User selectable "make public" topic option?

Probably a pipe dream, but Discourse never ceases to surprise me, so I figured why not…

Is there a way to make a category publicly visible (read-only), but ONLY display those topics which the poster toggled a “make public”-type setting (else the default topic is only visible to members)?

Here’s the situation. We’ve been up and running for about four months. Everything is members-only.

It’s been suggested—internally and externally—that we make something publicly visible, because who in their right mind is building a business around a paid discussion forum in 2020, right? We’re cool with this, and have a category in mind.

Build Threads is one of our most active categories, where members are documenting their progress with ongoing projects. Most of these are vehicles, but it’s also a place where members might share their weight loss or business startup efforts.

Everyone loves the idea of making this category publicly visible (read-only), but everyone’s also aware that there are some build threads they’d like to remain within the privacy of our community.

I love how we could simply add a Public Build Threads category and let trust levels grant members the ability to move things to that space when/if ready. If there’s a chance we could grant users the ability to post members-only topics in an otherwise publicly-visible category, that might be better than having two categories for the same thing. Maybe it could be, like, "Allow tl0 access?

Thanks in advance. I know this is kinda crazy.


Depends who you want to let post in it. You can make two groups for one category so group A can for example create/reply/see and Group B can only see?

You can achieve this by changing category settings like so:


Right. That was the plan, but the need for some topics in the category to remain private is the issue.

Assume we make our Build Threads category read-only to visitors. Can we then somehow hide all topics within that category to non-members unless the poster specifically authorizes it?

Given a publicly-visible category, is there anyway make said public visibility optional and the topic creator’s choice? Should we just have two categories—one public, one private? Or is there another option I haven’t considered?


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No, there are no per-topic permissions that would enable individual topics in a category to be visible to different groups. The only thing which loosely falls into this category is PMs, and they are never public.

Access is set at a category level for good reason. Platforms which allow super granular permissions get super confusing very quickly. I still have nightmares about those permissions panes in vBulletin.


PMs to groups - potentially with tagging for a little bit of organization - is probably the way to go here.


This is what I thought, but figured I’d check just in case. Discourse consistently surprises this old forum jockey. :slight_smile:

We’ll probably implement a special, public-facing category for those who want to be seen. Thanks!

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Yes. Make Build Threads read-only and public as you wish. Create a subcategory called “members only”. If they want it private they post in the members only category. If they want it to become public, they re-categorize it into the public category.


Say, I like this idea. There’s still the issue of members needing to remember to select the right category when posting, but that feels like it could be relatively minor. We’re going to experiment with this.

Thanks, Jay!

So maybe add public/private to the category names so it’ll be obvious. And, really, there’s no reason to use sub-cats, so you could just leave the private one as it is and then create a new category called “public build threads” and people can move stuff there as they see fit.

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