Force watch single topic

I wonder whether there are more communities that might benefit from a feature that would allow staff to make specific users/groups watch a specific topic. So, what this would mean is that the topic menu would include a new item like “Make user watch topic”. Clicking on it will pop up a modal asking for user names or group names. The names entered will immediately watch this topic. For educational (and transparency) purposes it might also make sense to send a PM to the respective users, notifying them that they are now watching this topic.

The main purpose of this would be to make it easier for staff to provide a positive user experience for certain “difficult users” and gradually educate them to accomplish these things themselves.

Here is my use case: one of my instances is a neighbourhood forum for people living in my area and most people use it mostly via email. In this context, one big benefit of discourse as opposed to an old school mailing list is that people don’t receive lots of irrelevant mails because I have set the most relevant categories to default to watching_first_post and this works fine. But the problem is that for some topics (let’s call them “important topics”), certain people should actually receive all posts and this is where this feature would come in handy.

Currently, my (semi-)workaround is that I mention those users in my replies to important topics, but they still won’t receive emails for the other replies.

I suspect that this feature would be most relevant in smaller communities and work settings, where you sometimes need to push information to certain people, but perhaps even bigger forums might find it useful?


If you are the admin / staff on the site, you can force people to do whatever you want (in terms of preferences) either via the command line, or impersonation.

Yes, of course, but both are rather laborious procedures… (and not accessible to moderators, right?)