Changes to Groups settings on May 6, 2019

Beginning on May 6, 2019, the group management settings for Google Groups will change. To make groups simpler to manage, we're combining settings that have similar functions, and removing some rarely used settings.

The changes affect existing and new groups, and this article helps you prepare for the changes

Release dates

 


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What’s changing

Latest updates—March 19, 2019

Updates to settings

Based on your feedback, we've changed the plans for the following settings:

  • Post as the group—Remains a separate setting (not merged into the Moderate Content setting).
  • New member restrictions (located in Settings > Moderation)Remains a separate setting (not removed).
  • Take topicBeing merged into the new Moderate Metadata setting.

Tools for checking settings

New features in the Groups Settings API 

On March 25, 2019, we'll introduce new API features. You'll be able audit your groups, update settings, and see how your permissions map to the new settings using the Groups Settings API

New API features will include:

  • View and update all the settings being merged.
  • View who will receive the new settings at launch time. For example, the API will return the value for "Who can manage members," which will take effect after launch. After the Groups settings launch, the API will support applying the new settings.
  • Check if a group has a custom role that's included in one of the settings being merged. If your groups have custom roles, you must review the group settings in the Groups interface. The Groups API might not return accurate values for settings. Learn more about custom roles.
  • Check whether a collaborative inbox will remain turned on for a group. After the Groups settings launch, the API will support turning on collaborative inboxes. Learn more about collaborative inboxes.

Resources

New settings & changes

We're merging group settings that have similar functions. Instead of the current 20+ settings to manage membership, content, and metadata, you'll have 3 new settings:

  • Manage Members 
  • Moderate Content  
  • Moderate Metadata 

For example, if you turn on the Manage Members setting for group members, they can add, invite, approve, ban, and assign roles to users. Currently, you must use 5 separate settings for the same functionality​.

NEW SETTINGS FOR GROUPS
Manage Members Moderate Content Moderate Metadata

This setting includes these permissions:

  • Add Members
  • Invite Members
  • Modify Members
  • Approve Members
  • Ban Users

This setting includes these permissions:

  • Approve Messages
  • Delete Any Post
  • Delete Topics
  • Lock Topics
  • Move Topics In
  • Move Topics Out
  • Post Announcements

This setting includes these permissions:

  • Change Tag or Category
  • Take Topic
  • Assign Topic
  • Unassign Topic
  • Sticky Topics
  • Mark Duplicate Topic
  • Mark No Response Needed
  • Hide Abuse
  • Enter Free Form Tags
  • Unmark Favorite Reply on Any Topic
  • Mark Favorite Reply on Any Other User's Topics

How the new settings work

  • The new settings grant all of the merged permissions to a user.

  • You won't be able assign an individual permission that's been merged. For example, a user can't have only the permission to invite members. 

  • All of the permissions that are merged, such as Add Members and Add Topic, will no longer be available in the Groups interface.  

  • Only group members will be able to move topics into the group or create tags. Any other users (for example, all users in your organization) will no longer have the permissions, Move Topics In and Enter Free Form Tags. 

The next sections explain the new settings and how to prepare for the switch. 

How changes affect group roles, users & collaborative inboxes

Roles

The new settings will be automatically turned on or off for members based on their roles (and current settings):

  • OWNERS—As before, group owners will be able to access all settings that apply to their groups. 
  • MANAGERS—Settings will be turned off or on for group managers, depending on their current settings. However, managers can turn on the new settings by themselves. 
  • MEMBERS—Group members might lose or gain permissions because of the broad scope of the new settings. For some groups, you might want to turn off the new settings for members. Or you can create a custom role with the new settings and add specific users to the role.
  • CUSTOM ROLES—Group members might lose or gain permissions because of the broad scope of the new settings. Review the current settings for the role and decide if you want to turn on or off the new settings (similar to members). 

Users

The new settings will be automatically turned on or off for users based on their current settings:

  • Users who manage membersUsers must have permission to manage all the member management settings being merged. Otherwise, they won't have the Manage Members setting turned on.
  • Users who manage contentUsers must have permission to manage all the content moderation settings being merged. Otherwise, they won't have the Moderate Content setting turned on.

  • Users who manage metadataUsers must have permission to manage at least one of the metadata settings being merged. Also, all the metadata settings must be turned off for users who don't need the new Manage Metadata setting.

