PMing suspended members

(Sorry - not sure if this is the best category.)

Somewhat to my surprise, you can PM a suspended member. Nothing pops up to say “sorry - member is suspended for the next 200 years, so don’t hold your breathe waiting for a reply” or anything like that. (It does take you to their profile page, where the suspended message is displayed, but how many users intent on sending a PM will stop to read that?) If an ordinary member PMs a suspended member, no notification e-mail is sent, but if a moderator sends a PM, the e-mail is sent (which will annoy them if they try to log in to reply…).

Equally oddly, you can invite a suspended member to participate in an e-mail discussion - again, with no warnings or error messages. As far as I can tell, no e-mail is sent in these circumstances, whether the invitation comes from an ordinary member or a moderator.

A more consistent approach would seem to be called for here. My suggestion would be to completely disable PMs and invites for suspended members.


This is as designed. It is common for staff to suspend a user and then PM them telling them why the staff member suspended them. We added this behavior (staff PMs go through to suspended users) for this reason because it became a problem on active Discourse instances.

I have never heard of any Discourse instance where accidental PMs to suspended users was a problem.

We generally work on the basis of reported actual problems rather than theoretical problems.

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Then why do normal (non-staff) users have the ability to still PM suspended members? Shouldn’t the PM button only appear for staff users in that scenario?


How would you hear about it? If I have email notifications turned off, or if my PM doesn’t send out a notification, because I’m not staff, who would report this? From what I’ve read of @TechnoBear’s initial post, a regular user’s PM generates zero notification (unlike a Staffs PM). So they don’t get back a response? That’s when it is considered an actual problem… or did the person just ignore them?

I’m a bit confused on how you can deem this theoretical when all proof given up to this point shows there isn’t a way for a typical user to ever report this scenario (which to me, means it is an actual issue and easily repo’d).


If the suspended member has e-mail notification enabled in their profile, then they receive an e-mail if a moderator sends a PM:

Not helpful, because they can’t respond as advised.

If you really think there’s a place for moderators to send PMs to suspended members, OK - but as @cpradio says, it should be disabled for ordinary members, and the ability to invite a suspended member into a PM conversation should also be disabled.

And I’m also confused as to how this issue would be reported in an “actual” instance.

Surely the purpose of testing is to discover potential problems and eliminate them before they become actual issues?


That’s a fair point, @neil can you make it so the PM button only shows up on a suspended user if you are a staff member?

I absolutely do, yes. The entire reason we have the feature is that this actually happened – a real moderator on a real Discourse site tried to PM a user they had just suspended. It never got sent, but they thought it did… which led to a lot of real world confusion on both sides.

I’m much more interested in hearing about real situations on live sites than theoretical problems.

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Is there a simple fix for not allowing suspended members be invited into other topics/PMs? Should that be a separate conversation? I think it is less of an issue as the person doesn’t receive any notifications of the invitation, so they’ll never join, but it is misleading to the person setting up the invitation/discussion as they felt they did invite them…

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I think you missed what TechnoBear was getting at.

It’s not that Staff should be able to PM a Suspended member, they should be able to and in fact can.

The problem is that the PM says “to Respond visit …” but the member can not visit and so can not respond.

In cases where the Suspension was appropriate and just, then responding or not will likely make little difference.
But if the Suspension was wrong or debatable, then the member should be able to defend themselves, preferrably without needing to jump hoops.

These tests were not theoretical, we did more than think “this will happen if we do such and such”, we have tested using real accounts. Test accounts true, but real accounts.


Doing this:

and removing the line from the PM causing this:

will sort everything.

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I made this change today. Enjoy!


Thanks, @neil. Has that also removed the possibility to invite a suspended member into a PM discussion? (I can’t check, as the change hasn’t updated on our system yet.)

No, I missed that case.

We can probably suppress all suspended members from any autocomplete scenario, unless you are staff.


Fixed. Suspended users won’t show up in autocomplete inputs, unless you’re staff.