I figured it out from going through the code. I guess hidden groups are deliberately not populated in userGroups. Seems like it'd be helpful to have an extra flag for groups that determines whether or not it's selectable as a title aside from hidden (maybe I don't want the group or list of members to be available publicly but still want to use the associated title) but it might be too much of a corner case for me. For now, I've unhidden the groups that I really needed and made sure to disable join requests on them.
Set group permissions or privileges for core chat plugin?
Is there any way to set privileges for chat plugin just like you can do for categories? or set privileges on any plugins?
We want to setup a paid subscriber group and only allow this group access to chat or any other useful plugins which we do not want to make available to regular registered users?
Ah ok, so it doesn't exist. Found this feature request post: https://community.nodebb.org/topic/9603/chat-only-for-selected-groups/3
Are you talking about the shoutbox plugin or the core chat?
@PitaJ the core chat, thanks.