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[Note]: This release is now live.

Groups are about to get a whole lot better.

Later next week, we'll be rolling out a slew of improvements to the Groups feature, one of the most popular features on the Ning platform. We're doing this based directly on feedback from Creators.

First, groups creators and administrators will be able to add static pages to a group. Added pages will be featured prominently on the group's home page, which will make it easier to share knowledge or information with group members (or potential members).

Second, group creators and administrators will soon be able to change the privacy settings of an existing group. Today, privacy settings are locked and unchangeable when a group is created. You'll soon be able to change this at will. We've also redesigned the privacy settings to be a lot easier to use and understand.

Lastly, we're enhancing or fixing a slew of issues and flows within the Groups feature, including:

  • Adding "Alphabetical" as a way to sort groups on the list of groups on a Ning Network
  • Limiting group deletion priviledges only to group moderators, network admins and Network Creators
  • New members of groups will no longer, by default, get notified when other people join their group
  • Better warning message for members viewing invite-only groups
  • Better warning message for members who've been suspended from a group

Keep reading for a full breakdown of what's coming for Pages in groups and privacy settings.

Pages inside Groups

[Note: This feature will only be available to English networks initially, and all networks in the coming weeks, once we've translated the feature into all languages.]


Perhaps you want to add a schedule for a group that is dedicated to fans of a particular baseball team. Or, maybe you want to create a list of important lesson plans for a class-based group. Instead of having to start a discussion in the group and share documents, group creators and administrators will be able to create a static page and simply add the information there. This enhancement should make Groups more versatile and powerful.

Pages within a group will act just like a normal page, in most respects. The creator of a page can choose to enable or disable comments, and the page will be accessible via the group's home page. Note that any pages added within a group won't be added to a Ning Network's "All Pages" directory. To avoid confusion, group pages will stay in their own group.

There's nothing Network Creators need to do to enable this feature. It will be available to all group creators and administrators when this release is complete, athough group members won't see anything different until a page is actually added.

There's no limit to the number of pages that can be added, so group creators have ultimate flexibility in creating Groups Pages.

Redesigned, changeable group privacy settings

As long as the Groups feature has been around, privacy settings for each group have been locked immediately after the creation of that group. Additionally, in terms of privacy, someone in the process of creating a new group has always seen a single "Privacy" setting. Additional options (like being able to make a group invite-only) would only appear after a group creator decided to turn on member moderation. We've tackled both of these issues for this release.

Groups creators and administrators will be able to change the privacy settings for a group at any point in time, for both new and existing groups. This adds a huge degree of flexibility to the Groups feature.

On top of allowing settings to be changed at any time, groups privacy settings will soon be a lot easier to use and understand. Instead of today's settings where there exists that single, expandable privacy choice, we've sliced each choice a group creator makes — who can view, who can join and who can send invites, as well as member moderation — into separate options:



This change allows group creators and administrators to create a group that anyone can see but only invited people can join, or an invite-only group where members still have to be approved. These, along with some others, are configurations that aren't available today.

These changes should make the Groups feature much more useful and flexible. And stay tuned: There's more to come!

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Replies

  • CHANGE FROM ORIGINAL TO FOLLOW-ON "CREATOR"

    I've said it so many times.  Here in the forum and on tickets.   I feel like a  broken record. 

     

    Our groups regard "creators" as "heads of committees" -- over time changing to new persons.

     

    We've been threatened, sued, maligned when we tell the original creator that we're sorry, but Ning won't allow us to remove their name and give the group to somebody else.  Ning tickets once told me that the only solution was to create a new group with the new person in charge, manually transfer must-keep data, and then delete the original group.  NOT!  Some of our groups are 2-3 years old.  

     

    If we can't TRANSFER (cf. this used to be an issue with Site Creators) from one group creator to a new group "creator", at least enable the HIDING of the group creator's photo and byline.  

    • I ABSOLUTELY AGREE 10000000000%.  At least enable a hide function.  Seriously, Ning, this issue has been brought up so many times in recent years and yet it is somehow low on the priority list?  Not only is it embarrassing to have the wrong person shown as the Group Creator, especially when that person is either the Site Admin that started the group to jump start membership, but when the OC is no longer an active member, it just looks plain stupid and unprofessional - oh, and confusing to newer members.

       

      C'mon Ning, you have been doing a decent job since the switch-over, and I am sure you have glorious plans for creative features, but how hard can it be to create a hide function to assist with a problem that your paying clients have been asking to have fixed over and over again?

      • Hey Steve!

        We looked into this, but as you point out, this couldn't be universal — we'd have to make this optional, which made this a much larger project and hence lower priority.

        /Evan
        Ning Product Manager

        • No disrespect intended to you and your team, and I am really not being a smartazz here, but your reply indicates that the team can only handle simpler, universal features in the project queue?  Better to churn out many smaller/easier features rather than implement requested bigger(?)/harder features?

           

          At some level, as a project manger, I understand the re-prioritization.  However, when multiple paying clients continue to make the request over and over, the size of the project should take a back seat to customer service.

           

          Additionally, in this case, the lack of the requested feature, or the lack of even the suggested feature band-aid (hiding) should be a higher priority for the reasons I stated above - the embarrassment and unprofessional nature of the resulting consequence.

           

          What I find a bit funny is that, unless I am misinterpreting your use of "universal", some admins complain about the lack of customization of Groups - which would lead one to believe that having an un-customizable template would actually make it easier to implement template features.

           

          Either way, please reconsider the queue position of the request, or at least give us the band-aid.

           

          Thanks.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Les. This discussion is all about this set of new improvements to Groups, but it seems like this discussion may have run its course and turned into a different discussion. 

      • Am I wrong to be reading your reply as a "thanks, but no thanks" reply?  Feeling dismissed.

  • My biggest concern with the groups is lack of ability to edit the appearance. I assume that the template I have precludes us from filling in the white space at the top. I don't want to change the template. Is there any way get help to edit the group appearance? We have sub groups that want to make it their home page, but it's lacking because we can't make any edits. Does anyone know what to do?

    • Hey Josh!

      Thanks for raising that point. Custom group design is something we want to add in the future. I've added your vote to the requests.

      /Evan
      Ning Product Manager

      • awesome ill vote too

         

  • Ning should allow group members to add pages i think this will cover all the request made about adding events, videos and so on on groups if Ning adds the ability for group admins to enable group members to add pages.
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