Can I view private messages as an Admin?

I’m considering using Discourse for my group and I was wondering if I can view private messages between users. Can I view deleted private messages between users?

Reason. It’s a discussion forum for a kids sports team and we want to make sure nothing untoward is happening between kids and adults.


Yes, you can see users private messages.

When you have discourse you can look in logs :slight_smile:

Ethics of admins reading messages

Ethics: admin should access private messages in strict read-only mode


This is precisely the reason why we have always argued that admins need this privilege and it is in fact a safety feature.


In that case I would recommend you keep all conversation in the open and disable private messages entirely.


Agreed. I manage a site for kids, and believe me, you don’t need any communication between the kids, either. Even without the adults being involved, you don’t need them communicating privately.

Make sure that COPPA regulations are followed as well, if you have kids under 13. If you do, you MUST have parental permission, as Discourse is not COPPA compliant.


That one will come down to geography. COPPA is only a consideration within the United States. Being a sports team, and presumably situated pretty close to one another, they’re only going to need to worry about the regulations for a single country/region.

Adding a checkbox to sign up for parental consent isn’t a tremendous issue.

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A lot of good discussion here. I’ll have to look up COPPA and how to implement this parental consent checkbox…

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I think I saw a feature where I can be notified if certain ‘words’ appear in the logs. I wonder if this feature would be useful for monitoring private messages for inappropriate words/topics.

Yes, in this case you would go here @snow


Then choose. Flag and require approval will notify you

If you need anyother help just ask :slight_smile:


Alternatively you could follow the approach of a community I helped build last year. Set your community to invite-only and invite only parents. Give them TL2 so that they in turn will manage the invitation of their own children.


I’m sure this is right in front of me :grimacing: but can’t find the private messages in my logs from my admin account…

What do you need to find out? Any PMs that you interacted with as an Admin will show up under your own sent items.

Sorry, that wasn’t clear. I meant where do I see the personal messages users send to each other as an admin.

Go to the users’ normal profile page, then click on Messages. Actually opening any of the topics will generate a staff-action audit log noting that you opened the PM.