‘General’ Discussion Categories

If you have a ‘general’ discussion category (remember topics are better), you can expect 50% or more of members to use it when asking a question (I’ve seen up to 90% fall into this category).

This is easy for them, but bad for you and SEO.

Instead of trying to think where a question belongs, members simply post everything in the ‘general’ category and shift the burden on you.

If you’re just getting started, having a single ‘general’ category isn’t always a bad idea. But once you’re past your first few hundred discussions, you need to think seriously about structure.

Your list of categories should usually:

  1. Cover all types of questions.
  2. Not overlap with one another.
  3. Not be overwhelmed with activity, nor struggle to sustain activity.
  4. Match existing categories for your knowledge base/documentation.
  5. Be no more than a dozen.

Once you come up with a list of categories, test them. Look at the questions you currently get (or grab a list from your support team) and see if you can easily place every question in a category.

If you need to think about it for five seconds, tweak the category system.

If you still need a catch-all category after this, add a ‘miscellaneous’ category at the bottom of discussions, not a ‘general’ category at the top.

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