Scouting Forums

Subunit Private Forums (Den, Patrol, Leadership, etc)

How does one generate a Private forum for subunit discussions, such as Dens, Patrols, Unit Leadership, etc?


Sub-unit forums are not supported on the new platform - IT is looking at options - what I have done for my patrols is just make different threads for each

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Thanks for the prompt and clear reply!

It’s unfortunate at the moment. Communication is difficult, and a place for multi-threaded discussion for “teams” within a unit would be a huge help. That would include “ad hoc” teams for individual events, as well.

Well the truth of the matter is that in the old forum environment <0.1% of units even had one post in sub-unit forums - they were barely used.

I think that was just as much a factor of the format and user interface as anything else.

If they were going great, there was no incentive to move to Discourse!

This is a much better setup.


The current issue with creating sub-unit categories in Discourse is they can only be added by a Discourse Admin or Moderator. Discourse does not currently have a way to restrict Admins or Moderators to specific categories so we cannot allow Key 3 (for example) to be moderators. Discourse says they are looking into this capability. If it gets added, support for sub-unit forums becomes much easier.


That makes sense. Well, if your looking for votes, I vote for “unit” and/or “team” admins!

Agree, would be a great addition.

Thanks for sharing details on the limitations from Discourse’s end Ed. I agree with Nathan, these forums are MUCH improved and I expect them to get used much more. Especially now that SSO is in full affect and there’s an app for the forums.

You’re making great improvements. Keep up the good work. I’m hopeful on a long term solution here. Thank you.


I bet there are some super talented scouts and leaders who know how to use Hubot, Discourse, and APIs who could use what this guy did as a basis to build a bot that would manage this for us. Here’s a list of commands that could be possible:

(Commands sent as posts in category)
forum admin: Scoutbot add marcucci as category admin
marcucci: Scoutbot create subcat Patrol ABC
marcucci: Scoutbot delete subcat Patrol ABC
marcucci: Scoutbot add scoutmaster as category admin

Hubot manages who is allowed to issue each command and limits their power to matching categories. It then does all the sub-category creation via the APIs and an Admin token, totally secured from users.


Currently Discourse does not support category admins or moderators which is why unit admins do not have as much control of their unit forums as we would like.

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Right, this is what Hubot could do. It allows you to set up commands that can be executed by the bot (as an admin) but limit those commands with logic. It has dynamic roles you can setup like “category admin” then those people can ask the bot to execute the command. Since it’s connected to Discourse it knows who is who. It also knows if the person who asked the bot to do a task is actually allowed to ask for that task to be done, like creating subcategories.

I worked for a Fortune 50 technology company where we did this multiple times to get around this exact problem where the commercial system didn’t support permission granularity.