Hidden user profiles are not completely hidden, shows with "this user's public profile is hidden"

I just came across the “This user’s public profile is hidden” feature, which I see discussed elsewhere: This user’s public profile is hidden?

I like the feature, but I am finding that it is not entirely working as advertised and is a cause for concern. It seems to me that if I select the “Hide my public profile and presence features” option in my preferences, my profile should not appear at all in the user list, in search results, in user card popup, in the new message composer, when mentioning users etc etc… even if I have participated in discussions in the past and am an active user.

In my use case right now, it’s about streamlining how we provide a helpdesk for support - we want people to write to a helpdeskteam group (used to provide support) and not a helpdesk user (used to send automated messages, including the group for followup). I guess I could rename the helpdesk user so it does not show up, but that might cause some confusion among members. But I think if this feature worked as advertised, I shouldn’t have to do that.

In addition, in my community I have this feature enabled in the first place because there are times for people when they need to lower their profile in a hurry. This may be short term or long term - if long term, obviously we can anonymize the user. But if short term, just having the profile disappear for a bit is what is wanted. I thought this feature hid it entirely from view but the person’s name and username still appears. I suspect users will be tripped up by this as well and it might get them in trouble.

There might be some aspects I am missing here, including how the user is handled that is in the admin settings as the official contact that sends automated messages. Perhaps it has to always be visible and accept messages from members, I don’t know.


Every single time we display a user name or avatar it’s a link that has to go somewhere. It would be a huge amount of work to go through the site and remove all those links (not to mention re-styling everything) so that it didn’t link to something.

Therefore the feature is not about hiding a user, it’s about not displaying the personal information and presence when you click through.

Hiding them would be a much more complex endeavour.


It sounds like hiding the profile is being confused with denying the existence of a user. Is that even helpful? There should be a minimum level of exposure accepted at registration when participating in a community.


Thanks for the response. I get that a certain amount of leakage is inevitable and even desirable, and what you say makes sense… however… it seems to me that you could do more to protect users who ask for their profiles to not be displayed. couldn’t you hide more of the profile info on profiles and user cards when user wants their profile to be hidden? including avatar, username, name? suppress them from results on the user list?

Needs testing on my end, but a colleague reported also that a user’s email was showing up on the new message composer when “Allow other users to send me personal messages” is deselected.

This is true. But circumstances change and life happens, and sometimes people need to take a break. Maybe we will just have to change the language around that preference to explain that it does not completely hide you from public view, and link to the FAQ and the helpdesk team for those who feel the need for more drastic action.

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“hide my profile and presence features” is precisely what it does. Your profile contains information about you account, which is hidden when this is enabled. It doesn’t say “hide my presence”, presence is widely used to refer to whether you are currently online or last active.


This is 100% as designed and won’t be changing. The goal is to hide the profile (and hide presence features), not hide the user completely.


ok - we’re good. Thanks! I understand now how the feature is intended to work.

To clarify this for members of my community who may still be confused about how it works, I changed the text of the user preference to the below.

Hide my public profile and presence features (note: your picture, username and name will still appear)


How about renaming the user to helpdeskbot ?

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or to something completely different - yes, this is on my radar. thanks!