@psychobunny that was exactly the trick. I have updated the repo and everything seems to be working pretty well right now. Very pleased with how it is turning out!
The only seeming major block left is a problem with privileges. If I remove the
read privileges from non-group members, NodeBB prevents them from seeing the "frankensteined" category/group view. I merged both views, so the user seems the same thing at both
/category/:cid/:slug, and both are restricted from viewing if the
read privilege isn't given to a user.
My solution was to give the access but strip the topics out from the JSON response before sending to the client. One major problem -- they are still visible in the Recent and Popualr feeds. This tells me my solution is not really robust enough.
Any thoughts from anyone on how to get around this? I need to be able to embed a category topic list inside the group view and still let non-group members view the group page to join (without of course seeing the topics until they are a member).
Here's a screeenshot of the frankensteined view: