New topic permission type: only particular group AND topic owner to post replies

We have created a new category in our goat keepers community: “Veterinary first aid online”.

We want everyone to be able to ask questions in that category (by creating a new topic).

Once a question asked, we want only the members of the Veterinaries group and the topic owner to be able to answer.

A new permission type for this in the category permissions screen would be very helpful to implement our idea.


P.S. Our current workaround is to delete / move replies posted by the ones who are not allowed to reply. However, it feels rude and offends people :frowning:

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I think it is a plugin stuff. You may have to ask developers in #marketplace.

This already exists, is group messaging.

You send message to a group and only the group and the OP can participate.

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In this approach if you like to list the conversation to public then once the conversation is done you can convert the message as topic under a category and make it closed.

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Yes this is a good workaround.
Still, I’d like to make the topics publicly visible as the conversation is going on.

This comes up every now and again. What you are asking for is create topic permissions to be uncoupled from reply (and sometimes it would be handy to be able to see only what you had posted).

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I’m still very interested in this permission type. Here is a use-case.

We have a First Aid / Online Ambulance Veterinary category.

Only certified veterinaries should be able to answer there.

So we need a way for a user to create a topic in the category and keep conversating with veterinaries. But not other non-certified veterinaries to reply in the topic.

So far we have to:

  1. Send a PM to a user who sent a response in such a topic, explaining why they should not.

  2. Remove their reply.

This makes authors sad. And this make mods unhappy about doing the manual work again and again.

It’s a valid use case, but it’s not technically trivial to implement.

Do you know of another forum platform that can do this?

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Just thinking aloud, maybe this is a possible work flow?

  1. Users PM the @veterinarians group.
  2. Conversation is held privately until there is a resolution.
  3. After it is resolved, PM is converted to a public topic in a category that only @veterinarians can post in.
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That should work pretty well. Could be further streamlined with a simple plugin that adds a “Make Public Topic” button to the bottom topic controls so it’s merely a single click away.

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So the main difficulty here is that creating a topic and replying to a topic is the same permission in the Discourse implementation of permission system?

The difficulty is that permissions apply to categories, not topics.

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So, I need this configuration for all topics in a particular category

Looks like a workaround. However, there is at least one known caveat to this.

When in PMs, people tend to say things that they wouldn’t say publicly. Once such PM messages exist, we cannot make the private topic to a public category.

There are other drawbacks as well:

  1. The category looks less dynamic
  2. A lot of additional manual work: a) people who come for the first time don’t even know that a private topic can become public; b) veterinarians will have to not forget to click on “Make public”, or ask mods to do so

If I put detailed instructions, no one will read them, at least not when they interact with veterinarians for the very first time.

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Most ‘popular’ forum platforms I have used can do this - at least vBulletin and Xenforo can (the other two platforms I use).

I agree that it is very useful feature - not only can it be used for users contacting staff or leaving private feedback but even for things like placing Topics in a moderation queue if they do not contain enough info or the mods need to question something about it (eg suspicious links, etc).

I think the real difficulty is that the current category permissions system assumes there is a total ordering of permissions, and “create & see” doesn’t line up neatly between the existing ones.

If the permissions were transformed to a bitwise field this would be pretty easy.

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