Discourse moderation and privacy

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Discourse overview


Usually very little moderation should be required. There are moderators but by default moderation will be off for new posts and replies in all groups (except Announcements).

On Discourse there aren't separate moderators for each forum; instead there is just one set of moderators.

Note: in addition to Moderators, there are higher-powered Admin users who can change all site settings. "Admin" and "Moderators" are called "Staff" in Discourse parlance. There is also an "Announcers" group of users who can post Announcements (in addition to staff users) - see below.

Behind the scenes, Discourse also has 5 trust levels; we're not really using those. By default all volunteer users are on level 1 and can post topics and replies. In exceptional circumstances, a user can be put onto level 0 by moderators, which means any posts must be approved. This might happen if the user's account has been hacked for example.

Contacting the moderators

Anyone can contact the moderators by emailing volunteer-support@ilovefreegle.org. This is a separate mailbox unconnected with Discourse.

If you have concerns about a specific post then you can "Flag" it for the moderators' attention.

There is a private discussion group for the Discourse Moderators called "Discourse Mods". Note that Discourse admins can see all posts in there.

Currently there is also a private "Staff" group for admins and moderators, but this may not be needed.

Private messages disabled

Private messages could be enabled for users; however admins would be able to see all these messages; to avoid confusion, private messages are therefore disabled.

Moderators can still send private messages to each other and users. However this is not recommended - to avoid extra channels of confusion (which can be seen by admins).


The Discourse discussions forums will only be visible to Freegle volunteers with a ModTools account. This will be quite a few people, so please don't share anything confidential.

Please try not to share personal details of Freegle users on the forums - for example use their numeric user id rather than email address to identify them. Do not share personal details outside of the forum.

Your email address and the groups you moderate will be visible in Discourse to other volunteers.

Admin users can see all activity in Discourse, so private messages for users and private groups and teams are not used (apart from the moderators and staff groups as described above).

In accordance with our general Terms and Volunteer Agreement we will not pass on your email to anyone else.

Freegle will not use adverts on Discourse.

Special Notice Announcements

The moderators and announcers can send out a special notice by posting a topic to the Announcements group. If you are in Mailing List Mode or watching this group then you will be notified. You cannot reply to these announcements. You can switch off these notifications in your Preferences.

Note that there is only one Announcements group, so there aren't per-group special notices.


Admin users can impersonate any non-admin user on the system, including Moderators. This is intended for used to help the user. Each impersonation is logged by Discourse and can be seen by any Admin. Actions taken while impersonating are not specifically logged. A user cannot see if they have been impersonated but a log of all your Activity is available.