How do you handle users requesting a heated conversation thread move to an unindexed category?

We are in the process of migrating away from a fully public mailing list, which now receives almost zero traffic in favor of our extensive Slack community. The list used to be our major source of all communication. With Slack these last few years, users will ask intense conversations move to a different channel in good faith so they can continue what they are doing uninterrupted by loud online conversations.

We have a Discourse, which is going through early growth and adoption. Sometimes conversations get heated. We have a Safe Channel (Trust 0, Logged in Users Only) for moving tough talks out of the public www index, but we still need to show users the benefits of embracing it. Some users are feeling moving these conversations is unexcellent, while others are feeling it is unexcellent to not move the heated thread after they’ve requested it. In addition, we have those who simply do not want to partake in these conversations.

What are your suggestions for helping us transition over to a forum where people can share frustrations, but also handle them in a manner that does not always dominate our public, visible forum of community volunteers. We are short on staff and moderators, so best to find a respectful solution the community can all adopt in good faith. Let me know!


The two most obvious options to de-emphasize these topics would be:

  • Unlist them - they can continue in their existing category with the existing participants, and only otherwise be visible to staff or anyone who has the direct link.
  • Convert them to PM - audience limited to the original audience, only otherwise visible to administrators.

Would it be possible to create a group which can view all unlisted posts besides staff?

Or, what about assigning a category (Safe Channel) to a group called Mediation Group which any user may freely join or leave.

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You can create a group which can see/read/post to a category that is only for that group. Other users will not be able to access that category.

Your Safe Channel category can be set up the same way with a group, but you’ll have to decide how new users will gain access to it… by invitation, requesting participation and having someone grant them permission, etc… Judging by your category name (Mediation Group), it sounds like it is fairly private(?) and possibly dealing with more than one type of problem that requires mediation? You’ll have to decide how you want that set up to suit your specific needs.

As @Stephen mentioned above, converting topics to PMs would work. And should one of the participants feel another user should have access, that person can be added to the list of participants.