(Application) Google Groups

What are Google Groups?

Google Groups gives easy access to online discussions through mailing lists or online forms. It is great for use by project teams or groups of student organizations.

Anyone with an ONID account, here at Oregon State University, can access Google Groups.

How do I use them?

To start using Google Groups you need to join a group. After joining a group, you can make posts to a forum, which then emails everyone else that is in the group. You can also utilize question and answer forums, which are helpful for class groups.

What helpdocs exist for it?

We understand this program can be confusing to some users, so we have created a few helpdocs for anyone who needs them! Click on any of the following articles to get help:

(Google Groups) Naming Conventions

Naming Conventions

Naming conventions may change over time. Group names are limited to lowercase letters (a-z), numbers (0-9), a dash (“-“), and a period (“.”). The delimiter between components is underscore ("_").

Stems can serve both as the name of a group and as a base for another group. For example, you can have a group called osu_partners and a group called osu_partners_foo.

There are 4 different group types and naming conventions associated with each one. Below are the different group types and their respective naming conventions.


All of these start with “u” and is followed by an ONID name. For example “u_morgan” where “morgan” is the ONID username of the person the group belongs to. If the person wants to create more groups, the naming convention of the other groups would become “u_morgan_friends” or “u_morgan_ext-contacts.”

OSU Affiliation/Organization

Groups affiliated with OSU will start with “osu.”  The second part will depend on the type of organization. For example, “osu_students” is a group whose members have the affiliation “student.” One source of affiliation names is the eduPersonAffiliation attribute defined in the eduPerson specification.  Other affiliation names might be added locally at OSU.

As a general rule names under this stem will correspond to DNS subdomains under oregonstate.edu that have been delegated for organizational use.  For example, if a fictional OSU organization "Pavement Science" has an existing DNS subdomain "pavesci.oregonstate.edu", then “osu_pavesci” could be a stem delegated to that organization, and “osu_pavesci_admins” or “osu_pavesci_postdocs_third-year” could be groups under that stem.

Academic Course Naming Convention

All courses will start with “course” as the stem. The structure of the rest of the name will follow the pattern of “subject + "-" + courseNumber + "-" + sectionNumber + "-" + term”

So Math 100 Section 001 for spring 2013 would appear course_mth-100-001-S2013


There may be existing practice where centrally-managed groups are named with names that do not conform to the scheme defined in sections 3 and 4.  There may also be cases where applications require group names that do not conform to this plan, but it is still appealing to manage such groups centrally.  In these cases exceptions may be granted.  Such group names must still conform to the base OSU NetID syntax.  Groups named with exceptional names should still benefit from participation in group management and use operations.  Such names do not participate in the hierarchical naming scheme, however; that is they are not used as stems.  For example “xyz-team” or “superdupergroup” might be exceptional group names.

(Google Groups) Management

Regular Groups vs Oregon State Groups

There are two different ways you can create a Google group. You can request an official Oregon State Google Group or you can create a regular Google Group. An official Oregon State Google Group will have groupemail@onid.oregonstate.edu and regular Google Groups will have a groupemail@googlegroups.com. You can set your own Google Group up using the directions found here. To create an official Oregon State Google Group, you need to request one using the request form.

Configuring Google Groups

When configuring your Google Group, you have 4 different groups types you can select. The different groups are:

Email list

An email list allows users to post from the web or through email. This group type is common in organizations where a single email alias is desired to communicate to a certain group of people using email.

Web forum

A web forum allows people to interact with the group and have engaging and interactive discussions on the web. It has web optimized features enabled including moderation tools. Group members post topics and replies through the web interface, but can still receive updates via email. This group type is similar to the online web forums found on many web sites.

Q&A forum

A Question and Answer Forum is a web forum with extra features enabled to support the experience of asking and answering issues. Topics can be marked as resolved or be rated by users. In addition, you can use categories to organize questions within the forum. People must post through the web interface, but can still receive updates via email. This group type is similar to the online help forum.

Collaborative inbox

Topics can be assigned to other members and treated as tasks which can be resolved or reassigned. A collaborative inbox allows members of a group to manage the workflow state of topics within the group. These groups have specific features and permissions set. If you choose to not use these features, they will need to be disabled individually.

