Anonymous posting -- but retaining original user permissions

Hello; we are hosting a live chat in our Discourse community on the topic of making a career switch, and we’d like to enable our members to have the option of participating anonymously to protect their privacy given the chat topic. However, when I went to test out the anonymity feature, I found that I lost access to the members-only sections of our Discourse community – we are hosting this live chat in one of our members-only categories.

Is there any way that users can anonymize themselves while retaining their original permissions to access locked categories on Discourse?

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Not at the current time, no.

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I’ve tried out anonymous mode today and the same thing happened (unable to view categories that aren’t viewable by all).

I guess there still is no way round this. Is that right? Thanks.

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Well, I don’t think anonymous posting is available yet! Though I didn’t make this site so @codinghorror or another staff member might be able to answer your question!

Anonymous posting is available to an extent - see Enabling and Using Anonymous Mode - I just wondered whether it’s available for what the original poster termed “members-only” categories (categories which can’t be seen by all users).

There isn’t a straightforward way of getting this to work that I am aware of.

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In some other old posts it mentioned the possibility of a plugin which would automatically assign groups to these anonymous users.

(I think the context was to ensure that new topics in a particular category were only created by anonymous users.)

Would the same principle work here, to allow the anonymous users to access the private categories? And does that plugin exist yet?

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Reading old topics again it seems like this wouldn’t need a plugin at all. For reference, here are two posts that mention the idea:

This approach could work for categories like the “Lounge” where access is based on trust level – you could set anonymous posting min trust level to the same as for viewing the category. It would mean, though, that fewer people could use anonymous mode in the first place.

But I can’t figure out a way to allow anonymous users to access private groups in any other circumstance :frowning:

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I’m not sure I’m following you?

If I create an Anonymous group, and auto-enrol anyone with anon.[MySite] as their email, and then create a category where everyone can see and reply (but not create), and add the Anonymous group as see/reply/create, then that works for me? Everyone can see the category, but the ‘create topic’ button is greyed out unless you’re in the Anonymous group.

Edit: Nope. I see. You don’t want a eg TL1 anon having access to a TL3 area. Hmmm. :thinking:

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Thanks. I think that is a slightly different scenario. Your category is one where “everyone can see”, which includes the anonymous users. The category I have in mind is one which only members of a specified group can see, which does not include the anonymous users.

Exactly! Or an area that is only accessible to a specified group.

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P.S. It looks like this is the same unresolved problem as mentioned in this more recent post (emphasis added):

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As you can see from the above discussion, this is a complex scenario, with a fair bit of risk…

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