Feature idea: allow groups to send messages, or include a specific group in all messages to specific username

In my community, we have a helpdesk team, in addition to our @moderator and @admin teams. The team uses a @helpdesk group to private support via personal messages, and the Tickets Plugin 🎟 to ensure follow up.

Currently, automated messages are created, as tickets, from a team member’s own username and include the helpdesk group. This works because people like being able to reply to a human bean to ask questions and work with us until we’ve reached resolution.

However, other members of the helpdesk team have asked if it is possible to send the automated messages from the helpdesk group itself instead of from a specific team member. I know this is not currently possible, but am curious to find out what others think of this idea and if there is wider interest in it, and if the discourse team might be interested in adding it. Maybe there are workarounds you can suggest for me as well.

I can see some benefits:

  • groups are already able to receive messages - being able to send messages just takes them one step further toward feature parity with users. :sunflower:
  • the thousands of automated messages created for every new member joining the community (and for other cases in our community as well, via the API) are not associated with a specific user, who may at some point leave the organization so there is no point in having this user have access to them or be notified if later someone decides to reply.
  • replies to messages to the group can wait in the group inbox to be picked up, ticket style, by whoever in the group is on duty or best suited. When they add their reply they are then included in the message. Meanwhile no other user is included just because the automated message happened to have been sent from their username.
  • messages sent to system would be taken care of (see below).

Allowing the site contact username (see below) to be set to a group would be a start. Not sure what other changes would be required.

If this is too weird, an alternative might be to simply create a helpdesk user, and set that username as the site contact username and for automated messages. But then it would be helpful if any messages to that user (including replies) also are tickets and include the helpdesk group.

Continuing the discussion from Changing `system` account email:


Not a bad idea, but I’m not sure if this is possible. Remember that posts and topics in Discourse are always created by a person, not a group, so I suspect this would break a bunch of fundamental low-level assumptions in Discourse… cc @sam ?


Technically for messages this should be fine, there is a possibility this could be crazy enough to work :full_moon_with_face:


Thanks, Jeff and Sam! If this could work technically, what would be the next steps for making it happen? Is it fairly easy for you to implement and is it something you want to do in the near future? If not, I will move forward with my alternative idea.

I don’t think it is an big change, @nbianca can you add this to your list, but not super high on it, when you free up.

Tobias we will get to this some time in the next few months.


@tobiaseigen some stuff here gets very complex.

The change of allowing site_contact_username to be a group has one very complex scope to it that makes this a no go.

At the end of the day a group can easily get all the notifications for a message (by being in topic allowed groups), but the message has still to originate from an actual user.

I think to solve the OP here we should simply add site_contact_group_name if that is specified the site contact emails should all also go to the group. It is a trivial change with no new UX.

I don’t want to allow site contact username to be a group cause then we need to send the messages from an account, system is not a good fit, random user from group is not a good fit. So you should be allowed to choose here.


Thanks, Sam! Finally have some time to try to think about this. I think I understand what you’re saying. It does mean I proceed with my alternative plan:

Am I right in understanding that with your proposed improvement, messages sent to and from the site_contact_username would also include the site_contact_group_name? If so then this definitely solves the OP and I’m happy.

I will eagerly await the improvement, and in the meantime create a new helpdesk user and set that as the site_contact_username. I will keep an eye on that user’s messages and manually make sure they include the helpdesk_team group I will use as the site_contact_group_name when this is implemented.

Yes this is what I am saying :blush:


I don’t know when you snuck it in there, but I now see the site contact group name site setting. Thanks! :seedling: