A case for no private groups?

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Contributor

I wanted to get some community input on this... we are getting ready to launch Yammer soon, and I received an inquiry from our security team recently asking if there was a way to force all Yammer groups to be public.  It got me thinking, is that actually a good idea?  My initial reaction is a strong "no", but I'd rather get some insight from people who have been using Yammer for a while.  Here are some of the questions I am trying to answer:

  • Is it even technically possible to force all groups to be public, or disable the private option when users are creating a group?
  • What are some benefits to having private groups?  
  • What risks exist with allowing private groups?
  • What mix are people seeing in their environment of public vs. private groups?

I'm looking forward to seeing opinions on this topic.  Thanks in advance!

Brian

3 Replies
I don't know of any way to prevent someone from creating a private group (listed or unlisted).

Working out loud is the main point of Yammer but teams do have good reasons to have private groups also. For example our IT department has wide open groups for technology topics and to help people, then private groups for only IT staff to manage operations, and then an unlisted group for senior IT managers.

I don't see any risks to private groups. A network admin can access them. And can export conversations from them if necessary.

I work in education so our ratio of private and public groups is probably pretty weird because anything related to school business has to be private because students can get into a public group.

Though I am a strong proponent of public groups over private groups, I would argue against what your security team is trying to suggest, for a few reasons.

Sometimes, private groups are necessary. You would not want your HR team necessarily working in a public group. Also, a private group can foster a sense of community that can be a bit more challenging to achieve in a public group. People feel like they belong to something special.

Also, even though a Yammer group may be private, Yammer network admins can still get in, so it will never be 100% completely private. Lastly, I don't think Yammer will let you prohibit private groups from being created.

In our network, I strongly encourage teams to make their groups public, and I would say that about 80% of our groups are public, with the other 20% private.

Thank you both for the replies!  I definitely share your opinions on this.  We brought it up to a wider audience today, and fortunately, there was agreement that this would not be worth pursuing.