Restrict who you can PM based on Groups

Hi Discourse Community!

We’re using groups and categories to restrict what users can see/which forums they can participate in. This is mostly for privacy reasons/so that people aren’t inundated with topics that do not apply to them.

However, we’ve noticed that when you @mention people, or when you private message them, you can actually tag (or reach out to) any user on the platform. With the @mention, you get a warning saying that you’re mentioning someone who doesn’t have access, which is super helpful. However, for private messages, it’s very hard to find the correct person to reach out to. Often people have very similar names/usernames, and we’ve had problems of people messaging the wrong person without realizing it.

We were wondering if you have a solution for this use case. Our idea was to restrict who you can PM, allowing only staff + people in the same groups as you. Is this possible? Is there a different/better work around?

Thank you!

1 Like

It’s not at the moment, no.

We’ve had a few requests lately to make groups ‘private’ so that only group members know who is in the group. I think that would make a lot of sense for several use cases.

Your request for limiting PMs to group members would be a natural extension of that. I’m not sure if we’ve actually road mapped this though. @jomaxro can you remember?


I don’t believe limiting PMs to group members is on the road map at this time. Groups can be private though, simply set Who can see this group? to Group owners, members and admins.


Yeah, I’ve mixed things up a bit here with my words. Sorry about that.
The request I’m thinking of is to make a group visible so that people know it exists, but to hide who is in it.


For clarification, on our end, we already restrict who can see the group, by using precisely the setting that Joshua mentioned. I don’t think we care about people seeing who is in the group (since we only show groups to members/admins). But it would be vastly helpful to be able to restrict who you can message based on group memberships, because we’ve had a number of messages sent to the wrong person.

Another thing that would help here is being able to have more than 6 people show up in the dropdown so that people can scroll down and find the correct user. Dunno if that’s closer on the roadmap.

It would indeed be very useful to be able to restrict personal messaging by group.

In fact it would be most useful to be able to restrict PMs to their Primary Group (as set in the User Profile).