Private support categories: staged users can email in, but not registered users

I’ve set up a private category for support emails, as detailed in How to Use Discourse as a Private Support/Ticket System and Start a New Topic via Email ✉. It works great for unregistered (staged) users, but it doesn’t for anyone who has already registered (except moderators): their emails are rejected as they don’t have access.

This seems to me to be a common enough problem that it would’ve come up before. Is there any way to make it so emails belonging to registered users can still be received to the private category? TBH, when I saw the “Accept emails from anonymous users with no accounts” setting I didn’t expect registered users to be able to do less than non-users, but I can sort of understand why it would be programmed as it is. Still would make more sense to me that if that setting is enabled that emails from anyone would be accepted, even if they belong to a user who doesn’t have access.

Or if we need to be able to receive support emails from other registered users, do we need to set it up to use PMs instead? Does the category option only really work when everyone who may need support won’t be registering to the forum?

I went with a private support category because I feel like PMs are a little bit hidden away in Discourse. But if we have to go with them, we will. Maybe we can expose them more.

And this is really a question for both options, but if we get in an email from a registered user, and their email settings are set to “never”, will they not get emails with the replies? Or does discourse track that this particular topic/PM need to send all replies as emails? Maybe this won’t work well for us in general…

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You are making bad choices here.

PMs are used because they offer per-topic permissions.

Categories do NOT offer this. In order for a category to work every user must be added to a group that has permission to see the category. So you would be granting visibility to the entire category, and all topics in that category, to every member of the group. That doesn’t make any sense.


Mail enable a group and use their inbox. That’s what the feature is for.


Okay, it seems like groups has to be the way to go. FWIW, someone else has just had the same problem. I’ll look at editing the howto to say that the category option will really only work if the forum is closed to public registration/only users will be company staff.

With groups I still have two concerns.

One is if a user can’t access their account, but also has email notifications for PMs turned off. I assume they won’t receive an email reply to their email in? We’ll just have to be aware that it’s a possibility. And a likely one - most users won’t email unless they can’t access their account.

Second, is that I’d love it if messages were more prominent. Making it so that they’d appear in the latest/unread pages would be great. If it doesn’t already exist I might see about making a plugin/theme component to do that myself.


Ok. So I think groups is working perfectly.

best and thank you all,


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