Add Option to Disable User-User Chat

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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I’ve recently merged the below pull requests, which introduce a direct_message_enabled_groups setting, similar to personal_message_enabled_groups, which controls who is allowed to initiate a direct message conversation. This defaults to the Trust Level 1 automatic group, and staff (admin and moderators) can always send direct messages no matter what.

It’s important to note that this controls creation of direct message channels, but if for example this is set to only allow Trust Level 4 users to create a direct message channel, any users involved in the new channel will be able to respond to the message and chat back and forth in the new channel. For example:

  • direct_message_enabled_groups is set to 3|14, which are the staff + TL4 automatic groups
  • User jmcgill is TL1, and cannot create new direct message channels, nor can he see the personal chat section in the new sidebar
  • User kwexler is TL4, and she creates a direct message channel with jmcgill
  • The sidebar personal chat section will now show for jmcgill, and he can send messages to kwexler in their channel, but jmcgill cannot create new direct message channels

Here are the relevant commits:


On a somewhat related note, we recently improved chat flags to work the same way as post flags. Additionally, we enabled them in DMs, which wasn’t possible until now. When a personal chat message gets flagged, we’ll include a transcript of the previous ones (up to ten) only available to moderators, so they can have more context before making a decision.

Relevant PR with some images:


One more related change folks watching this topic may be interested in is that you can now also limit how many people a user can add in a new direct message they create: