Discourse beginner - notifications and private online threads

(Carrie-Anne Ferrie) #1

Hi I am part of a team who looks after a private online community. I was wondering if anyone would be able to kindly explain to me how on Discourse to set up a private forum thread specifically for a small group of users? I have been asked to do this for a colleague’s piece of work, and not sure how to implement.

Secondly, I was wondering if there was a way to use Discourse settings so that when a user posts for the first time that the community manager receives an email, so we can ensure they get some form of recognition of their post asap, either a reply or like, to support with converting them into regular users.

Any advice would be truly appreciated. :slight_smile:

(Jay Pfaffman) #2

There is a tremendous need for some basic documentation for such. One of the projects in my Ideas folder is some solution to that problem. I’ve been collecting notes, but my automatic Discourse installer app is currently at the top of my list.

Create a group. Add the members to the group. There are settings there for whether the group should be public and who can decide who can join the group.

On the /categories page, Create a category:

On the security tab:

Delete the “everyone” entry (click the blue X) and add create/reply/see rights to the group you created.

Now those who aren’t in the group (and aren’t admins) will not see that category. You can also add an email address to a category so that people can email to that address to start a new topic (though getting email configured to make that possible is beyond the scope of this post).

You can also post questions like this over on meta, though questions there are often more esoteric. If you’ve a budget, I’m happy to help you privately.

(Sarah Hawk) #4

As far as I’m aware, you can get emails every time someone posts (at either a category or tag level), but not just the first time they post. Is the community too large to manually monitor for first posts?

(And welcome, BTW. Great to have you here.)

(Carrie-Anne Ferrie) #5

Thanks so much for both of your help :slight_smile: That sorted the problem! I am just going to try and get my head around Avatar Flair images now. We are looking for a way to have a badge or something that appears on a user’s profile to signify they are a community manager and I am wondering if this may be a way around it.


Famous last words. So I have created a group, created a category, added the group as being the only ones able to see, reply, etc… However other members can still see it (tested) and look at threads. Is there something I have missed?

(Robert McIntosh) #6

Private group

Hard to say without looking at it. If you follow the instructions it should work. Did you remove the “Group is visible to all users” flag when you created it?

Post Notification

You can create a unique badge for that - see the link below. Discourse does not do this automatically. It might be easier than lots of emails to the admin - you can always monitor this via your dashboard

(Jay Pfaffman) #7

My guess is that you failed to remove the everyone permission from the category.

The Avatar flair feature wad designedv to do exactly what you describe & that’s what they do on vacation meta.

(Alessio Fattorini) #8

There’s already a badge for this


You have just to check it periodically, unfortunately no email notifications.

(Robert McIntosh) #9

Not by default, I don’t think. Certainly not on ‘vanilla’ installation. Is that your own community?

(Alessio Fattorini) #10

Ops, you’re right I forgot I did it by myself. That’s the code :slight_smile:

SELECT MIN(bp.id) post_id, bp.user_id, MIN(bp.created_at) granted_at
FROM badge_posts bp
WHERE (:backfill OR bp.id IN (:post_ids) )
GROUP BY bp.user_id

Edit: I did a lot of customizations with badges, if you need you can find the entire list here (I can share the code, no problem)


(Jay Pfaffman) #11

Note that now custom badges are disabled by default. See this topic for information about how they work and how to enable them.

They were disabled because it’s possible for someone to create a badge query that eats too many CPU resources.

I used to have my students get all the badges (not all of them, but the beginner ones). Alerting folks to those badges might be helpful in getting them up to speed. It’s a little bit fun. I periodically peruse them over on meta and see if there any that I can still get (out of love seems to be the only one that I could contrive to get in short order).

(Sarah Hawk) #12

Check out @doctorj’s avatar here to see them in action.

You need to be careful with what image you use for the flair. I was using our FeverBee logo for our team for a while until someone pointed out that at that tiny scale it looked like we all had smily faces on our avatars.