Move posts to private conversation

Continuing the discussion from Move topic / posts to Private Conversation:

It would be great to have this option also for individual posts (not just the entire topic).

As a workaround, it is currently possible to first move those posts into a new topic and then move that topic to a private conversation, but it’s not ideal.

My use case is the following: people keep responding to topics by replying to the email they received, not realizing that their reply will be public. I have changed the email footer clarifying that replies will be public, but it doesn’t seem to help. So I’m moving those replies into private messages to hide potentially embarrassing content and to then reply privately.


That is just a bit too fringe and complicated. In the very rare case that this happens, I would just:

  • Copy/quote the post in full
  • Delete the public post
  • Paste my copy/quote into a PM with that poster.

Why is this happening? Any way you could set clearer expectations?


I guess it’s a variation of the reply-to-all-problem on mailing lists: when people receive an email from sender x, they assume that if they reply to this email, the reply will go (only) to sender x. With watching_first_post, discourse already has a great way of mitigating that behaviour (at least those replies will not be emailed to all), but I don’t see any additional steps I could take, apart from clarifying the email footer (which I have already done).


I agree with @tophee here.

On we are currently discussing strategies for reorganizing the forum and as a result we have lotsa PM communication among a network of active members and staff. Also this way of working will continue after reorg is done. Our forum is the raw body of work from which to derive follow-up actions and projects.

Notifying participants to stay within the topic and create a new PM title when they broach a new subject goes a long way, but as with email users still frequently forget to do this. And private messages are harder to find and search, so there is risk of valuable info becoming lost, fall from the radar.

In our case the workaround @tophee suggests would mean that strategies under preparation would be visible for a short time to people who should not see them yet. Maybe they even receive a mail notification from them?

Would be great if PM topics could be moderated in same way as public topics, so: 1. Select post, 2. Move to new PM topic

Wouldn’t it be better to have those discussions in private categories (or as group PMs, for that matter)?

Yes, they are group PM’s, but occur in all kinds of different conglomerations.

I guess it’s also a matter of preference for how you want to use discourse, but I believe for your use case, the more common way of using discourse would be to have those discussions in private categories instead of group PMs precisely because you have different interconnected issues that different people are more or less involved in - a problem that discourse has excellent solutions for but by using PMs you are missing most of them.


Yes, this may be the case, but one other thing we try to do is minimize the number of categories. I’ll think about best way to do this. Thank you @tophee!

But I still think this feature request would be a nice addition :slight_smile:

I would welcome this feature and agree with @tophee

It would be great to have a post by post “get a room!” capability … I have one user who keeps going off topic and posting one to one within a broader Topic. I have become aware that this annoys other users.


This feature is now available via:

When moving posts from a topic there will be three options. Move to …

  • New Topic
  • Existing Topic
  • New Message

When moving posts from a PM there will be two options. Move to …

  • New Message
  • Existing Message

Oops! I just noticed that this change took away an essential feature I use all the time - the ability to select and move message replies to an existing topic. Any chance you could bring it back?

Update: also, I see that it’s no longer possible to find the destination topic or message by entering the topic ID. Is there a strategic reason this was removed? Any chance it could be brought back?

And some more info about my user story. My discourse automatically sends a welcome message to new members, encouraging them to reply to introduce themselves. The welcome message has a line requesting the member to let us know if their reply should be kept confidential. We also start a new member intro topic (example) every two weeks, and encourage new members to introduce themselves. In many cases, they reply to the welcome message introducing themselves and we then move their reply into the intro topic. This is no longer possible.

I guess we can switch approaches and reply ourselves quoting the new member and mentioning them, but it doesn’t look quite as good.

1 Like

Intnetional decision per @sam. We want friction on possibly dangerous actions. You can still do it via the two step process so you are not blocked.

However the removal of search by topic id / title was NOT intentional and should be fixed @techAPJ


Thanks, Jeff!

I’m not entirely following - by what two step process can I move a message reply into a topic?

I can see what you mean about possibly dangerous actions. However, this really messes with our workflow and we’ll have to rethink things if we are unable to move replies as we did previously. Perhaps not an entirely bad idea anyway because it lets us be more transparent about how we make public the messages we receive and also add a quick comment or suggestion as we do it.

1 Like

Not exactly 2 step, more like 4:

  1. Select and move post(s) to a new PM
  2. Make the PM public
  3. Select and move move the post(s) to the existing topic
  4. Delete the (now public) PM.

I would say this is a violation of user privacy so, awkward is a feature


I just confirmed that searching for destination topic by topic ID works as expected. Note that our search library does not support searching for message via message ID, it’s already on my to-do list to implement this feature. In the meanwhile you can search for messages via message title.


Thanks, Josh and Arpit! That’s helpful info.

In the past, the topic ID could be for a message or a topic - so it was possible to choose a specific message or a topic as the destination whatever the source.

I guess according to Sam’s logic, this is a bug that you have now squashed - if you are concerned about your moderators violating privacy, it should not have been possible all these years for moderators to choose a message as the destination for a topic reply, and vice versa.

For me, it was a great feature - I loved being able to do it and am sorry it’s gone. We only moved messages to topics after consulting with users and have never had any issues with it.

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While privacy is a legitimate concern, I’m not sure whether this argument is fully consistent with the team’s position that “if you can’t trust your moderators they shouldn’t be moderators”. Yes, mod access to PMs has been restricted, but doesn’t that mean isn’t that a sufficient privacy guard?

I am with @tobiaseigen that the ability to move posts from PM to topic was not a bug but a feature. Their previous practice of even asking for explicit permission makes it particularly difficult to use the privacy protection argument but even in procedurally less refined cases, I don’t really see a problem.

For example, I have more than once had people reply-by-email to a PM in a manner that made it apparent that they believed the reply would go to a public topic (the opposite also happens, of course). I have also asked people via PM if they could contribute something to a specific public topic and they were happy to do so, but - you guessed it - wrote their reply as a reply to the PM.

I also welcome new users via PM with two questions that sometimes lead to nice self-intros that would be a valuable contribution to the “Say Hi” category and so I ask if I can publish them.

I get this argument but the UX is going to get very confusing here.

We now have move to message / new message … if we add 2 more options well this is getting to be quite a huge modal.

I definitely like the default protection we have in place and really dislike mixing messages and topics in the same list.


This is now done via FIX: do not show PM topics when moving posts to an existing public to… · discourse/discourse@a121d40 · GitHub and FEATURE: allow staff to select existing message via ID or URL · discourse/discourse@59e3eec · GitHub,