Semi-Private Groups

I would like to have groups that can be seen in order to join, but I don’t want the list of group members visible.

My use case is this; I want to create private categories on my site which are run by other photographers (my site is about photography) and they can invite their clients to join this group to discuss subjects specific to this photographer and the workshops they have attended.

What’s wrong with public and allow membership requests: The head photographer (group owner) of this category/group will not want others to see who their clients are, this an open invitation for less than ethical people to target these people for marketing for their own workshops.

What’s wrong with visibility of Group Owners and Staff : As far as I can tell if you have the visibility set this way the group owner would have to first invite the user to join the site, then once they join (which they have no way of knowing if/when they join) they would have to manually add them to the group.

Side note: I am using SSO because my site is a combo of free/paid users. Otherwise it would be easy to send an invite and automatically add them to the group.

Option 1

Have the option in group visibility of Anyone with the link, members, group owner and staff similar to how google docs works. This would hide the group from /groups for non-members and would not show the group on the users profile.

In this scenario the group owner can send a general invite to their clients with a link to sign up for the site and the private link to join the group after they have joined. Not ideal, but at least the group owner doesn’t have to add them manually.

Option 2

The ability to hide the list of group members and activity from a single group page. This way I could use public and allow users to request to join. It would be fine to have the group listed on /groups , but the list of members cannot be displayed. With this option turned on the group would not show up in the users profile either.

I acknowledge both of these options are complex and it’s unlikely it will be implemented for my very specific use case, but it’s worth a shot!

If anyone has ideas of how to achieve this otherwise I am all ears.


Seems like a reasonable request to me, what do you think @sam?

Basically a setting that allows people to join but doesn’t display the list of members until you have joined.


Even after joining should the members be visible? If not this is just a private membership, right?

The members would be visible in general, but I want any reference of them being in this group to be hidden. The group owner, members, and admins should be able to see the group and who’s in it.

Ok so what’s to stop someone catfishing a group to access the membership list? Private memberships typically meant even the members can’t see a membership list.

Because the members will only be approved by the group owner who knows who these people in person and won’t accept anyone they don’t know. A private link to the group would be more ideal, but I’m assuming this would be much harder to implement. For my use case just hiding the group members would be enough.


Is there any hope this will be implement into core? I assume it’s something that could not be achieved with a plugin? Thanks

Without a customer asking for it I imagine it’s a lower priority.

If this is something you need urgently have you considered posting an outline and budget on #marketplace?


This would be nice, but I would be interested in making the actual group page private so the viewer has to click Join Now & sign up in order to view the group page, with or without all the members of that group showing.

Maybe one option could be to make the actual page of the group private.

Another option could be to make the member list private.


You can already do this by changing the group “visibility” level setting in URL /g/GROUP_NAME/manage/interaction.

1 Like


Thanks for the note, however, it doesn’t accomplish what I am looking for!

The functionality I am looking for, is for the Groups to show on the Groups page, but

in order to see the group, a person would need to join the group.

So all the groups would show here, but would need to be joined in order to be seen.

I am surprised because it seems theres no way to have a private group while allowing people to join the group.

What I am describing is actually how most closed/private groups work all over the internet, Facebook Groups work this way. See subtle engineering traits Public Group | Facebook

It’s private so I have to join the group in order to see the content of that group. So instead of all the Group Badges on the Groups page being clickable to the group, they would need to join the group first.

I hope this clarifies the functionality I am looking for!



@davidkingham it’s done. Now groups have a setting to control members visibility.

@unschooling thanks for the details. As per the above new feature, most of the group page details will be hidden (except mentions) when you restrict members visibility level. I think it can serve your purpose. Anyway, I will check the possibilities of a new setting to hide the whole group page.


Thank you Vinoth! I just updated to latest but I do not see this setting, is there another setting that would prevent this from showing?


What exactly is the new feature that was added?

As it works now, the entire group is either hidden so no one can even join it or its public and anyone can see the entire group. My main concern is I only want group members to be able to view a groups page,
while still allowing people to join just like the Facebook Group example above.

What way did you have in mind that would serve this purpose?

@davidkingham the commit was not pushed to the tests-passed branch. It should display if you update now.

Currently, each group has 4 non-member viewable pages. As per the above feature, if you set
Who can see this group members?” setting’s value to “Group owners, members” it will hide 3 of those pages (Members, Posts, Topics) from a non-member user. So users can’t see those pages before joining the group.

Non-member viewable pages
  1. Members
  2. Posts
  3. Topics
  4. Mentions

Closing this as it is complete :confetti_ball: