Migration update: forum categories and subcategories

Hi again :)

As part of our migration we are working out some improvements on the organization of our forum. You may remember that on the new site we will be using a platform called Discourse to host our forum section, and Discourse allows for much more granular and specific organization than our current platform. The goal for us is to create categories that make it as easy to post in the forum as possible, AND as easy as possible to find other people's posts, based on your interests.

What you see below is not 100% final, but it is pretty close. The titles you see in bold are the main categories, and below each is a short list of subcategories. The way Discourse works is that members can choose a subcategory to post in, if there is an appropriate one, or just post to the main category. For example, if I write a post about type 2 diabetes but it does not have to do with being new to T2 or being a teen with T2 I would post it in the main Type 2 category and no subcategory. Make sense? In other words, the subcategories are intended to help organize the posts within each category, but are not an exhaustive list of topics that can be posted there.

Also see below a sample image of how the category list will be displayed on the new site. This screenshot was taken from another site that's built on Discourse, called Talk Folksy.

Type 1 and LADA
Resources (curated page of educational resources about type 1 and LADA)

  • new to Type 1 diabetes
  • Parents of Children with Type 1 Diabetes
  • for teens and young adults

Type 2

Resources (curated page of educational resources about type 2)

  • new to Type 2 diabetes
  • for teens and young adults

Diabetes and Pregnancy

  • gestational diabetes
  • trying to get pregnant
  • managing pregnancy with diabetes


  • Share Your Stories (this is where member blogs will go!)
  • Fun and Games
  • Arts and Crafts


  • New to insulin
  • Oral Medications and non-insulin injectables
  • Insulin


  • Recipes
  • Nutrition

Diabetes Technology

  • Insulin Pumps
  • Glucose Monitoring
  • Diabetes Apps

Healthy Living

  • Physical Activity
  • Weight

Mental and Emotional Wellness

Diabetes Complications and other Conditions

  • Eyes
  • Kidneys
  • Feet
  • Digestion
  • Other Conditions

Diabetes Advocacy
Resources (curated page of educational resources about diabetes-related advocacy opportunities)

  • self advocacy
  • public advocacy

You can also check out sketches of our future home page, blogs page, video archive, and events page. Remember that all of these pages are works in progress, and some things might change as we go along. You can also read some background information about the migration project, the features which will change in this process, and features we will gain.

Hi Emily -

You might remember that Tu tried to sort posts into basic categories on the current platform and many of us expressed our strong preference for a Forum that pulls everyone together rather than divides us into different buckets. I still have that strong preference.

Hope you're well,


Hi Emily. I note on the categories that under Community is Arts and Crafts. Could we have something like Arts, Crafts and Poetry?

And this is important: I'm hoping that the new TuD will be easy for the visually-impaired to use. I'm told by a visually-impaired person that bold type works really well, especially when using a smart phone. Thanks.

Hi Maurie,

I don't remember that, but I bet a lot of our admins would (many of them have been on TuD longer than I have :) Really the intent of the subcategories is not to separate people (although I understand the concern that that could be an unintended result), but to make it easier for people to find the topics they want to read about. A nice aspect of the Discourse platform, though, is that one can choose to see all the posts in a category, regardless of subcategory. Below is a shot of what that looks like (screenshot from meta.discourse.org)

It's hard to tell what this is, out of context, but in this shot "feature" is the category and "all" everything posted in that category. "None" contains posts that are within the category but not any subcategory, and "spec" and "RFC" are subcategories.

When you click on a category you automatically get the "all" option (you see everything, regardless of subcategory) and you have to actively choose a subcategory if you want to see only those posts within it.

Does this allay any of your concern about separating people?

Hi Trudy,

We didn't forget about our TuDiabetes poets!! We are thinking that poetry would go in the "share your stories" subcategory within the "Community" category! Each category will have a description of what belongs within it, so we can specify right up front that that is where folks are invited to post poetry. As an example, here's what that looks like for the "Showcase" category on TalkFolksy:

About making sure the site is readable for folks with visual impairment: we're looking into this. It's been raised by several other members, as well, and we recognize that it's really important. I do not yet know what features Discourse and WordPress (the platform that will host our home page, blogs, videos...) have for this, but it is on my list to find out and let you all know. Thanks for bringing it up!

