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Members-view-only groups option on here?

Just looking at another group about sexism and it came up again that our groups are open to Google search even though they are only able to be posted to by WS members.

There are exceptions, such as en primeur groups.

I have a proposal that certain groups should be able to be elected to be also non-searchable. For example, maybe if on a sensitive subject such as mental health, workplace stuff, other things we may end up talking about where we really do not want it searched, and we want to have a degree of privacy assured.

I think this might be a good option to protect members from being searchable by e.g. workplace or others. As someone who knows a bit about privacy and (and the way our data can be mined) I think this might be a good possible modification of the Community.

Wondering what people think about that…


I think that is something worth following up on.


I think you are right but would it be too complicated?

Would you need to elect to join a type of thread / group then anyone starting a thread that contributors might prefer wasn’t globally available to anyone with Google? Thread initiators would then need to categorise correctly (could it be amended after the fact?).

@laura / @Kelly what are your thoughts and is this in the general remit of the community or should we only post something we are totally comfortable being on permanent, public record?


I think the details need to be worked out - maybe you elect to have it as a ‘private’ group at the start - maybe the subject matter will help one decide. But yes, these are interesting questions and I know there are unintended consequences of any design.

Hi all,

Thanks for this - it’s a great and valid suggestion. :+1:

We can in theory create a ‘Members only’ category and make that content private - I’ll just need to check we can do that without asking everyone to ‘join’ in order to view its content (like we do with the en primeur discussion group) or if I can make it so that anyone who is a logged in member can see it automatically.

This could then be used whenever someone started a topic they felt was particularly sensitive (and we could in some cases move existing topics there if people feel strongly).

We generally try to avoid making Community content private, because this is a great resource for wine lovers (and frankly a brilliant benefit of Society membership that I hope will help new members find us via search!) but there’s definitely room to help keep certain discussions more private.

I’d also advise against revealing personal details like your place of work here too - this is part of our Community Guidelines to help keep you all safe. :slight_smile:


Do you mean not google indexed and therefore not searchable by non-members of the community or do you mean only searchable by members of the community that are signed to a particular topic/category. Happy with the former less so with the latter.

I think it’s the former as it was specifically mentioned that it didn’t want to be only people in a group but rather only community members. That certainly seemed to be what @laura was suggesting she investigate.

I am sure you can assign trust levels to a caregory. Would it not solve it?

I have no in-principle objection, but I am struggling to think of anything I’m willing to discuss here that I wouldn’t want non-community members seeing. The reason is that I self-censure when I post anywhere on the internet, regardless of privacy settings, and will continue to do so regardless. If you don’t already, I’d suggest you at least consider doing the same.

Remember that TWS has many Members who could sign up here - and there will be many more Community members than the regular posters. It is quite possible a colleague or aquaintance is here too “under the radar” .

Also information posted privately can leak out though error or unthinking future TWS policy decisions, and the more complex privacy settings are the easier it is to cock them up at some point. I don’t want to cast doubt on TWS’ Community team in particular, but they are all human, and I know of at least one other wine forum where a policy change has exposed views to search-engines that were originally expressed “in private”.


Good points raised all round. I’ll have a proper look into this next week and we can start trying some things out!


Sorry - I didn’t see this! Yes, the former. I thinnk we’re in agreement. :grin:

We certainly are in that case.

Well out of my knowledge zone. But I’m whole heartedly in favour of TWS Community NOT being searchable by Google (et al) - those webcrawler bots get everywhere.

As an example, my company website is deliberately unfindable by search engines. Deliberately so. Nothing dodgy, I just don’t want to deal with unsolicited enquiries.


I support this proposal

Sorry for the delay on this - but I was just setting up a new category where only members can read and post before I realised we already have one!

A blast from the past, set up by our good friend and Community founder @robert_mcintosh way back in 2017, under the Membership category - it’s called Members Only:


Everyone from Trust Level 1 upwards can read and post there, and content is excluded from the Community search bar. I don’t know for sure if it’s excluded from Google, but I would imagine so, and I can try to find out…

So while there’s a degree more privacy there to discuss things that might be more personal to you like mental health, I really want to remind everyone that there are well over 5,000 members on this Community (and the potential for all 150K+ of you to sign up!) and anyone who is logged in can read topics in this category - so it’s definitely not private.

I hope this helps, though!