What is the purpose of a group? What can we do with it?


I understand how to manage the settings of a group, how we put in private and public. But I don’t understand the purpose because we can just see the activity of the member and that is ?

To be relevant, we have a create a category and put a group or it? If we just leave the group like that ( without category), what is the purpose ?

Thank you for your help

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Think of working for the CIA and everything is compartmentalized.


Content security. It allows you to control who can see and who can change what. Doing this individually would be too much of an overhead but managing by group makes it efficient.


We have a content more secure when we put some people as proprietary of the group, no ? is it what you are saying ?

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For your user population it may or may not make sense to hide some Categories or perhaps determine if some people are allowed to post and others not.

It really depends on the community, the information and the use case.

e.g. You have some information you prefer to only share with high trust users. Or some information just for site staff. Or company management.

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Ok i understand, so if I am correct, the group is relevant when we put in a category ?
Thank you for your answers


That’s their primary use, yes, but there are a few other uses. I’ll let others elaborate.


Ok thank you, just one think, if you put the group in none of categories, it’s not relevant at all, it doesn’t do anything, am I right ?

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The other post give good examples, here is another.

Image a Discourse site for use with high schools around the country that have teams competing in a national competition such as FIRST ® Robotics Competition. (ref) Now instead of each team having to spend time setting up a communication channel, they all join a single Discourse site. To keep the individual teams from seeing the details of other teams, each team is put into a group and the group is given a separate category for posting only visible to that group.

But users can also be in more than one group, lets say school district and state. So these could also have a category for them. Also if a category is not tied to a group then everyone can join in.

Make sense?


You can also do stuff like set titles (for eg site staff) and ‘flairs’ which are little icons that identify members of a group:

So when posting people know which group they are a member of.


Oh yes I understand, so like I said earlier ( I prefer to say several times because I want to be sure I am right and I understand all) if the group have no category it’s not relevant to do a group ?

“If a category is not tied to a group then everyone can join in” Ok I understand but if there is no category, what is the purpose of the group, everyone can see the members, the activity of each people and that’s it ?

Thank you

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It might be relevant to create a group if you wish to have a special set of people identified with a ‘flair’ on their avatar. That’s up to you.

Some groups are special, like moderators or admins, and that determines who can do certain actions.

But this also includes users, who are automatically added to the higher trust level groups if they engage in the forum in the positive way once they meet pre-determined criteria. You don’t need to do anything for this to happen. This gives the users access to richer functionality (e.g. ability to change title of another User’s Topic).

My suggestion would be to stick to the out of the box groups first. You will know when you need your own bespoke groups.

If you don’t think you need a new group, then you probably don’t.

As soon as you hit a situation where you want only a subset of users to see some information, you will definitely need a group. You might need to create a group if an automatically generated, default group is not suitable.


I use groups for different purposes. A few one were already described: limiting access to certain categories, allowing a non-staff group to facilitate a specific category, identifying certain user affiliations…

Another goal can be to create a collective email where anonymous people can send a message, e.g.: a general contact group, a support email, etc. Once you have a Contact group with associated email contact@discourse.example, any member of the group can reply, and a whisper conversation can happen within the group before replying to the original post while keeping track of which group members read or replied to a specific message.

I also use groups to remember the origin of new people joining the forum, e.g., creating a group for an event and making all users who join the forum during this event a member of this group.

On the SocialHub we have several groups for teams that can be associated with category moderation or specific tasks: it’s often easier to address a group than specific individuals when people collaborate or user count gets too high to keep all people in mind at once.

Some plugins can take advantage of groups, e.g., discourse-policy or polls can limit response to a group.


For me, this is a big deal.
We were using a category for certain topics.
But in Topics, you don’t know who has or had not yet viewed a post to which he didn’t reply.

Topics have no read receipts. Groups do.
For that SOLE reason, we created a group for that same topic and moved all the topic posts there.

Surprisingly and beautifully, who had read immediately became available as if we had used groups right from the onset.

What I’d still like to know is if there is a maximum number of members a group can have. For example, can a group have 10,000 members? 500,000?

I’ll appreciate an answer or link to this.

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I don’t know. Maybe @HAWK can find someone who does.

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If you look at the code for groups, i dont see any limitations.

So your group can have as many members as what is on your site.

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How does this work, can someone please elaborate?

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Do they mean this?