"Allow users to send membership requests to group owners"

Hi all,
I’ve read some older threads and can’t find a solution.

I have a case where I want to create private boards where the contents can be seen by a whitelisted user group created for each board. The use case is to create boards where cycling clubs can have discussions among themselves that can’t be seen by other clubs.

This thread suggested “the group visibility needs to be set to ‘Everyone’, otherwise people can’t see the group to be able to ask to join it.”

#1. I tried that using my Discourse admin account in Chrome, then used a regular Discourse member login in a different browser. l don’t see anything where non-group members can ask to join the group. What am I missing?

#2 This approach of making the group visible to everyone defeats the purpose of having a private group where contents can only be seen by members. Is there a different approach where I can maintain privacy for each board?

Long-term, there may be dozens if not hundreds of bike clubs that will have their own board. As the forum admin, I want to assign group owner rights to someone in each club. I want each club owner to approve new members. Sending membership requests to the group owner feels like just the thing I want for this workflow, but I can’t seem to figure it out.

Can someone advise in plain English? I’m not technical enough to understand links to some bit of code on Github.


When you create your group, the 12th-14th (?) fields are


make sure Allow users to join the group freely (Requires publicly visible group) is selected and that Visibility is set to Everyone. Or if you want to only allow user to request to be added and not be able to add themselves, select Allow users to send membership requests to group owners

If you’ve already made the group, you’ll find these options under
Manage --> Membership --> Access

Then once a user goes to the groups page they can see the group and add themselves.


Thank you so much for the very clear images @smrtey

This helps a TON. One thing I will add is that the group must be created from the outset with Visibility of the group = EVERYONE.

I tried changing the visibility of an existing group to Visbility = Everyone, but it didn’t seem to stick. Also, the checkbox for the “Allow users to send membership requests to group owners” got greyed out and not selectable. Don’t know why that happened either.

Anyway, I deleted the original group and started over and it works now.


This can be configured with existing groups. After you change the setting of the Visibility dropdown, you need to click the Save Changes button. If the changes are not saving for you after clicking the Save Changes button please let us know.

The issue with the “Allow users to send membership requests” checkbox being greyed out is related to the visibility settings. That checkbox is only enabled if the group’s visibility is set to either “Everyone” or “Logged on users”. Possibly something could be added to the user interface here to explain to users why the checkbox is disabled.


The other thing that I think @shooj is missing is that when you say “boards” you mean categories. Groups are collections of users. Categories are collections of topics.

For each club, you’ll create a group as discussed and also a category that you’ll set to be visible only to members of the group.