Make permissions visible on private categories

We are trying to partly use Discourse as replacement for Basecamp. To that end, we have small groups that discuss in private categories.

I’m using a customised “watch category plugin” that makes users of a group watch a category automatically, thus creating a kind of mini-mailing list.

But one very useful bit of UI that Basecamp has is showing the members of a Basecamp at the top:

I would like to ask for an optional list of avatars derived from the category’s permissions to be displayed at the top of a category. This would help bring to mind the relevant audience and (the hope is) improve discussion.

This is related to the same issue for email.

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How this is usually handled is you spell out how the permissions are set up in the “About this category” topic.


That’s how I’m doing it now, but someone would has to go looking for it:

They have to find the “About” topic, click on it, click on the group @mention, and then scroll through the group to see if Bob is here. (Or whatever question they’re trying to find.)

A more obvious Basecamp-style list would be preferable for our case and would be workable for small teams. The benefit is not just being able to answer questions like “Is Bob in this group?”, but also to provide a visual reminder of the current audience.

A feature like this is not straight-forward to implement, though: what counts as “access” if you have convoluted permissions like this:

  • @super: create / reply / see
  • @regular: reply / see
  • @viewers: see

My hunch would be to show avatars for everyone who has viewing rights and maybe providing a dialog with additional info.

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Also it would need some max setting, clearly if 1000 users are in the group, there is a problem.

Unclear if this should go in core or not… I may consider it a group setting, default off.

But first start with visual mockups, how do you see this working … visually.


Doesn’t the groups page cover this now?

My request related to categories, not groups:

Right but see above ↑

It is true that our Discourse groups generally map to a single category, if that’s what you mean.

Even though some headway has been made, group messaging is still confusing as heck for our users :frowning:

There’s currently no one place where someone can go and see all their messages, as I noted here:

There are other issues with groups – but the short of it as that using categories requires more finagling on my end, as the admin, but is more understandable for users.

Here’s how I’ve worked around the permissions issue:

The link takes you to the group’s page, which allows you to view its membership.