I appreciate the thought that we should organize things to bring us together. This has been an active topic of discussion with DHF as the new design emerges. I believe that the default view for everyone will show all the active discussions. The separate categories will enable our members to focus on certain labels of categories, but the initial view will still be of a community that is together.

If the initial default is to see all posts with each of us then having the option to filter, I don't have any concerns.


As hard as deciding what are good initial choices for categories & subcategories, a much harder and, in my opinion, more important question is figuring out how you will decide whether or not to add new categories or subcategories as time progresses.

On approach could be to first set a lower limit on the number of users who need to be in favor of creating the new slot. If this is reached then the suggested slot is created but only as a "beta". That is, folks are given a fixed amount of calendar time to demonstrate that the new slot will be actively used. If it is, it can made permanent. But if it's used initially but folks drift away and it goes essentially idle it gets retired/archived/locked.

However it ends up getting done, it's potentially hard work to come up with a good way to make the decision. So it might be worth giving some thought to how to do it now rather than trying to figure it out on the fly after you migrate.


Thanks, Emily. I'm really pleased that thought is being given to making the site useful for our members and readers who are visually impaired. Also, the way that TuD has handled blogs and poetry over the years has been special and unique, and I'm happy that this treatment will continue.

For me, contrast is at least as impotant as the typeface and size. The current site uses light blue and gray a lot. On the white background these are difficult to impossible for me to read. Even the finer lines and smaller type would be more avaiable to me if they had better contrast. As I understand it, this issue is typical of retinopathy and a result of some of the treatments. For these reasons thus site has been difficult and frustrating for me from day one. It just has so much value to me that I deal with it and scream at the screen.

Randy, I'm so sorry that this has been a constant frustration to you. It occurs to me that you're actually talking as much about our color choices as any special "feature" for the seeing-impaired. This is a different issue, and I'm going to bring it back to our team in the office for further discussion.

Thank you, as always, for your feedback :)

Hi iJohn,

I think it's likely that we will at some point want to add/remove/change some of the categories and subcategories above. The plan is basically that if any section just doesn't get used we'll remove it, and if we're seeing lots of discussion on a particular topic that does not have a clear "home" in the forum we'll create a place for it. I expect for it to be a somewhat slow process (although the actual changing of categories and subcategories is easy to do).

On our current site I've changed, removed, added forum categories only a few times, but doing so does not seem to be problematic or confusing from the user side :)

Hi Emily. Just curious: will our photos be moved to the new platform? I've always enjoyed having our photos on our profile pages.

Hi Trudy,

I'm afraid they will not, and neither will videos. Everyone will be able to upload new photos and videos once we move, within the forum (there will not be a photo archive on the new site), but there will not be a spot just for photos or videos on our profile pages. If you have photos you have uploaded and would like to save, please save them on your computer!

I'll be sending out some notes before the launch about things everyone should do (or at least know about) before the move, and it will definitely include a suggestion to save your photos :)

Thanks Emily. I seem to recall that on discourse, if one is on a discussion and randomly thinks of another topic, you can introduce it on the side (or something), and it will automatically set it up. will that be available?

If you have photos you have uploaded and would like to save, please save them on your computer!

Is it possible to maintain a frozen archive of the Ning content of TuDiabetes.org for, say, a week to a month after the migration? If the site is available but "read only" ... i.e. no one can make any changes to it ... then I don't see how it would conflict.

I'm just thinking that no matter how much warning you try to provide, some people are going to want to go back and retrieve something that wasn't migrated for them. Providing a means to accommodate that for at least a short time might be helpful.


I would just echo Still Young---One of the hallmarks of TuD is the trading of support and information across the fluid boundaries of Type. On first glance there was little encouragement to do so in the new format.

What is it about the current format of TuDiabetes which you feel encourages "trading of support and information across the fluid boundaries of Type". Could you provide examples?

What is it about the new format which would lead you to think it could not promote this to the same extent as the current Ning platform?


John--I did say at First Glance---something about the rigid columns for T1 and T2 was a little off-putting. Examples here---they are multitudinous. I named several in my last blog about my years here. I have been helped and supported by many T1s and I don't want to lose that feeling of openness.....Be well...Judith

Unfortunately it isn’t, because Ning does not support a “read only” mode. We may be able to keep an archive of the content for some period of time, that would allow us to help a member retrieve something they forgot to save for themselves that did not port into the new site, but that is not yet certain.

I've added this question and answer to our migration FAQ document :)