As we have begun using Discourse more and more as a support platform we noticed a missing component that was seemingly needed. Currently in Discourse if you want to restrict access to a topic to certain people you must transition it to a private message or category with specific groups and permissions.
The challenge however with this existing methodology in a support type installation, is that you lose the ability to have all staff (unless invited) see the topic, you lose visibility on solved status in a category and there is no way to assign a category to the topic. By losing category assignments, things end up on their own, unless you tag things as well .
Private topics are intended to fill that gap.
Customer Jim submits a support request for his installed software, he uploads his contact information to the topic which shows publicly. All staff members need to see the topic and it must be traced back to category Product B for analytics and metrics.
Staff member John marks the topic as private. This removes access to the topic for all users except Jim and staff and keeps it in the existing category. Additionally it is unlisted from the main display.
Restrict access to topic for non-permitted users
Suppress topic from main topic list
Invite additional users to the topic (working on this now)
we had to disable the plugin, it caused private messages to not be accessible by admins anymore.
In addition when posts within topics were set invisible by a moderator, the whole topic became inaccessible for every user (except staff).