Inviting existing users to topics

The above topic discusses why it was removed.


Oh, okay, well that explains it. Too bad: I found this feature useful for updating certain members, who I know may not check our forum frequently, but who participate in video conferences that we organize through the forum, about upcoming events. I suppose mentioning would accomplish the same thing.

Thanks for pointing me to the that topic, which hadn’t come up with my search terms.

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You’re welcome, I’m kinda bummed they removed it, too. I wish it stayed and added an option to include context around the notification, like a short 140-chat message or something.

Perhaps it may see a resurgence when chat becomes fully integrated, as I can see notifying someone by chat message seems a simple way to do it and can allow that short context (aka not needing a full subject like a private message might).

Because what I’ll do as a workaround, especially from mobile, is probably copy the link and paste it in Signal or WhatsApp, and I’d rather not, preferring to keep people within the Discourse site.

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You can also use PMs and DMs to achieve this if you prefer not to mention on the topic.

Can you expand on why is a PM / DM not workable here? Is this just about friction?

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I’d say yes it’s mostly about friction for me. Right now from the mobile app, it seems like quite a few jumps for me to take this and share it via a Discourse private message or private chat (I assume by DM you meant private chat message).

Ideally, when I click on the date of the post, it would give me an option to “Send as PM or send as chat” (I’d prefer chat) and would give a little box for me to add a message and when I click send it would send both the link to that post (or topic if from the topic share) and the short message I added.

For example, I thought the the mail button in the share dialog would send a Discourse private message but it actually opens up my email client.

To do this now, especially on mobile, I think would require me to copy and paste the link, go to chat or search to find that person’s profile, then click, then send chat, then type and paste.

So yea, I think I would just prefer it to have fewer steps.


Interesting one @codinghorror / @awesomerobot

We are prioritizing heavily external sharing via Email and other means, but not leaving any path for easy internal sharing outside of “new topic”.

I am not sure what the right thing is to do here. Share via email is great for onboarding new users to a forum, not sure we want to remove it.

However, I can see merit for a “1 click” share via DM or PM in that dialog. (one that simply opens up the composer pre-filled)

Work around for now is to use this, which works great from mobile and pre-fills stuff! Or copy URL and click through to DM list.


Not sure something needs to change here, but it is certainly an interesting observation. The existing features cover the functionality we removed A-OK, it is just that there is high friction.


If the data shows that almost nobody is using the feature, I don’t see the point of dedicating extra engineering resources to it… why build a feature that, statistically speaking, nobody uses?

If I want to get someone’s attention about a topic, why wouldn’t I just press reply on their post in the topic, quote their reply, (assuming they replied to it) or @name mention them in the topic when I reply to the topic?

Hey @george what are your thoughts on this topic?

So this is even more specific… for some reason you want to bring a particular topic to the attention of another user, but only privately and not in public for … reasons? It seems like such a very teeny tiny narrow use case, it’s no wonder it is getting so rarely used.

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(manually quoting below because it doesn’t seem I can quote a post if the topic is closed):

Notify Feature can be easily abused - #63 by sam
From the inception of meta we have 377 usages of this feature.
In the last week it was used 5 times .

2 times to notify an anonymous user.
1 time to bug @codinghorror about the topic discussing this feature
1 time to test on discobot
1 time which may or may not be legit.

Feature is mostly abandonware and for very good reason.

If I recall correctly, the notify button previously only showed up on the share topic dialog, not the share post dialog, so I wonder if that also contributed to why people didn’t use it. For example, I only discovered it existed a little bit before it was removed and I think that’s because I tend to share posts more than full topics.

Also, if it only existed similar to a poke button, that may have impacted its usage. So I’m not sure if people didn’t use it because they didn’t want to or they found it lacking the ability to add more context.

Here on Meta, I don’t have much desire to share privately with people. Honestly, I know so few people here, I’d probably feel uncomfortable sharing something privately with them or even publicly tagging them, and I wonder if that’s similar for other people on Meta.

