Public category in private forum

What would it take to make it possible for a private discourse instance to also have one or more public categories?

A use case would be that the primary purpose of the forum is internal communication in an larger organization but that organization might also engage with a community or the general public and a discourse forum could obviously facilitate that kind of dialogue too. I suppose the current way of doing this is simply to set up to instances, one inward facing and one outward facing, but that would entail quite a high “wall” between those two instances, making it impossible, for example, to quote public posts in internal discussions (apart from referring to the entire post) let alone to move an internal topic into the public forum. Also, employees would have to login to two separate forums which may be confusing for some. - So, in brief, it’s not ideal.

So I’d be curious to hear

  • what kind of workarounds people have developed for this kind of scanario
  • what it would take in terms of plugins or so to either partially drill open a private forum or to make that wall between two instances more permeable.

See also: Public question in private forum


Well the way we see it:

Categories = walls
Forums = houses

We generally recommend that if you need multiple houses, create 2 forums. If you just need to wall off content use categories.

In practice we never see this problem, we have 2 instances, meta … and a private home where our internal discussion happens. If we need to quote we can do so fine in multiple ways:

so I end up with a lot of bacon fat: How to make your own bars of soap - boing - Boing Boing BBS

Having your houses mixed up is risky business cause you lose out on having a proper safe place where you know that even if you pick the wrong category if you post a topic by mistake nothing terrible will happen.

The extra domain for your private house is a feature, and a great one.


Come at it the other way? One of my sites is ‘semi-private’ in that some Categories are restricted to TL0. Works for us.

Yes, but the problem is (only if that’s a problem, of course) that your membership lists, tags, groups and what not remain public.

1 Like

Same need here.
My forum is private clients-only but I’d like to involve also potential customers that can’t read private discussions.
I can invite them and force them to join the group “leads” but I’d like show them a specific category and specific discussions


And presumably the ability to see any users profile if you can see their avatar or guess their username?

1 Like

Curious to see if anyone has found a good solution. I have an invite-only community of professional insiders to share information on state of the art… I’d like to have one area public facing so non-insiders can ask questions. I’d like to not ask/force the insider community to join another board for this purpose.