Guidelines Static page not displaying when it should


(Robert McIntosh) #1

The standard /faq static page on my site will not dislpay to anonymous users

As I understand it, a Discourse installation has 3 ‘static’ pages that will display key content even when the site is set to ‘login required’

These are /faq , /tos and /privacy

This used to work on my site, but for some reason (since updating to 1.8.0?) only /tos and /privacy will display for anonymous users

I don’t believe there is anything different about the edits made to the /faq page so I am confused as to why this is not showing? Is there a toggle to make it private / public?

See here:


(note: I see that for the same access reason, onebox is not working on the first link)

I have login required only during the testing phase, so I will not require this in the long run, but I don’t understand why this behaviour is happening and it appears to be a bug

EDIT: I first reported this as a bug, but I am told this change was intentional, so have edited the title and the category to discuss whether there is a misalignment between the need to display certain information on static pages and the need to enforce privacy.


(Régis Hanol) #2

This behavior has been changed 4 months ago in

@techAPJ what was the reason behind this change?


(Arpit Jalan) #3

(Robert McIntosh) #4

that is very odd behaviour, surely?

the point of Guidelines is that these are there to be read and agreed to when signing up to the community

this is a problem because when these static pages were created (it seems) the concept of FAQ and Guidelines was amalgamated when in fact they are completely different items for different audiences. See the comments- which I don’t think were properly addressed here:

I can see an argument for FAQ items to stay hidden for private communities, but the point of guidelines is that they apply to all users and my intention is to ask new users to read and agree to them before signing up.

A related issue is that Discourse only allows these three static pages and so lots of different requirements are shoe-horned into three pages when we really want more fine-grained control.


(Robert McIntosh) #5

changed from ‘bug’ to ‘feature’ category as it seems this is intentional

(even if I think it is misguided) :wink:


(Robert McIntosh) #6

Bumping this because I feel it needs discussing and so looking for support (as the Discourse team need to know it affects more than me).

If you are setting up a new community there are many reasons why the forum will be set to “private” (no anonymous browsing), but the main ones are probably either for testing purposes before making public, or because the content itself is private.

In order to attract new users in these circumstances you need to offer them information on the community, and give them confidence in its operation. That is why you need at least three separate documents:

  1. a privacy statement (legal requirement, but also proof that data is safe)
  2. terms of service (to explore the legal issues surrounding the relationship with the site)
  3. guidelines (as to what the community is about, what is expected of members and rules you will be expected to abide by)

Until we were moved to 1.8.0 this all worked fine, but now Guidelines is set to private along with all other content

This is a problem.

Even if the content is meant to be private, you need SOMEWHERE to say “The first rule of fight club is: You do not talk about fight club”. If you hide that behind the privacy wall, then everyone has to be admitted before they learn the rule.

I can understand that FAQ content can be more specific, and therefore should be as private as the rest of the site, but not the general guidelines.

I see just as many voices asking for the Guideline pages to be open as there were calls for them to be made private, so I feel that this change was made without enough consultation and ask for it to be reverted, and for alternative arrangements to be made for FAQ content instead.

Can others back me, or point out where I am wrong?


(Jeff Atwood) #7

I suggest moving that to a public page on the internet – if you are using SSO, the parent site would already have a place for those rules. If not, you can go to a number of free website builder places and put the rules up there, or register a domain, etc.

Discourse strives to be “safe by default” and exposing guidelines by default isn’t safe.


(Robert McIntosh) #8

I am not sure how exposing the Guidelines is any less safe than the TOS or Privacy statement?

These are the pages (potential) members are supposed to read before they sign up, surely?

I run a community for a retail site, and I do not have responsibility for that site.

I built a community (test) site with the best intentions, then with only a few days to go to launch (which happened today), one of my key documents gets hidden because of a change made with little apparent discussion.

I can’t send prospective members of my community to multiple different sites to read the details about a community they will be joining somewhere else, and the idea of creating a community space was so as to keep the community-related content in one place (not half on the retail site and half elsewhere).

I don’t understand the logic


(Jeff Atwood) #9

So why the concern, then? If it’s not going to be a long term issue but only a temporary one, what’s the problem?


(Robert McIntosh) #10

Because:

a) it screws up my test - having set up the links to the guideline pages so members could review our rules before joining. Now these links no longer work, so I may be losing potential sign-ups

b) because it makes no sense and I want to help fix it to make Discourse a great product. I love the system and want to make it work not just for me. I honestly believe this is a mistake based on the confusion of FAQ and Guideline pages.

We need PUBLIC guidelines pages, and FAQs that can be locked down if necessary.

Arguably we need more options for static pages as well (like my username guidelines) but I am prepared to try and find a plugin for those if necessary, but these were available and were taken away from me by surprise.


(Jeff Atwood) #11

That’s the problem – this is one concept in Discourse and that is not so easily fixed.


(Robert McIntosh) #12

I don’t disagree that it is an issue and this has been highlighted in the discussion I linked to above, but the recent change has created at least as many problems as it has solved.

How hard is it to create more static pages in the same style as the existing ones, and to separate FAQ from Guidelines, even if only for new sites?


(Jeff Atwood) #13

How hard is it to create a static page with whatever content you want, anywhere on the internet, and link to it? I’m really not following here. I already answered:

For example, I just did this in about 60 seconds:

Hey guys, we’re launching a new private forum – if you’re interested read our guidelines and if that sounds good, sign up at forum.example.com!

Actual copy is very simple hosted by pastebin, or you could use github pages, or whatever:

hey guys, here are our public guidelines:

1. don't be a jerk!
2. post only cool stuff, nothing illegal
3. treat everyone as if they were your friend, even if you disagree with them

(Christoph) #14

Even if this is obviously a low priority feature, I think it makes sense to resolve this via a site setting that allows admins to specify whether FAQ/Guidelines should be public or not (and the current setting would obviously be the default).


(Kartik Singhal) #15

I agree with this suggestion. If there were a toggle for publicly showing FAQ/Guidelines page it will resolve this problem. I am facing a similar problem as the OP in bootstrapping a community; if Guidelines page was public a potential user will have a better understanding of what they are signing up for.

Though guidelines can be posted on a separate public page, it means they need to be maintained at two different places.