However, on the communities I’m building, I feel a much stronger desire to have private side conversations of a main topic. A way to ping someone I know well to pay attention to the topic without having to call the group’s attention to that person. If I want them to contribute, I think it can make sense to publicly call them out—however, even then, I tend to not like to publicly mention people because then they can feel forced to reply even if they don’t want to.

I wonder if the nature of the community and the nature of the discussion influences whether people would use a feature like this. That being said, if Discourse doesn’t see it as a priority, maybe it can be a plugin/theme component.


I’m not against it per se, I just struggle to see where it fits in the big picture. And if you want “side conversations to ping someone”, that’s part of what the integrated chat feature we are building, is for, isn’t it?

When I want to message someone directly about a post, I click on their avatar to see their user card, and then on the message button. The link is prefilled for me even.

The topic notify button was both too prominent and too noisy, in comparison. It showed up as a notification but without any contact. You did not know why someone wanted you to see the topic.


Yes and I think that probably works good enough on the desktop version with the chat widget: copy the post link, paste into the personal message in the chat widget and go.

From the mobile interface it’s possible as well, maybe just a little more friction as chat takes the full page, but perhaps I’ll just do this.

I guess I’m used to the Twitter and Instagram UXs that have send via direct message options where one chooses the recipient and can optionally add a message.

I think this works great if I want to send a private message to the person posting. If I want to send it to someone else, maybe someone else not involved in the topic, this would seem like quite a few steps.

Yeah, I didn’t like the poke-like notify button either but would probably like a send via direct (chat) message option.


Generally I think there is a design choice here in discourse - we seek to promote discussion in topics where they benefit more people, not in private. But you can always easily grab the link and paste it wherever you like to share with someone privatelly, or quote reply if you have the composer open already.

If you have the chat plugin installed (in beta still!) you can also copy/paste post links into your chat messages and they will onebox nicely, just like in any topic.

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I think it’s ok to have that focus. I think what confuses me is that the share dialog basically does the “send via direct message” option but through Twitter, Facebook, and email, all off-platform options (email being a private conversation), but doesn’t have the option to do so on the Discourse platform itself.

Perhaps the idea with off-platform is to bring people to the public on-platform discussion, but I just think it would make sense to have the similar UX for sharing on-platform.

Again, it doesn’t matter too much and it’s ok with me if the team doesn’t want to put it in, I’m just noticing myself almost reflexively going for the “share via direct message” option on mobile, as I do on Twitter and IG, and feeling confused/bummed when it’s not there.


I would say that an opening move here would be a theme component that adds the buttons, it should be reasonably easy to build.


I was thinking this could actually do the trick:

But for now, I’m not sure if there’s a way to easily hook into a Discourse chat intent to pick someone to send a chat message to. Maybe it’d be easy for someone else to create, it seems a bit outside of my wheelhouse at the moment.

Because you don’t want push such noise to everyone’s feed. That is one reason because such action is so… disliked in Facebook, and should use private message instead. There is absolut no point to tell everyone I think George should read/follow some topic.

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I meant within the context of already replying. It’s quite rare that I see an interesting topic and I don’t want to reply to it, and I only want to bring it to the attention of another person.

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For me it happends every all the time. And I’m not the only one — it is the most common reason to tag someone in some. Plus as annoying than ”I follow this” posts :wink:

Techically… what happends if I mention (something what is really disliked here :wink: ) someone when replying to another person or directly to topic? Will my reply acting as reply, if you understand what I’m meaning?

Otherwise… the whole topic is more or less just another meta/UX/UI topic to me because I can send invitation — propably I’m using very same component that Jim mentioned earlier. But I think it should be an option from Discourse itself.

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Right, so you’d use the soon-to-be-launched chat, or a PM, to notify someone about the topic privately. Or you could email them a link to it via the buttons, etc. Lots of options for inviting existing users to topics (privately).


That is removed now, too.

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