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Query about “Participant” role on group site

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    Kelly Baker Josephs

    Hi everyone,

    I have a site linked to a group. Under settings for the group site (in the group section), I get the following options for members: “Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber.” But in the actual wordpress site dashboard, under user, I see members (users) listed as “participants.” Does anyone know what the difference is between participant and subscriber? I want most members to be able to read and comment, but not post (the posting members are already designated in the author roles).

    Thanks for any help/clarification you can provide,



    Hi Kelly – That is strange. I also have a group with a site and don’t see that. Can you provide a screenshot?


    Hi Kelly and Scott,

    I think the participant role might be related to the BBpress plugin.

    Kelly, do you have the BBpress plugin installed on your site?

    Maryann McKenzie

    Hi Scott,

    This is Maryann! I saw Kelly’s earlier note, and wonder how it became misdirected. As FYI, she’s one of the Academic Directors of the Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP); her email address is<>

    And please just let me know if I need to do anything.


    Maryann McKenzie
    Deputy to the University Dean for Recruitment & Diversity
    Office of Recruitment & Diversity
    The City University of New York
    395 Hudson Street, 5th floor, 041
    New York NY 10014

    From: Scott Voth (The Group for Group Admins) <>
    Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2021 2:25 PM
    To: Maryann McKenzie <>
    Subject: Re: Query about “Participant” role on group site

    Kelly Baker Josephs

    Hi Scott,

    I am new as an admin for the site (as Maryann points out, it’s the FFPP site) so it may be as Laurie suggests and we have a BBpress plug-in…except I am not sure how to figure that out. I’ve attached a screenshot of the users via dashboard on the site itself. I opened the drop-down of roles to show the various options.

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    Kelly Baker Josephs

    Thanks Laurie, I think this is the answer. I am still not sure how to tell if BBPress is installed (I checked plugins via the dashboard and it says everything is inactive), but I googled BBpress roles and they are what I’m seeing in the drop-down so, yay! It looks like I want non-authors to be “spectators” or “subscribers.”

    Thanks so much to everyone who responded!


    ?Hi, I don’t know if this is for me, I am running a reading and mini-seminar group for five weeks in the spring semester in CUNY Commons, every tuesday from 2:15-4 on Surrealisms, and it is listed as independent study in the PhD programs for English, Comp Lit and French — and am welcoming (thanks to Marilyn Weber) any participants from before who are interested, and adding two who inquired Eric Dean Wilson and Farah Smith,

    let me know if you need more information, thanks,

    Mary Ann Caws


    Mary Ann Caws


    Hi Maryann – I believe this is because you are a member of the Group For Group Admins and you got notified of Kelley’s topic.


    Hi Mary Ann – I believe this is because you are a member of the Group For Group Admins and you got notified of Kelley’s topic.


    Hi Kelly – I think Laurie is correct about the BBPress connection, but I looked at the page source of your site and didn’t see the plugin listed as active there. It might be that you used to have it and you deactivated it and some of it still remains in the site. (We have a lot of issues with BBPress.) If you want I can open a ticket and have Boone look at it. Let me know. Thanks.

    And just to confirm, the site is



    Yes, BBPress likely added those users as participants while it was active and has since been deactivated.

    As you suggested Kelly, you could convert those users to subscribers.

    Or, if those folks have no role on the site you could consider removing them from the user list (Even if removed from the user list on the site, they will still be able to see the site since it is public, they will just not be listed in the user dashboard.)

    Kelly Baker Josephs

    Thanks Scott and Laurie. I went ahead and just changed everyone to subscriber, though now that I see Laurie’s suggestion I may later just remove them as users. I have changed the group settings to (I think) no longer automatically adding new group members as users. If anyone else is doing this, pro tip: do that before you change the user settings on the site, as when I synced that change from the group, it changed everyone to author.

    Thanks again,


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