Improve invite system

Targeting version 2.7, we will be making some improvements to the invite system to bring it into line with how platforms like Discord are handling invites these days, with a bias toward quickly generating a link that can be copied and pasted into an email, text or chat. Options like sending an email with personalized message or adding users to groups etc will be provided behind an advanced options :gear:. Invite management will also be improved to enable users to edit their invites after they have been created.

This change has quite a few moving parts and touches on things that staff can do that regular users cannot, so we will want to be mindful to get it right. I’ve indicated the top level todos below as well as proposed copy for the new interfaces. We can update this OP as we move along.

  • remove LINKS tab, restructure PENDING tab on /user/invited/pending page to include link invites
  • add ability to edit existing invites listed on PENDING tab
  • simplify the Invite popup, putting advanced options behind :gear:
  • add ability to specify topic where the invited user will land after accepting invite
  • add interim step to Bulk Invite (for admins) with just in time education on how to prep and upload csv
  • We did not remove it but made it work! remove ability to invite new user via share button on topic menu

Proposed new interfaces:

Structure of new consolidated pending tab
Invitation Groups Topic Created/Last sent Expires
invitedperson@example.fake team, developers Welcome, developers! Nov 15 Dec 15 [Edit] [Delete] [Get link] [Send email]
link (1/5 redeemed) team Oct 5 Dec 15 4pm [Edit] [Delete] [Get link]
anotherinvitedperson@example.fake translators Getting started with translation Nov 2 Dec 20 [Edit] [Delete] [Get link] [Send email]
thirdinvitedperson@example.fake team Nov 25 Dec 25 [Edit] [Delete] [Get link] [Send email]
New invite popup
Heading: Invite people 

Share this link with others to instantly grant access to SITENAME!

[                             ]  [create link/copy]

Your invite link expires next week. :gear:

Note: when CREATE LINK button selected, the link is added to the empty field and the button changes to COPY. When selected, the link is copied to the clipboard to be pasted into an email, chat or text.

New invite popup advanced options
Title: Invite people (advanced options)

Add to groups:

[ Search... ]

Send to topic on first login: 

[ Search... ]

Expire after

[ Select a timeframe  ]

Max number of uses

[ 5 ]

Limit to email address 

[ ] 

Send email 

[ Hello, please join our team.


    [                           ] [create link/copy link] [send email]

Note: Expire after is one week after current date by default. Max number of uses is only shown if no email address is provided. Custom message and send email buttons are only shown if email address is provided.

New bulk invite interim step
Title: Bulk invite (admin only)

Invite a list of users to get your community going quickly. Prepare a [csv file]( containing at least one row per email address of users you want to invite. The following comma separated information can be provided if you want to add people to groups or send them to a specific topic the first time they sign in.,group_1;group_2,topic_id

Every email address in your uploaded csv file will be sent an invitation, and you will be able to manage it later. 

[ upload csv file]

Note: selecting the upload csv file button opens the file system to select the csv to upload.


As folks on tests-passed may have noticed, @dan has been diligently working on improving the invite system along the lines described in the OP. The improvements are now in and working quite well, so now is a good time to check it out if you have not already! Let us know what you think and if you notice any issues. Some screenshots of new interfaces below.

Invites can now be accessed via a much improved interface on the user menu. Pending link and email invites are now displayed in a combined interface. Redeemed invites are displayed in chronological order, newest first.

The biggest addition is that regular users allowed to invite others can now copy a link to share in addition to sending an email invite. They can also change the max number of times a link can be used, limited by the invite link max redemptions limit users admin setting (default 10). They cannot change how long invites are valid, set in invite expiry days admin setting (default 30 days).

Staff can access advanced options to add invited users to groups, choose a specific topic to send them to upon first login, and change the link expiry timeframe. For email invites, staff can add an optional personal message.

Bulk invite works as previously, except now an interim step is displayed with some just in time info on how to set up your csv file before uploading it.

Pending invites tab with both link and email invites

Create invite link with advanced options open

Create invite email with advanced options open


13 posts were split to a new topic: API endpoint to create invite links has moved to /invites.json

This looks great - thanks to all those who worked on it :slight_smile:


7 posts were split to a new topic: Trusted users cannot invite when must approve users admin setting enabled

Just a comment/idea for further improvement:
our Discourse has separate categories linked to groups representing separate community membership. There are multiple communities on the same overall installation. It would be good if

  • either the “user to user inivitation” includes an automatic option so that the invitated person inherits the same group membership as the invitating person (maybe selectable if the inviter has multiple group memberships)
  • or there is some kind of workflow where the admin/moderator approval adds the correct group permissions in a second step

I’m not sure whether it’s just an overlook during the revamp of the UI, or if there is a rationale for this, but when a user, non staff, owner of some group(s), select invite just one email address, the advanced options does not let him add the invitee to his group(s). The owner still can do it via the UI in /g . Maybe this change could be reminded somewhere, in js.user.invited.invite.restrict_email perhaps?

Thanks so much for all the updates, especially this one. A big improvement on usability of invites.


@dan deployed an update to the invite system in recent weeks. Let us know what you think, and if you have suggestions for further improvements! The main goal with these latest changes is to make it as simple as possible while still supporting all the magic in the invite system. There is no longer an “advanced” screen. All available options are in the invite popup at the same time, as relevant to the situation and what the user has access to.

Regular users only have a few options and so for them inviting is a breeze. I realize that for staff we’re still looking at a list of five things to decide on (all optional) before getting the invite link or emailing it… which is handy but potentially confusing especially to people new to discourse. We are looking at ways to keep all the magic but move to a simpler interface. Suggestions welcome.


Trust Level 2 user inviting someone by email. The optional personal message opens up only when you start typing the email address.


Same user inviting someone via the invite link on the topic menu. Note “Arrive at topic” is shown but cannot be edited.


Admin gets all the bells and whistles. I haven’t started typing in the email address yet. A warning is shown if you try to have the invitee arrive at a topic in a secure category that requires group membership to access.

Screen Shot 2021-12-03 at 1.53.09 PM

When I save the invite, I can copy the link to share it.

Screen Shot 2021-12-03 at 1.53.50 PM

Wow, that sounds very complex. I get the impulse here and the idea is interesting, but I’m not sure we want to add even more magic at this point. Can you get to what you want by using the invite to topic and groups options available to staff? Each sub-community gets a group that people can join once they’ve signed up, and users can help each other and work with group owners to make it happen.

This is by design, to keep the invite system simpler for most users. As you say, group owners can always add people to their groups via their group page, or invite them and add them immediately to their group.

If we are wrong about this and many people complain about the way this works, we may revisit this decision.