Allow members to send private messages to any members, not just friends

I am creating a private network that will only have a limited number of members.  At the moment, members have to become friends with someone before sending them a message.  In the case of my network, this is an unnecessary and frustrating limitation, and what will likely happen is all members will end up befriending each other so that they can send messages whenever they want, which will make the friend system just an annoyance for everyone.

Would it be possible to give NC's the choice between allowing members to send messages to: (a) nobody; (b) friends; or (c) all members?  Obviously option A would effectively turn messaging off, option B is the normal situation, and option C is what I am after and what would suit small, intimate networks.

This would seem to be in line with the new Ning philosphy of giving NC's control over how we want to manage our communities.

Is this easy to do?

Does Ning have a philosophical reason for not wanting to offer this option?

Do other NC's think this would be a good option, even if you don't necessarily need it yourself at this time?

And while I guess I should have asked this first, is there already an option to do this that I missed? :-)

EDIT: Changed discussion title to more accurately describe the feature request. Most early replies to this discussion were based on a more misleading title, and assumed I was requesting that all members be allowed to send MASS messages to all members - which I am not - although I still believe in the idea of giving NC's as much control as possible, and not withholding features that they do not trust us to use. We know our networks and members better than anyone! :-)

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any update here?  will they ever allow member sending private messages to another member without "friending" first? 

I'm with ya! GIve us the power to decide if we need "Friending" or not on "OUR" networks. Please. I get complaints frequently, I have even had members leave because of it. Communication is aweful within a network when you throw a road block in there such as "Friend" before being able to contact someone. Most my members tell me it's a childish concept to have to "Friend" someone to message them. It's getting old.

Please Ning

John

I'm jumping in to voice my support here. I have a growing community and just brought in a person to act as Community Manager. Unless I am missing a setting in the Role I created, she can't message anyone privately until they are friends. It is very bad when the person in charge of making sure things run smoothly in the community can't actually get in touch with the person she needs to talk to immediately.

It's been a while since I first replied on this. We're giving Ning one more year, we're probably going to construct our own network. The other thing we would like to see is when someone sends that mass email, that the email can be replied to as opposed to no-reply. If anyone wants to talk about what features they would like to see email me at help at aligned dot com.

im bumping this too, need this option

members keep asking how come they can not send message to 'non-friends' and i have to bs them that this is additional antispam - prevention :( while in fact i have 0 spam on my network.

Our network is thinking seriously about ditching ning over this

Gee, this is really bad. I'm evaluating Ning for potential use for several new Online Communities we're planning to build in coming months. I just read thru all the items on this thread - three pages worth - starting with the September, 2010 posting by Marc; who made a good argument that requiring Members to "Friend" someone before being able to send a PM, should be an admin (and/or Member) toggle.

Dozens of other commentors in this thread also pointed out why this makes good sense, from their perspective and per their experience. I think the case has been so solidly made, in these suggestions to Ning spanning the last year-and-a-half, that there's little need for me to add more. This one should be a no-brainer - Ning needs to allow NCs and Members to determine where "Friending" should be required re: PMs. Simple message blocking plus admin ability to warn and ban Members, are adequate controls for many Online Community scenarios.

I am so disappointed to see that Ning has not responded to the comments on this thread by revising  "Friends-PM" functionality appropriately.  Such new toggles could easily be added, and NCs that want to keep the status quo setup, could.

The last commenter on this thread (just before me), said, "Our network is thinking seriously about ditching Ning over this."  Well, I hate to say, "Ditto," but...this one will probably be a show-stopper for at least one of the OCs I presently have in mind, perhaps all three. Ning, seriously, there's the need here to be more responsive and just go ahead and improve platform functionality. This would be a simple one to add, and the "private message spam"concerns" voiced by one Ning staff member earlier (same topic, different thread) simply don't add up. Just read thru the prior three pages of comments on this thread, to validate that.

Ning got bought. New management not interested in user requests.

Our network desperately needs the ability to switch off the "Friend-Only" private messaging system.
It is severely hampering and curtailing the growth and popularity of our otherwise successful network.
We also get lots of email about how silly it is.
We don't have spam on our network because we pre-approve members.

Ning,

Any chance this will be approved?  Facebook and LinkedIn allow this in their Network.  Why not for Ning? 

This is becoming an issue in my network as well. Please reconsider this limitation, it's doesn't make sense to many people. 

This is really not a reasonable limitation, which makes is even more frustrating.

Consider the fact that user can post pubic messages on the forums, on each other's profiles, and that the can use the chat feature. This is many times worse than getting spam as private messages. 

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