Tools for checking settings

Collaborative inboxes

At a minimum, you will need the Manage Metadata setting turned on for a collaborative inbox to function. Make sure group members have at least one of the content metadata settings being merged

Learn more about collaborative inboxes.

New Manage Members setting

The new setting, Manage Members, will control who can add members to a group and change a member's role.

The following permissions will be merged into the Manage Members setting. Users who have the new setting turned on can perform all of these tasks:

MANAGE MEMBERS
permissions 


the permission controls who can...
Add Members Add members to groups.
Approve Members Approve members who ask to join groups.
Ban Users Deny membership to users.
Invite Members Send email to users inviting them to join a group.
Modify Members Change group members' roles.
These settings are currently located in Permissions > Moderation permissions

How changes might affect members

At the release of the new settings, the Manage Members setting will be turned on or off for members, based on their previous settings:

  • ON—Members who had all the member management permissions (listed in the table) turned on.
  • OFF—Members who didn't have all member management settings turned on.

Important: If members don't have all of Manage Members permissions, they’ll lose permission to manage members at the release of the new settings.

Any settings that are set to None selected are ignored. For example, if a user has some Manage Members permissions turned on and the remaining Manage Members permissions set to None selected, the new setting will be turned on.

New Moderate Content setting

The new setting, Moderate Content, will control who can post, approve, and delete group messages and manage group conversations (topics).

The following permissions will be merged into the Moderate Content setting. members who have the new setting turned on can perform all of these tasks:

MODERATE CONTENT
permissions


the permission controls who can...

Currently located in Permissions > Moderation permissions
Approve Messages Approve pending messages in the moderation queue.
Delete Any Post Delete replies to topics.
(authors can always delete their own posts).
Delete Topics Delete topics.
Lock Topics Prevent users from posting replies to topics.
Move Topics In Move topics into the group or forum.
Currently located in Permissions > Posting permissions
Move Topics Out Move topics out of the group or forum.
Post Announcements Post announcements, a special topic type.

How changes might affect existing users

At the release of the new settings, the Moderate Content setting will be turned on or off for users, based on their previous settings:

  • ON—Users who had all content moderation settings  (listed in the table) turned on.
  • OFF—Users who didn't have all content moderation settings turned on.

Important: If users don't have Moderate Content permissions, they'll lose permission to moderate content.

Any settings that are set to None selected are ignored. For example, if a user has some Moderate Content permissions turned on and the remaining Moderate Content permissions set to None selected, the new setting will be turned on.

New Moderate Metadata setting

The new setting, Moderate Metadata, will control who can tag or categorize content, assign topics to members, and mark topics as favorites or duplicates.

The following permissions will be merged into the Moderate Metadata setting. Users who have the new setting turned on can perform all of these tasks:

MODERATE METADATA permissions


the permission controls who can...

Located in Permissions > Moderation permissions
Take Topic Take topics. 
Mark Duplicate Mark topics as duplicates.
Change Tag or Category  Edit categories and tags on topics.
Hide Abuse     Hide posts by reporting them as abuse.
Sticky Topics Make topics appear at the top of the topic list.
Unassign Topic Mark any topic as unassigned.
Mark No Response Needed     Mark a topic as no response needed. 
Unmark Favorite Reply on Any Topic     Unmark favorite reply on any topic.
Mark Favorite Reply on Any Other User's Topics Mark a response as a favorite in topics authored by other members.
 
Located in Permissions > Posting permissions
Assign Topic Assign topics to other users.
Enter Free Form Tags Create tags.

How changes might affect existing users

At the release of the new settings, the Moderate Metadata setting will be turned on or off for users, based on their previous settings:

  • ON—Users who had any of the content metadata settings turned on.
  • OFF—Users who didn't have any of the content metadata settings turned on.

Important: Because users get all the permissions included in the Moderate Metadata setting, some users might gain access to metadata settings they didn't have previously

Changes to the group directory setting

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 groups from the directory and search results.

What's changing

This setting provides more control over whether groups are discoverable. For example, owners and managers can make their groups discoverable by anyone on the internet or by anyone in their domain. If a group is not discoverable, non-members won't be able to find it even if they have a link to the group.

In addition, group members will 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

Learn more about the directory setting.

Changes to group email footers

Group email footer settings appear in Settings > Email options. Group owners and managers use these settings to choose what appears in a group's email footer. 

