Announcing changes to Groups settings

In May 2019, the group management experience of Google Groups will be changing. To make it easier to manage groups, we'll be combining settings with similar functions, and removing some settings that are rarely used.

These changes will affect new and existing groups, and this article will help you prepare for the changes. 

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What’s changing

Member management settings will be merged

Member management includes adding, inviting, approving, and banning members. The following permissions will be merged into a single setting. Users who have the new setting turned on will be able to perform all of these tasks:

Setting name Location in the Groups Permissions UI This setting controls who can...
Add Members Moderation permissions Add members to groups.
Approve Members Moderation permissions Approve members who ask to join groups.
Ban Users Moderation permissions Deny membership to users.
Invite Members Moderation permissions Send email to users inviting them to join a group.
Modify Members Moderation permissions Change group members' roles.

How changes might affect existing users

After the merge, the new setting will be turned on or off for users, based on their previous settings:

  • On—Users who previously had all member management settings turned on.
  • Off—Users who previously didn't have all member management settings turned on.

Important: If users don't have permission to perform all the member management settings being merged, they’ll lose permission to manage members.

How these settings currently appear

Merged settings for Groups member management

Content moderation settings will be merged

Moderating content includes posting, approving, and deleting group messages and managing group conversations (topics). The following settings will be merged into a single setting. Users who have the new setting turned on will be able to perform all of these tasks:

Setting name Location in the Groups Permissions UI This setting controls who can...
Approve Messages Moderation permissions Approve pending messages in the moderation queue.
Delete Any Post Moderation permissions Delete replies to topics. Note: Authors can always delete their own posts.
Delete Topics Moderation permissions Delete topics.
Lock Topics Moderation permissions Prevent users from posting replies to topics.
Move Topics In Moderation permissions Move topics into the group or forum.
Move Topics Out Moderation permissions Move topics out of the group or forum.
Post Announcements Posting permissions Post announcements, a special topic type.
Post As The Group Posting permissions Post messages as the group instead of as an individual user.

How changes might affect existing users

After the merge, the new setting will be turned on or off for users, based on their previous settings:

  • On—Users who previously had all content moderation settings turned on.
  • Off—Users who previously didn't have all content moderation settings turned on.

Important: If users don't have permission to perform all the content moderation settings being merged, they'll lose permission to moderate content. 

How these settings currently appear

Merged settings for content moderation

Additional merged settings for content moderation

Content metadata settings will be merged

Managing content metadata includes tagging or categorizing content, assigning topics to members, and marking topics as favorites or duplicates. The following permissions will be merged into a single setting. Users who have the new setting turned on will be able to perform all of these tasks:

Setting name Location in the Groups Permissions UI This setting controls who can...
Unmark Favorite Reply on Any Topic Moderation permissions Unmark favorite reply on any topic.
Change Tag Or category Moderation permissions Edit categories and tags on topics.
Hide Abuse Moderation permissions Hide posts by reporting them as abuse.
Mark Duplicate Moderation permissions Mark topics as duplicates.
Mark Favorite Reply on Any Other User's Topics Moderation permissions Mark a response as a favorite in topics authored by other members.
Mark No Response Needed Moderation permissions Mark a topic as no response needed. This is useful if you want to separate topics that require responses from those that need no response.
Sticky Topics Moderation permissions Make topics appear at the top of the topic list.
Unassign Topic Moderation permissions Mark any topic as unassigned.
Assign Topic Posting permissions Assign topics to other users.
Enter Free Form Tags Posting permissions Create tags.

How changes might affect existing users

After the merge, the new setting will be turned on or off for users, based on their previous settings:

  • On—Users who previously had any of the content metadata settings turned on.
  • Off—Users who previously didn't have any of the content metadata settings turned on.

Important: When the settings are merged, users who previously didn't have some settings enabled will gain access

How these settings currently appear

Merged settings for managing content metadata

Additional merged settings for managing content metadata

Rarely used settings will be removed

The following settings are rarely used and will be removed:

Setting type Location in the Groups UI Setting name This setting controls... New behavior
User Global Settings Change Display Language The web interface display language for a user. Groups will always use the language selected in the user's Google account.
User Global Settings Canned Responses Whether users can use canned responses All users will be able to create and use canned responses.
Group Management Permissions >Posting permissions Post Who can post to a group This control will be available in Permissions > Basic permissions.
Group Management  Permissions >Posting permissions Have Custom Profile Pictures Which roles can set custom profile pictures Users who can set their own display name will be able to choose their profile pictures.
Group Management  Permissions > Posting permissions Edit Others Posts Who can edit other users' posts and topics No user will be able to edit another user's posts or topics.
Group Management  Settings > Moderation New Member Restrictions Whether new member messages are sent to the moderation queue

None; the functionality is no longer supported. However, if “New member restrictions” is turned on for a group, moderation of all messages will be turned on when the changes take effect.

