Trying to understand the fundamental purpose of Groups


  • I'm trying to I understand the fundamental purpose of a "Group" in a NodeBB forum.

    From what I can see... it seems to be an aggregation of existing forum users who all share the same label. By visiting the group page (like this one, for instance), it's literally just a feed of all the most recent posts those group members have made throughout the global forum, regardless of which category they've posted in.

    Being in a group doesn't give those users access to any hidden, private, privileged conversations that only those group members can see. The average user would never be compelled to pay for group membership, because a group doesn't seem to do that much.

    The only functional purposes I can see are:

    • Those group members might have some kind of elevated "status" within the community since they've been placed in said group (and if we're going to make this argument, it would probably be more effective to give these group members had some kind of optional "badge" over their profile picture to clearly indicate "This person is in ABC Group! Look how cool they are!").

    • If any forum user wants to see what all of those group members are posting, there's one central place to see the 10 most recent posts from these members (note that the feed stops after 10 posts... so the usefulness of this is quite limited).

    Am I missing anything? It seems like there must be something else...

    In my mind, and in a perfect world, the real purpose and value of having a group would be in giving those group members some kind of private or privileged platform to talk amongst themselves, having conversations that:

    • cover Categories and/or Tags that aren't visible to the rest of the forum (sort of like a sub-forum that only group members have access to)
    • cover Categories and/or Tags that are visible to the rest of the forum, but only the group members can post there

    ...almost like a private Facebook group, but without all the horrid distractions of Facebook.

    Do groups serve some other purpose that I'm missing?

    And does this kind of functionality exist within NodeBB groups and I'm just not seeing it?

    If not, what would it take to create this kind of functionality?

  • Global Moderator

    Privileges are tied to groups. You can create a category that a certain group would have exclusive access to. They're isn't a way to do this automatically, yet.


  • If we can use Newsletter plugin then groups are helpful.
    I've created some group so that i can send email only to them


  • @PitaJ by "exclusive access" - does this mean only these group members can make posts in this category (the rest of the forum can still see the posts, but not create posts)?

    Or does this mean only these group members can see the category at all (to those outside the group, the category and all posts within it isn't even visible)?

  • Global Moderator

    @retipster it means both of those things, depending on how you set it up.

    For only Group A can post, other users can view. Group A would have post, reply, view privileges on the category. Group "Registered Users" would have only view privilege.

    For only Group A can post and view. Group A would have post, reply, view privilege. Group "Registered Users" would have no privileges for that category.


  • @PitaJ - if I want my group to be hidden from the rest of the forum, and only group members can view and post in a certain category, how exactly do I set this up?

    So far, what I've done is:

    • Created a Private Group
    • Created a Special Category

    ...but how do I:

    • Hide that special category from the rest of the forum (so only the members of my private group can see and post in this category)?
    • Assign that special category to my private group?

    So far, I've checked in Settings > Group and I've checked in Manage > Groups and I'm not seeing any obvious places where I can hide a category or assign a category to a group.

    Are there any tutorials on how to do this?

  • Admin NodeBB

    Go to /admin/manage/privileges and select the category you want to make private.

    Then remove the read/write privileges from registered-users group and give them to your special group. Here is a sample for a private category form this forum.


  • @baris YES! This is perfect! Thank you for solving my problem!


  • @baris is there a way to control which posts show up on the group page (like this one, for example)?

    For instance, if I've set up a private group in my forum that has view and posting privileges in a hidden category, is there a way to allow only the posts from those group members, that were posted in that hidden category, showing up in the group feed?

    By default, my group feed shows the posts from those group members that have been made everywhere in the public forum (I can't find a way to limit this feed to showing only what's posted in that hidden category).

    Does that make sense? Is there a way to do what I'm describing?


  • @retipster A group restricted feed is a common request and makes sense to most people however at this stage there is currently no way to do this unfortunately. Maybe one day a generous individual will donate their time / money to make this a reality and pass it on to others.


  • @quokka - I would gladly donate the money to make it happen (assuming the cost is within my reach, of course). This would be a HUGE value to my community if it worked correctly, and I'm happy to pass along the improvements to anyone else who needs it.


  • Is there a way for an admin or moderator to invite outsiders (i.e. - people who haven't joined my forum yet) to join my forum AND join a private group through a single email invite?

    I see it's possible to invite existing members of my forum to a private group (if I know their username, as an admin, I can invite them through the group page), but I'm not seeing a way to invite outsiders via email only so they can join both the forum and the group.

    Is there a way to do this that I'm not seeing?

    If not, is this something that could be developed as well?

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    @retipster Always possible, the only limit is your imagination (or maybe physical limitations apply... we can't split the atom with NodeBB... yet)

    Just like last time, reach out to us, and we can discuss 🙂

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    @retipster said in Trying to understand the fundamental purpose of Groups:

    For instance, if I've set up a private group in my forum that has view and posting privileges in a hidden category, is there a way to allow only the posts from those group members, that were posted in that hidden category, showing up in the group feed?

    This would be something we'd be interested in adding to NodeBB core... maybe a group setting to define which categories to show posts in the list.

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