Automatically add categories to users sidebar when added to group

We have some groups that are (intentionally) not visible or accessible to everyone. For example, we are a condo association and have some small committees formed. (I.e. Landscape Committee). I created a group, called, “Landscape Committee Group”. When I add new members to that group, the Landscape Committee Category does not appear for them automatically. The Security settings for that group are set to, “see, reply, create”.
It seems I’m missing some global setting that would cause the category to appear for that new group member.

How do I resolve this?

As a workaround, they can select the Categories pencil icon to customize the list of categories shown in the left menu and then add the Landscape Category to their list. But the newly added group user does not know to do this by default. I have to either impersonate them, or walk them through it over the phone.


If I understand correctly, you’re talking about the list of categories shown in the user’s sidebar?

There is a site setting for default sidebar categories:

If you add the private category there, it should show up in people’s sidebars once they join the group and disappear when they leave the group. There may be some edge cases where it needs to get added manually if they have edited their own sidebar previously.

As users are able to add/remove things themselves, it may also be worth having a topic on your site to refer to in case people need help doing that.


Thank you for the sound advice. I’ll add them all to the defaults. I’ll also add a topic covering self-addition as you just mentioned.


This setting isn’t working for us. When users are added to the verified group, they can interact with restricted categories, but they don’t appear in the sidebar, even though those categories are in the default sidebar categories sitewide setting.

The workflow on our Discourse instance:

  1. users create an account. they can’t see restricted categories.
  2. They send us a message
  3. upon reviewing their message, the user is manually added to the verified group
  4. expected: they should now have restricted categories appearing in their sidebar
  5. observed: they only get the unrestricted one in their sidebar; the one that was there when they first joined

I’m wondering if it depends on different ways they could join the verified group?

In our case, a moderator edits their profile to add verified to their list of custom groups. (This also automatically bumps them up to trust level 1.) They can now participate in the restricted categories but their sidebar doesn’t show them. Perhaps there’s another way to move them into the group?

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It looks like this no longer works as I described earlier.

I don’t think we ever really explicitly designed it to work as it was earlier. It’s possible it was kind of working by accident before and regressed after recent changes since there are likely no specs that cover this behavior.

I’ll move this topic to feature to more explicitly record that this is something people would like to be able to do.

Users will have to add it themselves currently – they can click “Reset to defaults” on the sidebar categories modal after they are in their appropriate groups, but unfortunately, they still need to take some action themselves until something else is done here.


This should be fixed now per