Unable to paste in a list of message recipients, hard to write to groups of people privately

I’m not sure if this is a bug or a feature request, but I am hampered by the inability to paste in a list of message recipients when composing a new message.

I want to create a series of private messages for the same group of about 20 learning exchange participants, and also allow them to easily start conversations within the group to have conversations, on a range of topics, amongst themselves. I don’t want to use the group inbox functionality because it’s not suitable for this purpose, and I also don’t want to create a private category.

The procedure now is to type in a person’s username, wait for the autocomplete and choose the correct user, hit enter, then do the next one. This was particularly painful on mobile yesterday, and even on my laptop today it seems unnecessarily cumbersome and even error prone.

Also, I am still in Tanzania where the internet connection is quite slow and the autocomplete takes a while to show up.

I seem to recall that it used to be possible to choose a group name and then it would explode out a list of individual recipients that could then be reviewed and added to/removed from as needed. This went away when group messaging was introduced. Maybe a solution for me would be an admin setting to toggle the group inbox for specific groups? If it’s off, it adds group members individually as recipients.

This other feature request would help mightily, but also seems a bit like a workaround:

I’m confused, why not simply allow the group members to pm the group, then you can just type the group name and be done


Because my members find the group inbox functionality confusing, and we don’t always want to create groups to be able to allow people to talk privately together in different combinations. In this case we don’t even have a group set up yet.

So what you would like is something like the “bulk add to group” input but for messages?

Maybe. It just seems to me I should be able to paste in a bunch of usernames separated by a space and have it work.

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Well, the “bulk add to group” is a textarea that uses newlines not spaces.

But I think that as long as it could be squeezed into the UI somehow it might be possible.

Personally I would still want it to have an arbitrary “sane” limit so it wouldn’t get abused.

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I think this would be a great solution. :rocket:

I totally agree. :thumbsup: Not sure what the limit should be - maybe an admin setting like this one, e.g. “max number of recipients allowed in a private message”.

I do think the limits should exclude moderators/staff and maybe optionally by trust level via admin setting.

It could be an admin setting like this one, e.g. “min trust to send messages to unlimited number of users”.

Is there currently a max number of users who can be included in a private message? I actually have a use case right now where soon I will have to start a PM to 60 users.

I am fine with adding general support for pasting space separated user lists into the UI the target user UIs

Just like GMail does


GSoC opportunity, perchance? This would be a great addition, and timely for us too.

This is exactly what I’m talking about. :rocket:

@LeoMcA asked me elsewhere for more on why I am not satisifed by just using groups and private categories and want to be able to paste in a space separated list of usernames to write a group PM.

Group categories are a good alternative, and we do use them. In fact for now this is the approach we take for private groups that we create to talk and network in smaller groupings of people for various ongoing purposes. But there’s still always a bit of confusion between groups and categories in our community. It’s gotten a bit easier now that we can turn off the group inbox but I still worry about it. That said, private categories for groups is more sustainable and scalable than pasting in lists of message recipients as well, because then people can be removed and added as time goes on to stop/start having access to the messages. When these private categories are well managed, as well, they generate alot of amazing discussion that can then be selectively moved into public topics in coordination with the people in the group.

However, being able to paste in a list of message recipients would enable us to be more nimble in quickly reaching out to a selection of people for whatever reason on an ad hoc basis, without having to create groups and categories first. We often want to tell people about an issue or region specific opportunity, for example. It seems like a no brainer to create a filtered list from our contacts, export their usernames and then paste them into the message recipients list when starting a message. Right now we have to use email for this which feels like moving backwards. :slight_smile:

(I actually was just looking at trying to find an osx script that somehow keyboards in a list of usernames in a way that discourse likes - no luck yet. If anyone knows how to do this, let me know. It seems to just want the username, then a tab, then the next username.)


Did this ever get addressed? I can’t even paste in one recipient into the list on the latest Discourse.

My use case is that I’ll have someone send me the username of someone that I need to contact, and I need to quickly author a private message. Paste not working here is pretty frustrating.

hmm… I just tried pasting in a comma separated list of email addresses and it appears to have worked. See below. What happens when you try to paste? Can you share a screenshot or short video to demonstrate?

Ah, interesting. So this works for me but only after I manually select the username field, but that field appears to be waiting for input as soon as the message window loads.

Here’s a short video. If you look carefully, you can see the Edit menu flashing as I repeatedly try to paste into the field:

So maybe what’s deceptive here is that the cursor is blinking in the username field, even though it is not actually focused?

What version of Discourse are you on?

2.8.0.beta4. Looks like I should upgrade…