Manage community membership

Some communities are intended for employees and managers across team, division, or organization boundaries so members can exchange information that is relevant at all levels of the company hierarchy. Membership in other communities might be more tightly controlled because the content is strategically sensitive or narrowly focused. You’ll undoubtedly want users to find and join those communities that are relevant and beneficial to them, but you’ll also want to limit discoverability in some cases. Access and discoverability are determined by the ways you configure membership permission and approval.

Consider these four types of communities and the membership permissions that go along with them:

Type Description Permission Approval Setting
Private community A community for sensitive information where you want to limit participation to specific users or groups. Grant Member permission only to those individuals or groups who are appropriate. None
Closed community Everyone can view the content but only members with approved membership requests can contribute. Grant Visitor permissions to everyone. Require explicit requests to join. Enable access requests
Open community with explicit membership Everyone can view the site and receives automatic approval upon joining. Grant Visitor permissions to everyone. Require explicit requests to join. Enable auto approval
Open community Everyone has membership and can contribute to the community without having to explicitly join. Grant Member permissions to all. None

As you can see, it is the combination of permission and approval that determines how accessible your community is to users.

About auto approval

Enabling auto approval ensures that anyone who joins the community will gain access automatically without an administrator having to manually approve the request. When you enable auto approval, you are enabling it for the community itself, not for membership in a particular group. Therefore, if you decide to enable auto approval, you’ll want to give some thought to how permissions are handled. Auto approval is generally suitable for open communities where there are no restrictions on who can or can’t participate.

If you elect not to use auto approval, you will receive an email when a user clicks the Join button on your community. Once you receive the mail, use the People and Groups settings on the Site Settings page to assign the new member to the appropriate community group.

Enable auto approval

  1. From the home page of your site collection, in the Community tools web part, click Community settings.
  2. In Auto-approval for permission requests, check the box next to Enable auto-approval.

 Note    The Enable auto-approval option is available only for communities that are root site collections and not available for community subsites.

Disable auto approval

  1. From the home page of your site collection, in the Community tools web part, click Community settings.
  2. In Auto-approval for permission requests, clear the checkbox next to Enable auto-approval.

Manage community group permissions

A community site collection comes with four user groups, and each group has a different permission level:

  • Community members have contribute permissions, which enable them to start discussions, reply to discussions, earn reputation points, and nominate replies as “best reply.”
  • Community moderators have moderate permissions, which allow them to create and manage discussion categories, monitor and act upon member complaints, gift badges to members, and determine reputation ratings.
  • Community owners have full control over a community. The can create and delete communities, assign permissions, participate in discussions, gift badges to members, and perform moderation tasks.
  • Community visitors have read-only permissions. They can follow discussions but must become members before they can participate in discussions.

Assign users to groups

  1. From the root of your site collection click Settings Small Settings gear that took the place of Site Settings. > Site settings.
  2. On the Site Settings page, under Users and Permissions, click People and groups.
  3. In the Quick Launch menu on the left side of the page, click More.
  4. Click the name of the group to which you’ll add members.
  5. On the People and Groups page, click New.
  6. Under Add people, type the names or email addresses of the members you want to add. You can also add distribution lists here so large groups of users are granted permission all at once.
  7. Click Share.

Monitor community membership

The community moderator, site owner, or site collection administrator are the only ones who can manage community membership.

  1. From the root of your site collection click click Settings Small Settings gear that took the place of Site Settings. > site settings.
  2. On the Site Settings page, under Community Administration, click Manage Members.
  • On the Community Members page notice that several different views are available:
    Members View: Displays member information, such as photo, name, and discussion statistics. This view can be sorted alphabetically or by top contributors. This is the same view that’s available to all members via the Members link in the Quick Launch on the left side of the page.
  • Admin View: Includes photo, name, and join information along with a tally of the member’s discussions, replies, best replies, and reputation score. Also lists any badges that have
  • New Members. Shows members who have recently joined. Clicking the member name or photo will take you to their My Site profile.
  • Elipses (…). Provides additional view options such as Top Contributors and Single Member View. The single member view displays a record of ongoing activity by member.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Midsized Business, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise