How best to set up a forum with mailing lists where not all users overlap


(Tobias Eigen) #1

I am in the process of moving three google groups to a discourse instance, and would be grateful for advice.

These groups are all run by the same organization, but the users are not all overlapping. All are private, one contains people that may or may not care to be kept informed about the organization generally but need to be in this one private group, and one contains people who need to talk about things that nobody else should not be privy to. Later we plan to open up the forum to include more discussions by the staff, by our wider network and interested citizens who find us and sign up via the web.

Here are the groups I am setting up first:

  • staff - all staff in the organization
  • leadership - only subset of staff, rest of staff should not have access
  • office - subset of staff plus people from other organizations who share office space

Before I move forward, I can see I need to resolve two issues:

  1. The people sharing the office space should not be getting any other mail from the forum except from the office category.
  2. The staff with admin and moderator access to the forum shouldn’t be seeing the messages in the leadership category.

For #2, I am considering setting up an admin user account that is used to handle admin functions and that can work. But later when we open up registration I can see there will be problems in identifying spam users and doing regular moderator tasks.

For #1, the solution seems to be to completely lock down all categories and to only provide access to the office category. But again this won’t work once we open up the forum to the public. Some sort of “mute all but x category” user setting seems to be required.

We do want to get staff to get fully immersed in discourse and buy into it before we move to the next stage, so at all costs want to avoid splintering off some groups to discourse while we keep other google groups running.


(Dave McClure) #2

For #2, I think you can assign several moderators that do not have access to the leadership category, but who can still do the basic moderation tasks you describe.

For #1, it sounds like expanding this idea to have default watching status per category per group might be a good way to handle it in the end. You would probably have to create two groups to make that work though (office only, office staff). Otherwise you may risk muting the category for some staff.

In any case the main issue with #1 is the digest email, right?

Due to these complexities, my thinking would be to handle #1 more simply:

Contact all office sharing folks. Let them know that you are moving to a new organization wide system and inform them how to turn off the digest email or mute categories they are not interested in.


(blaumeer) #3

I do something similar with a school parents forum citywide. I create school/class category/subcategory and map it to school/class group. membership is managed by the invite system which assign each user to its own groups.

Everyone sees only what is related to her and receives only the relevant emails.

Do you plan to have open signup? In this case you would have to map users to groups manually after signup.


(Tobias Eigen) #4

Do moderators not have access to all content on the forum?

Otherwise I am thinking TL4 is plenty of access for the moderators we select to run the mailing list discussions/content, and we will have one user with admin access to manage users, categories and groups.

I like your suggestion about just contacting the office sharing folks - it’s just 4 people after all. At the start, we will have a different group for this and only private categories that they don’t have access to. Later it will become an issue when we start having public content.

No, for now we have a bunch of CSV exports from google groups, one for each mailing list, and want to simply import/invite those. I understand and like that the invite system can make the process easier for mapping users to groups, but am concerned about the delays involved in waiting for them to respond to the invitation.


(Dave McClure) #5

I haven’t played with it myself, but that’s my understanding now based on this recent topic


(Mittineague) #6

AFAIK that has since been fixed.

Moderators have elevated privileges, but they do NOT have all Admin privileges. eg.
can not make changes to site settings, create Categories, export user CSV files, run backups etc.

I think you might be able to see the differences at “Try”, but I know you can on a localhost Discourse.