How do I add a category to the AskCI site?

I want to add a category for my site to Ask Cyberinfrastructure. How do I do it?

Add a Category to AskCI

It’s great that you want to add a category (also known as a “locale”) to our site! You can follow the instructions here to develop your style and test a logo, and then you will need to contact a site admin to do the heavy lifting. If you don’t know how to find someone or need more help, you can reply to this post, get help on the #askci channel on the Campus Champions slack, or tweet to Askcybrainfra.

1. Setup

You likely don’t have admin on the actual discourse site, so if you want to do any testing of a category style, you need to run a local instance. @vsoch has put together a set of instructions to run your own mini discourse via Docker, and then test a theme. Specifically, you will want to:

  1. Develop a theme on using the theme creator.
  2. Export it, and run the Docker Compose application to create a dummy category and import and test the theme

Instructions for how to do this, and how the actual admin on the AskCi site does it, are further detailed below. You can likely do many of the steps without testing, but this is not advisable.

2. Name your Category

If you look on the categories page this is where your site will have a link. Specifically, you want to choose a category name that completely describes your site. For example, instead of “SRCC” or “Stanford RC” the group at Stanford uses “Stanford Research Computing” and this renders to the slug “stanford-research-computing.” Remember this slug, as it will be important to know for your category style.

3. Choose a Logo

The admin will need to upload the logo to the site in order to get a permalink for it. Generally, you want
to choose a long and flat logo that includes the name of the group (in some respect) along with an image. For example, the Stanford logo is:

And this was uploaded as a static file by an admin. You can share your logo with an admin in the Campus Champions slack, or over email.

4. Write the Style

The style is the most important part, and it’s why you are encouraged to test before making a site category page live. For example, the Stanford logo is red on white, so it’s important that the background color is white. How does this work? Discourse automatically creates a class for each category, so the “stanford-research-computing” slug has the following selectors we want to edit:

  • .category-stanford-research-computing #site-text-logo: where your logo image will go
  • .category-stanford-research-computing .d-header: the header section, where you should choose the background and text colors

For example, here is the stanford-research-computing style:

.category-stanford-research-computing .d-header {
   color: black !important;
   background-color: white !important;
   background-image: none !important;
   background: white !important;
.category-stanford-research-computing #site-text-logo {
 content: url("
") !important;
 background: url("
") no-repeat !important;
 display: inline-block;
 width: 80px;
 font-size: 0;
 margin-top: 5px;
 margin-bottom: 0px;

These styles are added to the global style, and will be relevant when your category page is being rendered. When you are testing these out, you can use and follow instructions provided by the theme creator.

5. Share your Work!

When you finish, send both the image, the name for your category, and the style snippets you’ve developed to an admin, and he or she can add them to the site. Likely, you will be asked to preview the category page and make any changes needed.

6. Before your category goes live, we ask for two things:

a) you have at least 5 seed questions, 3 with answers. We recommend that you have multiple authors post the seed questions so that your users are not intimidated to post a question as well.

b) you have at least one moderator assigned that can monitor your category, and participate in our weekly moderators’ call, which runs for no more than one hour on Fridays at 11am ET, 10 am CT, 9 am MT, 8 am PT.