Can replies to topics be limited to only the author of the topic?


I had an idea earlier… yeah, yeah, I know, perish the thought eh… :wink:

So, it occured to me that many of our creative users often post things they are working on across a multitude of topics and for differing courses, in our case. I wondered whether they might like to have a kind of portfolio type feature.

My thoughts were, a user creates a topic, and then adds their screenshots, video clips, examples of code, or whatever else. They could then return to their topic and perhaps add a reply with something new from time to time.

What may muddy the waters a bit would be if other users could reply also, e.g. rather than having an on-going portfolio of work it could get a jumble of conversation in the middle, which would perhaps be better placed in the existing topics, to help keep the portfolio clean.

So, my question is - it is currently possible to create permissions whereby the author of a topic is the only one (excluding admin staff) who is able to reply to it? I saw that there are Create / Reply / See and Reply / See and just See permissions, and there are a variety of groups that these permissions can be added to. Not sure if there is a combination that would allow for the above to work?

Thanks in advance for any help / thoughts.

Kind regards



Perhaps the easiest would be for members to send a message to themselves. This would be equivalent to them having their own personal topic that others could not access unless invited into it.

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Thanks for the reply and idea.

I should have probably mentioned public portfolio :slight_smile:

So, they create a topic that everyone can see, but they are the only ones who can reply to it. I appreciate that they could just edit their original topic rather than replying to it, but I don’t expect a vast amount of our users would do that, equally, it may be beneficial to have the timestamp that comes with a reply against each update that they make to their portfolio.

No, per topic permissions are not a thing in Discourse, and there are no plans for them to be.

(other than PMs)

You’d need to set up a whole category for this to wrap permissions around it.


Hi Jeff,

You’d need to set up a whole category for this to wrap permissions around it.

That would have been the plan, e.g. have a category for them to post their portfolio topics in, but from what I can see, there isn’t then a way to then restrict the replies to only the author of a topic in that category.

Why can’t you simply ask people not to post in the topic, if you don’t want anyone else to post in it? I’m a little unclear why “just put a notice on it” isn’t sufficient?

The author could flag any post they don’t want in their topic.


Yeah, I guess we could do that, there is the “About the xxxxxx category” topics where I suppose this message could go, and it could be pinned… I just have a feeling that as soon as people start seeing other people’s work it would be “Hey man, that’s really cool”

I do understand the point of Discourse is one of conversation and what I was thinking of above kinda goes against that.

Not to worry, just wondered if it was possible with the current permissions etc.


I have a similar challenge

I want to set up a “diary” category with following setup for topics:

  1. author of topic can reply to topic and posts
  2. other members can only reply to posts (not topic)
  3. other members’ replies are not displayed in the posts, but only can be expanded from post-control area for each of authors’ post

Is something like that possible?

@RobMeade @drreen - you’ve probably already solved this, but here’s an idea for future readers:

Add a Special Group with one member - the portfolio owner.
Set Permissions on the Category to:

Everyone: see
Special Group: Create/Reply/See

I don’t know if you’d run into limitations on how many one person groups you could create, but it might get you where you need to go.


Hi Michelle,

Thank you for the reply and the suggestion.

I’m not sure how well that would work for us in practical terms though. It would mean having to have an entire category for a portfolio/user, as opposed to just a topic, which means if we had sat a thousand people that wanted to do that we’d have a parent category with then a thousand sub-categories. I suspect this would then introduce some UX issues too as unless the users name was near the beginning of the alphabet they would potentially be doing a lot of scrolling, as would anyone else just passing through that wanted to look at someone else work.

There would be perhaps more overhead on creating all of those sub-categories too, as well as the ongoing maintenance of them.

I think I had envisaged the solution being topics-in-a-category.

For the time being I’ve shelved the idea as I don’t think Discourse would be the most suitable solution, not because of any limitations of the product, more because of my seemingly off the wall demands :slight_smile:

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IIRC, there have been discussions about members having a type of “personal topic” page under their Profile. But AFAIK they never got anywhere.

Even then that might not be what you’re thinking of, if you’re thinking of displaying public “topics” that aren’t intended to be discussions in topic lists.


I was thinking in terms of a user having a portfolio, a topic (possibly several if they wanted to separate the subject matter of their work) which they could post to but to literally only show their work, as opposed to having the extra noise of comments that people may add as they see the posts and work.

The only way I could see that working would be to limit who could post on that topic to only the topic owner, and obviously mods/admin. This would prevent others from adding noise, but they could still like topics to show their appreciation of the work.

Idea is currently shelved :slight_smile: