Parent groups and sub-groups

I’d love a feature that allows us to nest groups.

For example, let’s say that I have a volunteer organization. There are different groups of volunteers with different functions. One group of volunteers is working on the online forum. Another group is working on an upcoming potluck party.

I’d love to be able to add someone to project based sub-groups, let’s say “online-forum” and “potluck-party” and have everyone in these groups automatically be placed in a “volunteer” group.

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What problem are you trying to solve?

You can give category access to any number of groups, so you can give access to the volunteer category to all of those subgroups, and, perhaps, but even bother with a volunteer group.

I want to be able to message the group. Let’s say we have a volunteer-only appreciation event. I’d like to be able to @volunteers in order to notify everyone.

I don’t want every volunteer to be notified every time a topic is created in the Volunteer category, so setting every group to watch the category wouldn’t work. I want to reserve the messages for special occasions.

How are your users getting into Discourse? Are you using any form of identity management, or single sign-on?

You could create announce categories for the announcements. But you’d need a plugin to force having them watched.

I think that would be easier than the plugin to create sub groups.

People can only sign up using emails at the moment.
We mostly add people by invite.
We have a public facing part of the forum for discussions, announcements, and events and jobs postings that are open to anyone.
We have an internal facing part of the forum for projects that only people who are volunteering for that project have access to.
When someone joins a volunteer effort who isn’t already on Discourse, we invite them into the relevant group and all communications about the volunteer effort goes through Discourse.

Are you saying we could create an announcements sub-category within the volunteers category and use a plug-in like Ability to force subscription to a category? That could work for the messaging use case. It still creates redundancy, where I need to give access to the volunteers category to every volunteer group AND add the same groups to the plug-in, but it’s certainly better than having redundancy at the user level. Thanks!

I continue to think having sub-groups and parent groups is a good idea. Categories are about organizing topics and groups are about organizing people. They often overlap but aren’t the same.


I’m looking to have sub groups to be public only to parent or relate groups.

The problem I’m wanting to solve is enabling volunteers to be able to freely join or leave groups that relate to the categories.

Something like tag_groups. Being able to determine which groups are ‘public’ for that categoru.

I’ve thought of another reason to have parent groups, or at least ways to categorize groups.

Right now I have multiple groups that serve different purposes.

Project Groups

  • Online Forum Circle
  • Branding Circle

Affinity Groups

  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

Event Alumni

  • 2018 EDU Potluck Party
  • 2019 Youth-Led Collective Impact Gathering

Right now there’s no easy way to categorize them. I could potentially have a naming mechanism, but something like

  • affinity-bipoc
  • affinity-lgbtq
  • alumni-2018-edu-potluck-party
  • alumni-2019-youth-led-collective-impact-gathering
  • circle-branding
  • circle-online-forum

seems really clunky to me, and long!

I imagine tag groups were created for the same reason.