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Suggestion for Topic Areas to promote discussion over time

I recommend a high level Category called Discussion Topics (or similar), with sub-categories for Soil and Environment, COVID, etc. where we can share data sources, articles, etc.


@peterkaminski - the recent Climate series of emails is another example. Without a structured home, the discussion disappears in email. (@GlennMII thanks!)

What do you think about having Subject specific areas here in Discourse?

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@RobOK, I think it’s a great idea.

Ping me via synchronous chat (+1-650-918-6101 on sms, whatsapp, telegram) and we’ll figure out when to have a quick 20-minute chat about terminology?


I was talking to Romer and looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy, when it occurred to me that the idea of organizing by industry or similar has an alternative. Organize it using something like the Hierarchy or, more precisely, the 5 categories (although more might be needed). My idea being that if we focus on each in different groups, we can also determine where the greatest amount of effort, money and time needs to go. Does that make sense, or do I have my crazy hat on? :wink:

It’s a good idea, but I think by subject area is better, because we already have people who have interest, activity, and expertise in the verticals.

@saiiam and others have been talking about “Quests” (focused work groups/projects with a plan and outcomes), and Quests would be for particular things: regenerative agriculture, food insecurity, alternative finance, etc., etc., so I think the subject areas would map well to that.

For the top-level category (since I see we’ll have more than just discussion, we’ll also have action, and maybe meta-topics), so far I’m thinking maybe:

  • Subject Areas
  • Quests
  • Quests and Discussions

@Jerry, @Arena, you all might have ideas, too?


Sorry, Pete, I wasn’t being clear - I was thinking more about that hierarchy to inform OGM decisions rather than in the forum, although it seems that those categories could become their own sub-categories and categories. within each topic.

Where does research fit into that? How about actionable items and reports on activities? Would that all fall into the respective subject areas, since they seem to be sub-categories that would be needed in all categories? I assume that Q and Q&A fall UNDER each subject area, and are not separate?

Captain Obvious :wink: says be sure to create the categories and subs in each topic, and put a note in that any new topics should follow that pattern to avoid things becoming too difficult to sort through. I’m just the messenger, so please don’t shoot me! :roll_eyes:

Gotcha. :slight_smile:

As for sub-sub-categories, ¯\(ツ)/¯. Not today’s problem; subject area sub-categories make sense for now, and then, we can add more structure if needed, as needed, later.


BTW, there’s an overlap between Subject Areas / Quests and Discussions / whatever we’ll call that top-level category, and the existing Action! Doing Things Now subcategory. I think we’d leave ADTN, but encourage people to start new discussions under the appropriate subject area sub-category.


Progress and invitation to brain more with Rob and me:


Did you guys give some thoughts to questions, such as:

Will suggested topics be selected? If yes, by whom, what process and criteria.

In my consulting practice, I always recommend to the leadership team to think of the organization as a network of conversations. Some of that thinking may also be relevant in the OGM context. For example, choosing and pursuing certain conversation topics is also an excellent way of shaping our culture.

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Thanks, George.

The short answer is yes, we have started the process of discussing how suggested subject areas will be selected and nurtured, both within the moderation team and the “leadership team” (if you will) of OGM.

(Terminology note: Discourse’s data model is that the threads of posts we make are called Topics, so I will push to say “subject area” rather than the otherwise perfectly fine English word “topic,” when we’re not talking about Discourse Topics. I don’t like that Discourse overloaded the term “topic,” but they did, and so we live with the consequences.)


I hazily remember having suggested some things about this earlier (had a bout with the virus that took me out for a while…) The terms ‘topic and ‘discussion subjects’, ‘categories are too broad, and any containers/places fro their discussion will soon refilled up with links and data that do not easily lead to the ‘action now! Concerns suggested by some here. My urgent topic/discussion subject is the development of a better (potentially global) planning discourse support platform leading to decisions or recommendations based on the merit of the discourse contribution (as opposed to e.g. votes, because for global problems with fuzzy sets of affected parties voting just doesn’t work…)

The key is to frame the questions in form of proposals — for recommendation of plans, projects, policies: e.g.’ Should OGM spend discussion, time, research, focused effort, resource develop a prototype for such a platform? This would, in my opinion, focus the discussion and prevent them from just becoming. A vast compilation of stufff that mat or may not be useful but will not easily inform and trigger action. I have written some pieces about this, and suggested a pilot version that could be run on the FB platform with some modification, for small scale experiments. (; details if this makes sense to ‘the gang’). (Please Note: I have hearing problems that prevent my participation in Zoom-like events and phone conversations.)


hi @thor — i’m interested to learn/ read more in case you can share links to what you referenced
and yes some of us would be keen to run experiments :slight_smile:

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I would like to know more about helping out with the forum.


Thanks, Glenn!

There’s a small forum facilitation team right now, but we’re on pause for perhaps a few weeks, while the steering team gets its feet under itself a little more.

I’ll come back to this topic when I’ve got more news, and more getting underway.