you only wanted to go one subforum deep. You could either modify the categories table to add a ParentID field or copy the table and rename to subforums and store the CategoryID. Then make a change or two to the queries selecting the category lists (in the model). It is now done, apart from the admin side of things.
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    I'm fairly inexperienced with PHP and SQL so I'm uncertain how easy or difficult this is, but I definitely intend to learn more and maybe even create this plugin myself if no one else does.
    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction though ;)
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    Well if you need any help let me know, and @Mark is around to help as well.
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    MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    You know, I had never clicked the categories on deviantart before? You're right - that is awesome.

    This whole subcategory issue has been a problem for a while. I love how Vanilla throws everything up front - but you're right that there does come a time, especially on larger forums with thousands of discussions, when subcategories can be very helpful.
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    Thank you mike for pointing this out, i am about to download vanilla but the problem is with subcategories, i think with the project im facing sucategories is a must, i am still trying to work out how to implent it.
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    It was love from first sight with Vanilla but the sub-category issue irritates me as in some cases I can't run a forum with it . I think developers should address this issue . it is never about whats right and wrong but about giving user more control and let them decide.
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    ditto @calid
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    Hi all, new here and just throwing in an idea -

    instead of categories, maybe we could make a plugin to implement 'labels' a la Google Mail? It would make the 'narrowing' easier I bet.

    BTW, the term you're looking for for 'narrowing down your search' is "Faceted Search."

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    I like the whole "gmail labels" idea very much indeed. Please do that instead of sub categories :D

    Hell you could still *call* them categories, just make them work like gmail labels :)
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