Pick different icons for 'closed topic' and 'secure category'

FA locks are a bit more distinct, but my reasoning for using a different icon for private is this:

Locked category Private category
image image
Changes are locked Key is needed for access

I don’t feel qualified to make the call here, so please let’s reduce the noise:

Don’t post any more icon suggestions in here unless you’re sending them as a PR which you have tested!


LOL look at you trying to turn off a bikeshed topic. That’s adorable :blush:


Anyways, I am open to this if we can decide on a final outcome, but let’s have @jordan-vidrine @awesomerobot @Johani weigh in.


As someone who often takes screenshots in an environment with lots of mixed-access content, I strongly disagree! I suspect file sharing benefits from being log-in-only and private-first when it comes to not labeling things.

Some sites could definitely remove the icon without issue, but it would be dangerous for others.

Using the same icon and relying on context to differentiate the meaning requires a bit more mental work than having two distinct icons… but it’s also very possible that a distinct but less apparent icon could be more confusing.

Anyway, what we’re trying to communicate is “this category is access-restricted” (from the public or other groups)

The padlock with the user seems closer to the area of “something about security and people” rather than just “something about security” but it’s not a good icon at small sizes. Is this a shopping category?

Screen Shot 2020-04-20 at 6.56.00 PM

so what about a key?

Screen Shot 2020-04-20 at 7.00.14 PM

ehh… similar issue, the small size and lack of association with a lock or some other related thing makes it lose meaning really quickly. Plus if a topic is locked… is the category the key to the topic’s lock? what’s that association all about?

Unlocked is probably the closest usable suggestion here…

Screen Shot 2020-04-20 at 7.23.36 PM

I think this could potentially be as ambiguous as the lock… just in the opposite way.

More importantly, there are a lot of Discourse sites in the world now… and we might give a good number of admins heart attacks if their locked icons are suddenly unlocked. That’s enough of a concern that I don’t think it’s worth remotely considering!

A lock isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got!


Can we test out a few different icons for “closed topic” then?


Considered ban, but it feels a little too much like it’s saying “do not enter” to me

A slashed speech-bubble maybe? Could argue that it’s more literal… might be a little less clear visually (could try some adjustments to improve that).

We wouldn’t be able to use that exact icon as mocked up above though because it’s under Font Awesome’s commercial license… but it wouldn’t be difficult to create something following the same concept.


Let’s change closed I like that idea better.


Here’s how a custom comment-slash would look in some different contexts, put it above the unlisted icon here just to check how similar it is:

In topic titles:

Topic status message:

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 12.16.37 AM


I agree that the slash-through speech bubble is the right direction for a closed topic.


This looks good however, I have mixed feelings - a step forward, but it looks weird… To me it doesn’t give a ‘closed’ vibe. It looks more like another version of a muted icon. How does it look in the admin wrench?


Personally, I get a “no talking allowed” from this icon, which is what we want to convey here. I like it


I’ve just made the update. I also added a new “discourse-comment” icon so the speech bubble styles match…

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 5.38.46 PM Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 5.38.53 PM



Actually does not look bad at all in the admin wrench :+1:

Doesn’t the make public topic icon look alike to open topic ?


I have mixed feelings about this… ironically it fights with the Discourse logo visually :cry: … probably not an issue with other logos?

Also open feels kind of generic. Maybe we need the talk bubble and a plus?


I am thinking close is good as-is, but open is the problem, here’s my mock of what I feel we should do



An interesting thing, since I am admin on so many sites, closed never meant to me “end of discussion” … it is more “we are done with this topic”. So conceptually the lock was good and this change is … surprising.

I will live with this though for a few weeks and see how I feel, my knee jerk … why did you move my cheese… reaction here is I would have preferred changed the icon for secure categories.

But who knows how I will feel in 2 weeks.


Agree I want to live with this for a while. I think the glyph is clearer this way.