Group Management  Settings > Tags Maximum Number of Tags The maximum number of tags that can be applied to any topic All groups will have a limit of 14 tags that can be applied to topics.
Group Management  Settings > Email Options Max Message Size The maximum message size for attachments All groups will have a maximum message size of 25 MB.
Group Management  Permissions > Posting permissions Mark Favorite Reply On Own Topic Whether users can mark favorite replies in their own topics If favorite replies are enabled, authors will always be able to mark the favorite response on their topics.
Group Management  Information > Web view customization Subject Length The maximum number of characters in the subject of a topic All groups will have a 250 character limit for Subjects.
Group Management Information > Content Control Track Orphaned Posts The tracking of orphaned posts for easy look-up None; the functionality is no longer supported.
Group Management  Information > Content Control Time Until Orphan The amount of time  without a reply before posts are automatically marked as orphaned  None; the functionality is no longer supported.
Group Management Information > General Information Disallow Posting After X Days With No Posts The number of days without a post before a topic is auto-locked None; the functionality is no longer supported.
Group Management Permissions > Posting permissions Add References Whether users can attach special content to posts, such as YouTube video embeds None; the functionality is no longer supported, but links to videos and other content will continue to work.
Group Management Permissions > Posting permissions Me Too Topic Whether users can "me too" a topic, indicating that they are interested in a response to the question or are having similar issues None; the functionality is no longer supported.
Group Management Roles > Create Role Domain Restriction The list of domains that members in this role must belong to None; the functionality is no longer supported.
Group Management Permissions > Basic permissions New Member Question The custom text presented to users when they ask to join the group Custom text will not be supported, but users who ask to join groups will see a justification field.
Group Management Information > Web view customization Display best answers above other replies Whether best answers are displayed above other replies If enabled, best answers will always be displayed above other replies.
Group Management Roles > Create Role Badge Display Whether a badge is displayed to other group members Badges will always be displayed to other group members.
Group Management  Permissions > Posting permissions Reply to Auto Closed Topics Who can reply to topics that have been closed automatically by the system None; the functionality is no longer supported.
Group Management Permissions > Posting permissions Use Canned Responses Who can set up and use canned responses for replies to topics If it's enabled, canned responses will be available to all users.
Group Management Permissions > Posting permissions Who Can Post With Rich Text Who can post using rich text formatting such as bold and italics All users who can post will be able to use rich text.
Group Management (API only)  None allow_google_to_contact Whether Google can contact you as part of specific marketing campaigns None; Marketing campaigns have ended.
Group Management (API only) None message_display_font The fixed-width size for font rendering on the group's web interface A default fixed width will be used.
The group directory setting will change

The group directory setting, List this group in the directory, appears in Group Settings > Information > Directory. Group owners and managers currently use this setting to make their groups discoverable, or to hide their groups from the directory and search results.

What's changing

This setting will change to provide more control over whether groups are discoverable. For example, owners and managers will be able to make their groups discoverable by anyone on the internet or by anyone in their domain. In addition, group members will always be able to view:

  • The groups they belong to in the Groups directory and in search results.
  • The About page of groups they belong to.

If a group is not discoverable, non-members won't be able to find it even if they have a link to the group.

How to prepare for the changes

Review your group settings before May

Review your groups and adjust users' permission settings before changes take effect in May. Make sure users who need to manage members and content have the permissions they need:

As an administrator, you can use the Groups API to get a list of all organization groups and group owners.

Review default settings for new groups

As an administrator, you can choose the default settings for groups created in your organization. If you don’t change them, the defaults for new groups will be the same as they are today.

Spread the word to group owners

Make sure group owners in your organization are aware of the changes to the group management experience. To help you communicate with group owners, use this sample email message.

Update apps & scripts that use the Groups Settings API

Along with changing settings in the Groups UI, we’ll be consolidating and phasing out related methods in the Groups Settings API. If you have applications or scripts that use the Groups Settings API, you should plan to update them in May 2019. Learn more about changes to the Groups Settings API

If you do nothing

Group members' permissions will change , depending on their current settings. As a result, some members might gain or lose permissions unexpectedly. Also, settings for your groups will be updated to conform to the new controls. Group owners will still be able to change the settings that apply to their groups at any point.

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