Hello! How can we help?

Search our knowledge base for loads of useful advice and answers to common questions

If you're still stuck you can always submit a support request and we'll get back to you ASAP

Who can access my challenge and what can they do? (Access Levels, States and Participation Settings)

Jess Henderson -

There are two different settings that control the ways that users find and participate in your challenge.

Access Levels


Challenges on Dialogue can have one of three different access levels:

  • Public access: If you choose 'Public' access, your challenge will be listed on the homepage of your Dialogue site, will be searchable, and anyone (as long as they have registered!) will be to contribute.
  • Hidden access: The 'Hidden' access level allows only users who know the specific challenge URL to access and participate in the challenge. Once the challenge has been added and published, you would need to send the URL to everyone you wanted to participate (for example by email or via an intranet) so that they can access it. A challenge with this type of access level will not appear on your Dialogue homepage and will not be searchable by the public.

    If the 'Hidden' option is chosen, the end part of the URL, where you would usually see the name of the challenge, will be automatically obfuscated to make it difficult for people to guess, so it will look something like this: https://yourorganisation.dialogue-app.com/1mv0qcu4wn
  • Restricted access: The 'Restricted' access level lets you specify which users are allowed to participate in the challenge, based on their email addresses. Your users will need to register (if they haven't already) and verify their email address in order to see the challenge. 'Restricted' challenges are only listed on the homepage of the site for registered users who have permission to take part.

    You might want to select the 'Restricted' option if you are running an internal challenge and only want users within your organisation to be able to see the challenge and add ideas and comments.

    If you wish to set up a restricted access challenge, this article gives more information and step by step instructions on how to do so.

To choose the access level, you simply select the appropriate option when you are adding the challenge. But don't worry, you can change it later if you need to.

screenshot of add challenge page

Changing the Access Settings

To change your challenge's the access level, go to the Challenge Dashboard. You will see the 'Change Access Settings' link, and underneath it some text describing the current access level.

Screenshot of dashboard with change access settings highlighted

Click the link to bring up the 'Change Access Settings' form. This lets you switch between the three access levels.

Screenshot of changes access settings page

Note: it is not recommended to switch to or from 'Hidden' after your challenge has been published. This is because hidden challenges have different URLs from public or restricted challenges. If the URL changes after someone has bookmarked or shared it, they will see a 'not found' error if they try to access the old URL.


Challenge States and Participation Settings


Challenges can be in one of three states: 'Draft', 'Published and open' or 'Published and closed'. These are independent of the access settings above, and determine how users can participate.

When you first create a challenge it's in the draft state, meaning that it's only visible to admins and moderators. This gives you the chance to set everything up as you like it before anyone else can see it.

Once published, the challenge will be visible to the public and will either be open or closed.

  • When a challenge is published and open it will appear in the 'Current Challenges' list on the Dialogue homepage, and users can participate by adding ideas, comments and/or ratings. The different ways that users can participate are discussed in 'Changing the Participation Settings' below.
  • When a challenge is published and closed it will appear in the 'Previous Challenges' list on the Dialogue homepage, and users can read submitted ideas and comments, but cannot add any more.

Changing the Participation Settings

You can switch between the open and closed states while the challenge is in draft (in preparation for publishing) or at any time after the challenge is published. For open challenges, you can also decide how users are able to participate.

To change these settings, go to the Challenge Dashboard and click 'Change Participation Settings'.

Screenshot of dashboard with change participation settings highlighted

This will bring up the Participation Settings form. By default, a challenge is open as soon as it's published, and respondents can add ideas, comments and ratings.

Screenshot of participation settings page

Sometimes you might want to change how your users can participate in the challenge by unticking some of the boxes on this page. You could do this at the start or after the challenge has been running for a while. For example, some challenges start with an idea-gathering phase when participants can add ideas, followed by a refinement phase where participants can rate and comment on existing ideas but no more can be added.

Publishing and Retracting the Challenge

Once you're ready for your challenge to 'go live', you can Publish your challenge using the big green Publish button.

Screenshot of dashboard with publish button highlighted

You can live-edit your challenge using the three options on your dashboard without retracting it, but if you need to take it back into draft mode at any point then you can do so using the 'Retract' button. While in draft, nobody on the public side of the site can see or interact with the challenge.