Limiting private messaging - workarounds? Talking points?

saramaloney Vanilla Ice Cream

Has anyone limited the ability to use private messaging to certain groups?

As we try to get our clients to all allow their employees on our community, this is one of the legal concerns we run into — clients are concerned that we can't monitor 1:1 private messages on Vanilla.

When I tested this a few months ago, it appeared that even though I could grant people the ability to private message based on their rank, we ran into 2 issues:

  1. This would be very manual to maintain
  2. Even if XYZ user did not have the ability to private message others, someone could still send a private message member XYZ

Has anyone run into this issue? Any suggestions (workarounds, talking points, or otherwise)?


  • BrendanP
    BrendanP HLV Staff

    I don't have a complete answer but wanted to comment on a couple parts of your post. It certainly would be nice if we could have members opt out of private messages altogether. It's an older idea but it would be worth mentioning your use case here:

    In terms of being able to monitor private messages, it's probably not scalable but what's lesser known is support can add an extra configuration setting to your site to provide Admins/moderations the ability to view a member's inbox. You could reach out to support if that would at all help get around some of the legal hurdles.

  • saramaloney
    saramaloney Vanilla Ice Cream

    Thank you @BrendanP ! I'll talk to my CSMs to see if that would solve the issues they're running into.

  • Shauna
    Shauna HLV Staff

    Hey @saramaloney — you mentioned limiting PM's by rank, I wanted to make sure you knew that you can also do this by role, the Conversations → Add permission:

    This would make it so they cannot initiate conversations, but can reply to someone else who did initiate the conversation.

    Another option would be to point users who would rather not receive private messages to mark their profile as private (unless you'd still like to show this), then if a user clicks on their avatar from a post view they will see this usercard:

    This way there is no way to message that user. Read more:

    One more thing I would mention is that if you restrict the ability to initiate PMs, you may want to make sure you provide an alternative way of contacting the community team (usually via email) in case help is needed (a pocket or widget or footer would work).