Add Option to Disable User-User Chat

Originally sent in The Chat Feedback topic

Is there an option to disable the private message feature on chat?


I don't think so, but it is a good suggestion :+1:


I think we should also have a setting to only let some people to send you a like the one for pms on the main site.


I would say the simplest thing to do is just lean on:


Unsure if we need one setting for DMs and one setting for PMs @mcwumbly ?


I agree. I think we can just use the existing setting and update the copy if necessary. I don’t see a compelling reason to have different settings for chat and non-chat direct/personal messages.


Some users (like myself) may not want to receive user-to-user chats but are fine with receiving personal messages.

In fact, I’ll be completely honest, if they can’t be disabled separately I would not use the plug-in on my own instances.


I’m somewhat similar. I think I’ve said it before but I like end-to-end encryption so much on private topics and fear having private chats unencrypted that I would probably want to keep private topics enabled and disable private chats until e2ee is available for that.

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Ah, I was thinking of things the other way around initially: “If I’m already limiting who can send me a personal message, I probably don’t want people who can’t send me a personal message to direct message me on chat.”

In your case, are there cases where would you want to be able to allow a subset of people people who can PM you to send you direct messages on chat? Or would you always want to stop everyone from being to be able to send you direct messages on chat?

That’s something I completely agree with. There’s one instance I’m a moderator on where I’ve had to block certain users by admin request due to personality conflicts so definitely wouldn’t want them being able to initiate a chat.

This is actually a bit complicated because it depends on the instance really.

On one instance where I’m a moderator, the official moderation agreement we signed says we cannot use any chat platform to communicate one on one with users about moderation issues. Everything is required to be done via PMs and the moderators group is required to be included. In this case being able to disable the chat but keep PMs enabled is actually important.

On instances where I’m just a regular user I’m perfectly fine with just blocking specific users if they’re particularly annoying.

Honestly, ideal world for me would be to have separate block lists, but the developer in me hates the idea of adding a bunch of extra code to support that when most likely if someone doesn’t want to receive user-to-user chats from someone they’re also not going to want PMs from them either.


For that forum, would it make sense to disable user-to-user chat entirely for the whole site?

I’m circling back to this topic, and I think this is the place we need to start. I’d take it one smaller step further and say all those related settings on that page should apply equally to chat. (Ignoring and Muting users, as well as the Allow List for direct and personal messages).

Having additional settings for chat may be something we get to later, but I think it’ll be important to first prevent chat from being a loophole for these settings (with the possible exception of Ignore?)


An interesting and very correct thing we should do is make sure the chat plugin updates all the descriptions to match the new reality

It is “suppress all notifications, pms and dms” etc…

I wonder what the new description text is and if we can loosen core enough or we need to override?


Just an update that we have made the following change, so the existing settings now apply to chat as well:


Perfect! Just to clarify, does this apply to both site-wide as well as user specific settings?

At this time, it only applies to the user-specific settings. Does that address your need in this case or would your scenario be better addressed with the site-wide setting?

We are SEC regulated so we have personal messages disabled for our entire site for legal reasons so we would need for that setting to apply to person to person chat messages as well before we can use it.


OK, well it’s on our list to make that setting apply to chat as well, so I will let you know here when it becomes available!


Similarly I have an education customer who is keen to explore chat in a category/group setting but can’t risk 1:1 messaging being enabled.


The hacky way that I do it now is to use CSS to hide the new DM button for all the non-staff users:

body:not(.staff) {
    display: none;

Easily defeated by a person with the right knowledge (or who searches it here on Meta) but it may work for those who need something now before a disable option is more formally incorporated.


That’s a bandaid, you can go into inspect and enable it

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Yes, I agree, that’s what I meant by this:

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I think that “Chat” and “Message” are quite redundant. Sure, they are implemented somewhat differently. But it comes down to the same thing. I suppose it’s up to the forum admin to decide to allow both or one of the 2. I personally would only allow Chat, if that plugin was enabled on my forum. Because Message also has typing indicators and is in a thread. So I personally see no difference. I think it’s confusing for Discourse veterans and newbies alike to see 2 ways to sent a DM to someone. And also, when you have to check your chats with someone, you now have to check in 2 sections?

So I’m all for choice. If an admin wants to disable Message, or Chat for one-on-one communication, then that would be more than welcome! :slight_smile:

Ah, this can already be done with enable_personal_messages in the admin settings :tada:

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