Best way to create a subforum for a subset of users only?


New member
I had the need to create a forum node/subforum for a subset of my users (30 persons). It worked, but the process was somewhat annoying. So I am looking for best practices (or maybe I did not fully understand the idea behind usergroups)

What I did:
Obviously creating the forum-node first. Then I wanted to use the feature "accessible for named persons only" but it turned out that I had to add the users one by one and for each user had again to go through the checkboxes, setting the individual rights for the according forum for that user.
What I had expected was the possibility to add a bunch of usernames at once, possibly seperated by commas and with autocomplete. Is it just me or should this be a feature request?

So I gave up this attempt in favor of creating a user group, having the assumption that this would be a quicker way and less prone to failure/misconfiguration. It turned out that for a user group I had so set every single right setting that is possible within XenForo (including i.e. Gallery and Ressources) despite those not being relevant for my scenario at all. I had the - obviously wrong - assumption that user-groups could somehow be nested, so I could set a limited set of rights only for a group. As this was not the case and the desired right levels were not at all different from those of my normal users I would have been great being able just to copy an existing user group (like my standard user group for forum members) with all their settings - just that this is not possible. So by creating it manually from scratch I possibly created inconsistencies in rights due to the high number of settings to be done.

So I had created my usergroup successfully and gave it the permission to access the new subforum in question. Now I had to add the users, 30 people as you remember. Once more it worked a bit awkwardly-
What I had hoped was to add them in groups dialogue, again as a list of users, again with autocomplete. Instead I had to go to the list of all users, search every single user and check the checkbox for the usergroup as a second usergroup for the person. Again a timeconsuming operation.

Furthermore it turned out that this did not work for forum admins. I tried to add a forum admin to the group and XenForo told me "wrong password" (despite there should be no password necessary and apart from that I wasn't asked for a password at all). So I assumed it could be an issue because this admin might have enabled 2-factor and there could be strange coincidences and I tried to add myself (obviously I am also an admin). Same failure. So this seems to be kind of a bug or at least misleading error message. I was able to solve that by granting the admin group explicit rights to the forum but this was rather a bit of a hack than a clean way of dealing with groups and permissions as I know them from other software and operating systems.

In the end I succeeded but it was awkward, time consuming, everything but straight forward and prone to misconfiguration.

Is there a better way? Assumed I had to do things like that more often or with bigger number of users this would be really annoying.
I have several subforums for sub groups of users.

I just make a special usergroup of the same name and assign the special permissions to see and use the related group. In some cases, where it is a public group, I'll even assign a special banner to go on their posts that says they are a member of said sub group. You don't have to change EVERY permission, only the ones granting special access. The rest it inherits from the "registered" group. Be careful about clicking NEVER, because will revoke access.

Then check it on for those who have access, in their user record.

For anyone else, they won't even know the sub group exists.

It works like a champ!
Usergroups is the best way to approach it; create forums, create matching usergroups, then just limit the forum access to it’s respective usergroup, and add people to groups using the additional usergroup option.

This also gives you the flexibility to make the forums private/public viewable.
Some reading on permissions which should help.

Top Bottom