What's changing

We're removing some predefined footer text. By default, every email footer will include: 

  1. Instructions to unsubscribe from the group
  2. A link to the message URL 
  3. Any custom text you add (optional)

Also, you have a new setting, include only your custom text in the footer. 

Change

Settings

New behavior
None Add custom footer text No change. You can add your own text to the footer. 
New Disable Google Groups Footer Footer only includes any custom text you added. 
Removed Display how to unsubscribe Footer includes steps to unsubscribe from group. 
Removed

Display URL of the msg

Footer includes group URL for the message. 

Removed Display how to post Footer doesn't include posting instructions.  
Removed Display group URL Footer doesn't include a link to the group URL .
Removed Display opt-out URL Footer doesn't include instructions to opt out of Google group invites and messages.

Recommended actions 

Before May 6, check your footer settings. If you want a footer to include steps for posting to the group, or a link to the group, add this information to the custom footer now. Then turn off the related footer settings. 

Settings being removed

We're removing settings that are rarely used, such as the setting for who can post rich text messages. Also, we're removing obsolete features and their settings. 

Removed permission New behavior
New Member Question
Permissions > Basic permissions  
No customized text message. Users who ask to join groups will see a justification field to fill out. 
Badge Display
Roles > Create Role   
Badges always displayed to other group members
Change Display Language
Global Settings    
The Groups interface always uses the language set in the user's Google Account.
Use Canned Responses
Permissions > Posting permissions    
All users can use canned responses 
Who Can Post With Rich Text
Permissions > Posting permissions  
All users can post using rich text.
Canned Responses
Global Settings (set by user) 
A user can create and use canned responses
 
Edit Others' Posts
Permissions > Moderation permissions    
No user can edit another user's posts or topics.
Best answers
Information > Web view customization 
 Best answers always shown above other replies.
Have Custom Profile Pictures
Permissions > Posting permissions
Users who can set their own display name can also choose their profile pictures.
Maximum Number of Tags
Settings > Tags

Up to 14 tags can be applied to a topic.

Max Message Size
Settings > Email options
Messages have maximum size of 25 MB.
Mark Favorite Reply On Own Topic
Permissions > Posting permissions
If an author has the Moderate Metadata setting, they can mark the favorite response on their own topics.
Subject Length
Information > Web view customization
Groups have a 250 character limit for Subjects.
Time Until Orphan
Information > Content Control
Functionality is no longer supported.
Track Orphaned Posts
Information > Content Control
Functionality is no longer supported.
Disallow Posting After X Days With No Posts
Information > General Information

Functionality is no longer supported.

Add References
Permissions > Posting permissions

Functionality is no longer supported. For existing posts, links to videos and other content will continue to work.
Me Too Topic
Permissions > Posting permissions
Functionality is no longer supported. Previously, users could tag a topic, "me too" indicating that they’re interested in a response or having similar issue.
Domain Restriction
Roles > Create
Functionality no longer supported. Group members are not limited to a list of specific domains.
Reply to Auto Closed Topics
Permissions > Posting permissions
Functionality is no longer supported.
allow_google_to_contact
Groups API
Obsolete. This setting gave Google permission to contact you as part of specific marketing campaigns, which ended.
message_display_font
Groups API
A default fixed width is used for the Groups interface.

What do I need to do?

Review your group settings before May 6, 2019

Review your groups and adjust users' permission settings before changes take effect on May 6, 2019. Make sure users have the permissions they need to:

Tools for checking settings

Settings to check

  • Ban user settings—Depending on how you created a group, Ban Users might be set to Owners, even though the default is Owners & Managers. If this is the case, Ban Users will be set to Owners when the new settings are released. If you want to use the default, change the Ban Users setting to Owners & Managers before May 6.

  • Footer settings—Before May 6, check your footer settings. If you want a footer to include steps for posting to the group or a link to the group, add this information to the custom footer now. Then turn off the related footer settings. Learn more about changes to group footers

  • Default settings for new groups—As an administrator, you can choose the default settings for groups created in your organization. When the new settings are released, you might want to update the default settings. 

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. As before, group owners will be able to access all settings that apply to their groups.
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 by May 6, 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 managers can turn on or off any of the updated settings for themselves. Group owners can change any settings that apply to their groups at any point. 

Resources

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