Configure custom group Access and Visibility

Discourse groups can be configured to be either closed, to allow users to send membership requests, or to allow users to freely join. Here is how to set that up.

Configure new closed group

As an admin, go to your site’s groups page and click the “New Group” button. On the form that appears, give your group a name. The form fields between “Full Name” and “Effects” are all optional and will be ignored for the purpose of this guide.

Scroll down the page so you can see the form’s “Access” and “Visibility” sections:

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Leave all the checkboxes in the Access section unchecked.

In the Visibility section, by default Everyone can see the group and Everyone can see the group’s members. What this means is that non-group members will see the group on your site’s groups page, Clicking the group’s link from that page will take them to the group members list:

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If you would like to prevent regular users from seeing the group’s members, select an option other than “Everyone” from the “Who can see this group’s members” dropdown menu. “Group owners, members” would be a good choice for most cases.

If you would like to prevent regular users from seeing the group at all, select an option other than “Everyone” from the “Who can see this group?” dropdown menu. Doing this will remove the group from the groups page for users who don’t have permission to see it.

Configure a new group that allows for membership requests

As an admin, go to your site’s groups page and click the “New Group” button, Give your group a name. To allow users to request to join a group, you need to add at least one group owner to the form’s “Add Owners” section. Add an owner and then scroll to the form’s “Access” and “Visibility” sections.

In the Visibility section, set the “Who can see this group?” dropdown to either “Everyone” or “Logged on users”. The “Who can see this group’s members?” dropdown can be set to any of the available options.

In the Access section, select the “Allow users to send membership requests to group owners” checkbox. You can also add an optional template to be displayed to users when they fill in their membership request:

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This will add a Request button that will be displayed to users who are not yet members of the group both the the group’s listing on your groups page, and to the group’s individual page:

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When a user clicks the button a form will open that allows them to send a membership request to the group’s owners:

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The group owners will receive the request. It includes a link that can be used to accept or reject the request:

Configure a new group that allows users to freely join

As an admin, go to your site’s groups page and click the “New Group” button, Give your group a name and scroll down the page to the “Access” and “Visibility” sections.

In the Visibility section, set the “Who can see this group?” dropdown to either “Everyone” or “Logged on users”. The “Who can see this group’s members?” dropdown can be set to any of the available options:

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In the Access section, select the “Allow users to join the group freely” checkbox:

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This will add a Join button that will be displayed to users who are not yet members to both the group’s entry on your groups listing page, and to the group’s individual page:

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When a user clicks the button, they will be automatically added to the group.

Allowing users to leave a group

With any of the above configurations, users can be allowed to leave a group by selecting the “Allow users to leave the group freely” checkbox from the group’s Access settings. When enabled, a “Leave” button will be added to the group’s page and the group’s entry on your site’s groups page:

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Updating existing groups

If you would like to change the Access or Visibility settings for an existing group, you can access the group’s settings by clicking the “Manage” tab from the group’s page:

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On the page that opens, you can access the group’s Visibility settings by clicking the Interaction link:

You can access the group’s Access settings by clicking the Membership link:

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To grant group ownership to an existing group, go to the Members tab of the group’s page. Click the admin wrench next to a user’s entry to grant or remove ownership, or to remove the user from the group:

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