Non-moderator access to whispers

At our company, we use whispers extensively to communicate internally about topics.

Almost every role in our organization (Sales, Services, Developers, PMs, Community Management, UX, Docs) plays a role in our user Community. To us, this means that each employee should be able to see whispers.

In Discourse, you have to be a member of the staff group to see whispers. For us, that means granting moderator access to 300+ people. These are users who would otherwise do just fine with TL4.

TLDR: All of our employees need to see whispers, very few need to be moderators.

We would really find it useful if

  • There was a setting that would allow TL4 users to see whispers, or…
  • If it was possible to list the groups who should be able to see whispers, instead of only allowing the staff group
  • Some better solution we haven’t thought of :smiley:



Certainly a very interesting problem and I very much hear you on it and agree this permission should be group based.

Sadly this is a big change due to the way we designed a lot of the internals.

On the face of it, it may seem like a simple change… just re-write these two methods:

But the internals the change in Discourse runs quite deep.

We even have this column that tracks the highest_post_number_including_whispers… but it is called highest_staff_post_number

The other complexity here is that we would need a group check to determine if a user can see a whisper and now the check is cheaper cause we simply head to the user record.

I am bookmarking this for internal discussion and will see if there is anything we can do here, but unfortunately the complexity is quite high.


Maybe a different tack would be to create a new level of staff membership instead?

Admin > Moderator > Team

They could still qualify as ‘staff’ but not show up on the ‘about’ page

I’ve had other occasions where it would be handy to have the ability to tag other employees in conversations even if they are not following most activity in the community, (e.g. raise to the product team for relevant feedback) but did not want to make them moderators for the other privileges

I hear you, but our general pattern has been to shift to hyper flexible group based permissions. We already did it for assign and solved, we will expand it to more and more parts.


A workaround I thought of is to use chat on a topic feature and only give staff and your team group access to that channel and use that for whispers instead of the actual whisper feature.


A new feature was added to the latest Discourse, which allows specifying additional groups whose members would be able to see/create whispers.


@Colin_Mueller the change should be live on your site :confetti_ball:

Thanks for the suggestion, it is indeed something many people wished for. There is a bit of a repeat pattern here, using TL as a gate or Staff as a gate tends to be so much less flexible than allowing for group based permission.


Hey @sam

Wow! That’s really great. This will help us tremendously. Thanks a lot.


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