At some point you might want to create a hidden category, should it be to offer your super users a space where they can chat with you and each other, or for having a closed Beta / Research area that you can use to conversate with a selected group of users. This topic will explain you in more detail which steps are necessary, along with some tips & tricks to make sure that everything will go according to your plan.
So where do we start?
First we need something that we can use to identify the group of users, so that we can allow that group to view and engage within a hidden subforum. This is being done by the help of custom user roles. In order to do this, you need to go to the Control Environment. You can find the setting under Settings > USER User Role
Here you will need to create a new Custom Role.
Title: Simply enter a Name that you want to give to the group you want to give access. They will not see it, it is just for reference / management in the Control Environment.
Edit rights: Feel free to give them unlimited editing rights, if you think you can trust them with it. Should you invite random users that you do not know yet, then leave it at 60 minutes.
Permissions (User has access to): Most of these settings are only to grant / deny access to certain areas in the Control Environment. The only thing that might be interesting for you would be the right to upload files to a post. You can activate this if you think your users will appreciate this.
Save the newly created role so that we can continue with the next step:
Creating the hidden category
Now you will need to create a new category. In this first step, it will not visible to anybody besides you and your colleagues. Simply go to the [Platform] in your Control Environment, and select [Community]:
Once you are in the overview, you need to select the location where you would like to create the new category.
Where should I create the new hidden category?
Well, that depends a bit on what you want to do. As the hidden category will only will be visible to the users that you provide with the right to see it, don't be too afraid to put it in the first category at the top of your community. Check the spoiler for more info!
- Super user categories are often located in the very first parent category, next to the "Welcome" or "News & Announcements" categories.
- Should you intend to run a Beta category for e.g. an App that you already have a (regular) category for, then you might want to add the Beta category next to this product subforum.
- In case you want to create a whole set of hidden categories, then you can also think about creating a hidden parent category full of hidden categories. No worries, if all categories in a parent category are invisible to a user, he/she will also not see the category then!
Setting up the permissions for your category
While creating the category, you can set up a few things. Of course you want to add the Name, a description, a Banner- as well as a Thumbnail image.
Tip: Disable that activity in this category adds to the statistics of a user (and the community):
Otherwise you might get inconvenient questions from other users. ;)
When we look at the permissions, you should only make it visible for your Community Team, as displayed below. This way, only you will be able to see it:
Note: If a user is allowed to see something, another permission will not overrule it. So for example if a registered user is allowed to see a category, a custom role that does not allow it will not change that.
Giving your users access
Now that we have set up everything, you can go to the [Users] page in Control and search the users which you want to give access. Open a user profile and switch on the Custom Role (right side of the user profile page):
Then save the change.
Once you have added the Custom Role for all the users that you like to add, you can go back to the Category settings page and edit the hidden category. Simply switch on the permissions for the Custom Role you created, and save the changes.
Some last tips that might help you with your project:
Communication / Invitation
Invite your users via private message before you give them access. Tell them why you invite them, what they can expect and highlight the benefits for the user.
Depending on how sensitive the information within a hidden subforum is, you might want to have them sign a non-disclosure-agreement. This way they will know that you seriously don't want them to share anything outside of this category.
Just like with your community, you want to have a "welcome"- or "intro"-topic in that newly created category. It explains clearly what to expect and also sets the tone of voice. Make it sticky so that it won't get buried underneath other discussions.
Got a question or a concern about your plans for a hidden category? Or do you happen to have an awesome tip that you are missing from this topic? Share it with us in the comments!