Help with auto-close topic?

Hi there - I’m after a bit of advice about the best way to set up an automated step.

We are using a discourse platform as an LMS. Our first cohort will close next week, and I would like to automate this as I won’t be at work.

I would essentially like to hide the categories from participants, without losing topics or comments within - OR - automatically remove all participants from the platform.
We would like to be able to refer back to these categories as a team, so I want to ensure all comments and topics stay available to us.

Is the auto-close feature the best way to go about this? Is there a more sophisticated approach?
When a topic is closed, what will my participants see?

Thanks for any advice. I’m just a school teacher and am learning a lot about everything!

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No, close topics is not the right way.

You should change the categories permissions to make them private for staff only, see How to use category security settings to create private categories

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Ok - thanks - is it possible to automate this though? That’s my primary goal here - I won’t be at work next week but need to remove all participants on Tuesday night.

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Just to add - what I think I’m after is the topic timer, but for categories.

I think that you’d need either a plugin or to do it via the API (with something that would make the API calls at the appropriate time).


Not sure if this is what your looking for. But there is a plugin that hides responses to the Topic from all except Topic creator and possibly a group.

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately that sounds a bit beyond my skillset! All good, I guess I am logging on on Tuesday after all…!

Cheers @Heliosurge - I’ll have a bit of a look for that.

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Your welcome. Had sometime to do a keyword search.

Here is a link to the plugin.


Thanks so much - really appreciate you finding it (I had a go, but was coming up short!)

Unfortunately it’s not quite going to achieve what I’m after in this case (automatic hiding of all categories for all but mods), but I can see a use for this somewhere else in our course. Thank you.

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Your welcome. If it is to hide for full mods and Admins. Only other idea would be to allow Mods to create categories in settings.

With that any one with full mod or admin level can change Category Permissions.

Ie from
Everyone see/reply/create

Delete everyone and change it to Staff.

Alternatively this could also possibly be done with a PM that has Staff or a Group ie Teachers Group and A students Group added to a PM. And when topic is closed a Teacher or Mod maybe a TL4 user can remove Students group from PM


But will require a member to complete task.

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Yes - I think this is what I’ve arrived at as the only workable solution for me in this case. Good lesson for me for our next cohort - don’t let the course close-down day occur when I am on leave!!

Really appreciate your help here @Heliosurge - thank you.

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Your very welcome. There is the #marketplace where someone may help by making a plugin that would be able to accomplish your preference however if budget is tight. Might not be ideal. However doesn’t hurt to inquire what it might cost and if it could be worked into the budget.

Plugins need an Admin with root server acs to install via commandline.

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The fastest way is to put all students in that cohort in a group and allow that categories to be accessed by members of the group. When the time comes, just remove the category access for that group.

This still is a manual action. You could set up something to automate this but I think you should direct your efforts to either:

  • finding someone you trust to pull the switch for you

or even better:

  • establishing that you can access your Discourse LMS from anywhere instead of only from your workplace.

Thanks @RGJ - sadly the whole team will be on leave, so unfortunately this time it is down to me. Rest assured, I will be doing the shutdown from my living room!

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