Can we please get to write text before selecting a category


Until some weeks ago we could click Create Topic and start writing. Now we cannot write until after selecting a category. I get that we can’t post before selecting a category but why not write? It used to work!

I find this change quite annoying. Often when click Create Topic my brain has already started working on the text. I know exactly what phrasing I’m going to use and what different aspects I need to mention in my post. But then I can’t write it. First I have to browse for a category, and once done with that I have forgot half the things I was about to write. This is very annoying!

Can someone please revert this change on the forum?

Measure load-bearing capacity in SU

@sam, maybe you could look into this?


I agree. If there is to be an enforced category I’d rather have it happen when I submit the reply, not when I start to type.


Too often, someone will have a good idea for a product or service then "improve " it until it’s un usable.


Agree. “If it works, don’t fix it” is a great motto.


This may only happen at the top level from the Latest or Categories listings.

I am usually within a category when I choose to create new topic and the category defaults to the one I am in.


I often browse the forum from the start page. Sometimes I’m not even on the forum when I get an idea for a post. Quite often I start writing in notepad on my own computer to get the ideas out of my head before I forget them, and the navigate to the forum.


I just tested and found two behaviours:

  1. When I’m at the top level of the forum (Latest, Categories, Bookmarks, New, or Unread lists), I’m forced to enter a Category before being allowed to enter text
  2. Any other case (In a specific category, the “+ New Topic” button under a post or reply timestamp, or just a reply) the category is already filled in from context and I can go ahead and enter text.

I think we’re seeing two different cases of the same rule: You must have a category selected before entering the body of the post. In case #2 above, the category is already selected - the category you’re browsing, the category of thread you’re forking, or the category of the thread you’re replying to), so you can immediately enter text.

Frankly, #1 doesn’t bother me. I don’t often create new threads, and when I do I already have both title and category in mind before I hit the “New Topic” button, so I write the title, select the category, then work on the body. IOW - it doesn’t interrupt my work flow.

But I understand why people with other workflows when starting a new topic would be upset.


To clarify I also already have a the category in mind but often don’t remember the exact name of the category I was thinking of. Also categories sometimes move or change names.


Hi everyone!

Sam asked me to jump in here to address this. This was an intentional change made in April, but only rolled out to Sketchup a few weeks ago. Detailed discussion can be found over at Meta. In short the change was requested originally due to usage of topic templates. Topic templates are specific to a category, and only are used if there’s no content in the post body. If a site uses topic templates but users are allowed to type their post before selecting a (mandatory) category they never see the templates, negating their effect.

Does this make sense? If you’d like to discuss this in more detail I’m happy to reopen the discussion on Meta, just let me know.


Can we then disable topic templates completely on this forum? As I see it they are not worth this annoying and distracting behavior. Did we have them before but only if first navigating to the category or are they not even used here?

This is not how forms use to work. Some little extra field at the end can often be disabled until explicitly enabled, e.g. by a checkbox, but the main field is in every other UI I’ve seen enabled from the start. It is extra important to have fields for longer texts available as early as possible, as users must be able so start writing before they forget what to write.

If the category must be chosen before the text can be entered, then it shouldn’t be possible to navigate to the form without first being in a category. The New Topic button would have to be disabled in the top view, not the main form element be disabled in an already visible form. In the critical phase when the form is already displayed there must be no distraction.


NO this is not the answer.

The feature needs to be fixed so that it only applies when starting a new topic WITHIN a category. Ie, it should be disabled by default ONLY at the top level of the forum.


Just a point of information request:

This forum uses “topic templates” in the “Meta --> Help Center - Report a problem” Category where the new topic author sees some standard text designed to elicit information in a specific groupings:

Is this feature currently in use on any OTHER Category in our forum?


I don’t think it’s “enforced” as you can pick another category. “Suggested” is, I think, more accurate.


I think I buried the lede here. While topic templates are the primary use case, they have nothing to do with the “must select a category” feature. The Skethup community requires users to select a category for every topic. The only change made was to require selecting a category before writing the topic instead of anytime before submitting. Disabling topic templates would not resolve anything here.

Assuming you’re talking about forms on the web in general, I’d respectfully disagree with your assessment here. Many web forms require you to supply some information before you see certain fields. One example (fresh in my mind) was getting a quote for car insurance. I had to supply certain details (name, DOB, address) before I was allowed to select coverage options. Similarly on a website where I was submitting a support request the other day I was required to select a category (and separate subcategory) before being allowed to type my request up.

I’m unclear why there is a distinction here. If a user starts a topic within a category, that category should already be selected and the user can type immediately. If a topic is started from the homepage no category is selected automatically, so the user must select one.

I’ve reopened the topic on Meta temporarily if you want to share your thoughts there. This isn’t something that is specific to Sketchup, it would need to be changed in Discourse itself.


Whew! Glad of this.

Because the convo seemed to suggest the global reason was categorical templates, … and the suggested solution was to eliminate that feature, which I disagreed with.

Templates are helpful. I do not wish to see them disabled.

As I myself said above earlier in the topic, … and is the way I myself operate.

I never start a topic from the toplevel, because the forum guidelines ask us first to search the forum for existing topics on the same subject. And rather than be inundated with search results, I enter the target category before doing the pre-post search.

I understand. I can see that it is necessary. It does not bother me, but at least 1 person here hates it.

I guess the question is …

Can it be changed to allow an admin switch to choose to have a error dialog (overlay) tell thread starters to choose a category (if they haven’t) when pressing the "Create Topic+" button …
… instead of forcing the category control to be set before typing ?