What are the 'Private spaces'? What difference with 'Categories'?

Hi all,

On this page are mentioned the ‘Private spaces’:

Make your entire site private, or just certain categories. Approve all new users, or make your site invite-only.

I have not found anything related to a ‘private space’ in the Admin Dashboard. Is a ‘private space’ really distinct from a ‘category’? Is it a different feature?

Do you mean this? :slight_smile:


I thought an example of a private space is the lounge and other restricted categories.

The lounge here is like an airline lounge that you can access at Trust Level 3 (TL3):

access a private “frequent flier’s lounge” category only visible to users at trust level 3 and higher


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Thanks but this is not what I mean :slight_smile:
No I understand that the word ‘space’ (in the About page) = ‘instance (of a forum)’.
As I am looking for access rights management and more detailed permissions like in the “traditional” phpBB forums, I double-check every feature related to this.

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Thanks @Remah , it confirms that ‘Trust levels’ and ‘Categories’ are the only features related to ‘access rights management’ and ‘permissions’ in Discourse.

Because the ‘administrator’ has full permissions (like a ‘super-admin’) while the moderator can even not create a category, an intermediate level is missing : a “normal” administrator.

Here is my situation : as “super-admin”, I create and deliver several forums. I would like to delegate their administration to other users, however they need more rights / permissions than the (current) ‘moderator’ level.


I haven’t seen anything in the release category that suggests something like this is coming.

I see you already found the topic on other permission schemes people that would like to see here:


This topic looks similar to what you want but I couldn’t tell if you had seen it (It is much easier to find where you have been if you like posts that you support):

Edit: Likewise with this topic:



Thanks for mentioning these two topics.
I have also found this one where I request for some feedback ; who knows…


Reviving this old thread since it is exactly my question, but doesn’t really answer it. What are Private Spaces? Can I create a discussion that is only available to nominated forum members e.g. those from same company or association or team? Would others (excluded members) be aware of this discussion? Does it require members to be Level 3 or above as per ‘lounge’ (I wouldn’t want to lose use Trust levels by overwriting Private Space members to L3)?

Can the Private Space have its own categorisation within the space? Could this mirror the main categorisation (but not be indexed into this)? Could it have its own custom/additional categories?

Apologies if this is covered elsewhere (feels like something that others may have asked about) but I can’t find it through search. Or maybe i have misunderstood the concept.

You can use categories to restrict access to custom groups.


You can also create “private spaces” by using PMs, personal messages, sent to groups or multiple users. Just be aware that other users can be invited by recipients with high enough trust level.

I’ve updated this post to answer your questions more directly.

This is not a Discourse term so we are talking about “private spaces”.

Yes, using groups and categories, as Falco says.

No. The other users cannot see categories that they are locked out of - to users who can access these categories they appear with a lock icon to denote they have access restriction.

Locked out users cannot see the list of topics within that category.

No, but AFAIK you could allow a category with access by trust level like the Lounge.

Yes, if I understand you correctly.

You can’t totally duplicate the main structure unless it only has categories without any subcategories. If you have categories and subcategories, i.e. two levels of category, then your restricted category will only be able to have one level below it.

What sort of indexing are you talking about: within Discourse or search-engine indexing?

What do you mean? It can have unique sub-categories.


Thx. Yea, that is the type of arrangement I had in mind. So, Private Spaces serves a different function.

Presumably I could create any sub categories I wanted within this restricted group?

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Groups and categories have a “N to M” relationship.

  • A category can be accessible to multiple groups.
  • A group can have access to multiple categories.

That’s not true, several years ago the Discourse site did the use of Site and Category access control under the title “Private Spaces” hence this topic.

Private Spaces

Make your entire site private, or just certain categories. Approve all new users, or make your site invite-only.


The phrase is included on features page - Discourse features | Discourse - Civilized Discussion - “Easily add Private Spaces” but I now recognise this is in an Admin context, as distinct from the custom groups.

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Almost certainly a holdover from the old page. Private Spaces (capital P and S) isn’t a discrete feature.


As the Discourse.org webpage linked to in the OP no longer refers to the term then maybe the OP should be edited.

The link in the post from Christopher above your latest reply still does:

I can understand the confusion created by the random capitalization. It implies a feature by that name. It’s nearly always worth checking links users include in their posts before attempting to correct them.


Yeah good point, that capitalization has been fixed.