How to make sure that a cancelled user will lose Discourse access?


On our cancelled members, we “Deactivate account” to hopefully remove their access and stop them from receiving notifications. Although they are still part of a certain user group.

We noticed that some cancelled members where we deactivated Discourse access eventually were still able to reactivate their account on their end and / or still receive notifications that we sent to a specific user group.

How do we make sure that our cancelled members:

  • will not be able to reactivate their discourse account, and
  • will no longer receive email notifications

Thanks in advance!

You’ll need to suspend those users.

Thanks @omarfilip ,

Will that have a negative impact on a cancelled user’s account if we suspend them?


It will have a negative impact in that they won’t be able to use the account but I assume that’s what you want?

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Anonymization should be enough. And actually so should be cancelation/deletion. If an ex-member is still part of a group I would count it as a bug.

Suspension is for really bad apples, and that is not the situation and purpose here.

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FWIW, we use Suspend when offboarding ex-team members from our internal site, so I think it is a valid use of the function. :+1:


Why do you Use suspension instead of a suitable tool would be the right question :wink:

Lack of right tools is not same as a valid action, I think.

Depends on what people are trying to achieve. I’ve got a lot of suspended users. They’re people who will probably never come back or are dead in some cases. However, many of them have provided content over the years that is still useful and are regarded as ‘experts’ in the answers they gave even though they’re no longer users. So it’s not unusual for someone to say “There’s a post about that subject by ‘fred’ from a few years ago”. If I anonymised users then nobody is going to say there’s a post from ‘anon12345’ from a few years ago. Also if they’ve found a few good responses from ‘fred’ they’re more likely to recognise him as an expert than they would if his account was now anon41324.

Sure, people can probably use search to find what they want, or the responders could find the post and add a link, but that doesn’t really help the questioners become self-sufficient in finding their own stuff or it puts an onus on those who knew fred to do the digging for those who can’t be bothered to do it for themselves.


I think Suspending the account seems like a good fit? It doesn’t always have to be for a negative reason. Sometimes it could be staff/customer off-boarding, or even a community member who wishes to take a break for a bit. Both seem valid uses for placing the account in suspension rather than deleting or anonymising it. It also means they can come back again if they re-join the team, or re-subscribe as a customer, etc.


Thanks for all your inputs. Really helpful with what we need.

I guess since some of you are doing it as part of the off boarding process (regardless if they would come back afterwards of if they are a total cancel), I think we would also implement “Suspend” users aside from deactivating their account, setting their notifications as “never” and logging them out from all their logins in Discourse.

This will ensure that they won’t be able to access the community once our members cancel or it they would be on-pause.

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Another question by the way, if they are suspended (but will still be part of a specific group that we tag for announcements), they still won’t be able to receive the notifications via email, is that correct?

Thanks again

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Indeed. Furthermore, to make it sound less negative you can always customise the text

eg change js.user.suspended_permanently from ‘This user is suspended’ to something like ‘User cancelled account’ etc


That’s correct - a suspended user cannot interact with Discourse and is not sent emails. You can unsuspend them if you need to and clear the “penalty” that a suspension brings. We use it for managing paid memberships and have a custom reason:

This user is inactive.
Reason: membership expired


Thank you so much! Very helpful insights! :slight_smile:

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Hi Irene. It seems you have what you need to move forward, I wanted to leave a note about the nuance of account deactivation.

When a user account is deactivated, the account is logged out of all browser sessions and must reactivate their email to log in and receive email. A deactivated user will not receive notifications.

When is this useful? Well, I think the primary use-case is for sites where an internal team is using it, and the organization controls the email addresses for the team members, and hence the accounts.

If someone leaves and no longer has access to the work email inbox, they will not be able to re-validate the email address or log in.

Caveats exist for SSO and other login options, as well as users changing email addresses, etc. Hence why the suspend option is handy to use if needed. :slight_smile: