Add Option to Disable User-User Chat

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?

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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?

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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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But… What is proposed in this topic is to tie Personal Chat to it as well, so you disable both together.

I’m on team ‘Separate Options For Each’. :slightly_smiling_face:


Merging it would be perfect of course!


Two users can share many different separate personal message topics, whereas chat is literal ephemera - by default messages over 90 days old are purged.

They’re two very different mechanisms.

Think of one as email and the other as SMS. It’s far easier to locate an email on a particular topic, than it is to scroll back through thousands of messages hunting for a particular conversation.

If you never want or need to refer back to older conversations then don’t instigate PMs, but please also recognize that others could very well see value from the functionality afforded by the more structured and persistent messages function.

Why? New messages in either feature show notifications, and if you’re looking back for something you’ve previously read personal messages are already searchable:

Screenshot 2022-08-07 at 11.14.21 AM


By default chat DMs are persistent, only category chats have by default this 90 day auto delete. That’s why I see them basically as the same. Not that DMs should auto delete, the default is fine.

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Admin should have a universal on/off option + access control here before users (using user levels)

  • chat allowed groups :white_check_mark:
  • personal chat groups allowed :new:
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To manage abuse of the chat system.

I am not sure if admins can see personal chat of a user (I haven’t tested it out yet to that level) but with open chat channels, abuse will be spotted by the users becasue it is essentially public.

My thinking is along the same line of this idea pre-chat, to have it in both DM’s and Chat would be consistent and give admins good control over nefarious activities using Chat/DM systems.

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