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Coming to Groups: Add Pages, change privacy settings and more 1

[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 privileges 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:

Coming to Groups: Add Pages, change privacy settings and more 2

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!