Set basic permissions

The Basic permissions section contains the most fundamental permissions for a group. These permissions are presented when creating a group or by clicking on the Manage button within the Topics screen, expanding the Permissions section on the left-hand side, and clicking on Basic Permissions. Refer to Understanding permissions for information on permissions in Google Groups. Basic permissions follow:

View topics

Click on this menu if you want to change who can read group posts. By default, Anyone (members and non-members) can view a group’s content.


Click on this menu if you want to change who can post messages to the group. By default all members of a group can post to the group.

A private group is a group where "All members of the group" is selected from the first menu in this section, "Only invited users" is selected from the second menu in this section, and "All members of the group" is selected from the third menu in this section.

A public group is a group where anyone can contribute to group topics and posts but only members can create new topics and post. Public groups are also open for anyone to join.

Join the group

Click on this menu if you want to change how people join the group. By default, Anyone can ask to join a group, requiring a user with administrative permissions to approve each new member.

(Google Group) Directly Adding Users

Directly Adding Users

  1. Click on the list you want to edit
  2. Select Members in the left side menu
  3. Choose "Direct add members" in the list under Information
  4. Enter the email address of the people you'd like to add to the group
  5. Click Add


(Google Groups) Allowing People Outside OSU to be Added

Allowing People Outside OSU to be Added

If you'd like to add people with personal accounts to your OSU Google Group, you need to do the following:

  • Sign into Oregon State's Google Group portal
  • Upon looking at your list of groups, click Manage below the title
  • Once you're in the management page, expand the Permissions tab on the left
  • After Permissions have expanded, click Basic permissions
  • On the Basic permissions page, check the box next to Allow members external to this organization


That's it! Now people outside of Oregon State can now participate and interact with the group.

(Google Groups) Joining a Google Group

How do I join a group?

The owner of the group will either make a public group, or will have to send you an invitation to the group.  If the group is public, you can just find the group under “Browse Groups”. This will allow you to pick a group from a list and be a member of that group.

If you receive an invitation you can click on the “accept this invitation” button which will then put you in the group. You will then be notified of group activity after that point, and you can now make your own posts to the group as well.

(Google Groups) Making Posts

How do I make posts to a group?

After you have been added to a group, you are then able to post to the group. You can get on to the group by clicking on the “My Groups” button from the groups home page. Once you are there, it will say that you are a member of a group in another organization. Click on show then, click on the group that you would like to make a post to. After that, you can hit the “New Topic” button.

From there, you are able to make a post that others in the group are able to see. If you would like to reply to a post, you can click on the post you would like to reply to, and hit “Post Reply” or click on the arrow next to the name of the person you would like to reply to (both pictured below). After that the person will then get your reply and others can see it as well. 

How do others post to a group?

Sometimes users will encounter an issue where when they post a new topic in a group, the topic is not created and automatically archived. A user may receive "New messages in this group will not be shown because archiving is disabled. Messages will be delivered via email only." shortly after attempting to post their topic.

To resolve this issue, you must enable archiving.

In order to enable archiving on your Google Group: (You must be on the group you want to fix)

  • Go to Setting Icon (Gear) and select the Group Settings at the bottom
  • Expand the "Information" Selection
  • Click on the option "Content Control"
  • Check the box to "Archive Messages to the group"
  • Click the blue save button

(Google Groups) Notifications

How do I control my notifications?

You can control the ammount of notifications that you have through the group settings page. This will allow you to recieve less or more emails about group activities. You might want to change these settings if the group is busy and you want to only be notified once about everything, instead of one email per post. 

To change these settings, click on the group settings icon (pictured to the right) and then click on the drop down box below where it says:

"Use youremail@oregonstate.edu for this group with the following settings:" From here you are able to select how often you would like to recieve the messages. Or you can set it to never notify you of updates to your group. 

(Google Groups) Viewing the List of Group Members

Viewing the List of Group Members

If you are the manager of a Google Group but cannot view the entire list of group members, then the permissions are set incorrectly. Please go through the following steps:

  • Go to the Oregon State Google Portal
  • Click on Google Groups
  • Here you will see a list of groups of which you are either a member or a manager.  For any group that you are a manager of, you will see (Manager) beside the group name
  • Click on the Group that you are managing
  • Click the Manage button at the top right of your screen
  • On the left side of your screen, expand Permissions and then click Moderation permissions
  • In the section, Modify Members, click the button Select groups of users and check off Managers of the group.

    *Now, not only will managers be able to view their group members, but they will also be able to remove and change roles of members!
  • Be sure to click the Save button at the top of the screen.