We use CiviCRM to collect anonymous feedback and equal opps data from event attendees in custom fields connected to an event participant role, and to avoid having to create multiple anonymous individual contact records, we have been registering multiple participant instances for a single anonymous record. Unfortunately, following the latest update to 4.7.14, this is no longer possible.

I realise that we've been taking advantage of something many would consider a bug - I'm pretty sure this change is a result of this bugfix: https://issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-19550 - but it makes our life vastly more complicated, because we'll have to create upwards of 100 anonymous records and anyone entering data will have to keep track of which participants have already been added (not a problem when there's 10 attendees; definitely a problem when there's 75).

I'm also concerned that if we have to correct information in participant records that are already in the system, we won't be able to without re-assigning the participant contact record, or, worse, that the custom participant data will become conflated.

Is there a way to disable/edit whatever dedupe rule is being used here? (I'm assuming that the participant records are still saved with a unique id and won't get overwritten - if this isn't case, I'd appreciate a heads up)

I think this may be related to this issue: Enable multiple event registration for same purchaser/participant - however, that problem relates to individuals signing themselves up to events, not participants who are being registered by an administrator, and so the suggested fix doesn't apply here (even if it did, it would require us to enable online registration, which we definitely don't want!)

  • I don't know the details of your use case, but maybe you could use access controls to limit who amongst your people can see/enter/edit this feedback and equal opps data, and thereby use real contact/participant records?
    – Graham
    Jan 12, 2017 at 13:41
  • @Graham - Unfortunately this isn't possible - quite apart from it being bad practice (We're a non-profit), all the data is collected anonymously, and we rely on volunteers for data entry.
    – liblogger
    Jan 13, 2017 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


As I understand you correctly, you were exploiting a bug, and now its is fixed you search for another solution. One option is to undo the bugfix.

You can do this with the following actions:

wget https://github.com/civicrm/civicrm-core/pull/9303.patch > CRM19550.patch

  • Reverse apply the patch on your 4.7.14 installation

git apply -R CRM19550.patch in the [civicrm.root].

You have to follow the same procedure with every upgrade.

  • Yeah, that does look like my only option :\ At least it's only one file!
    – liblogger
    Jan 13, 2017 at 11:21
  • (Finally got a chance to test this and it seems to be working okay)
    – liblogger
    Jan 17, 2017 at 11:56

Perhaps you could do this via a non-Civi webform accessible only to your data entry volunteers (use webform if you are using Drupal as your CMS, or one of the forms plugins that are available for Wordpress) and not collect it in CiviCRM at all. Given that CiviCRM is all about linking data to named contacts and you expressly don't want to do this, then using Civi for it seems to be going against the grain.

  • We also collect non-anonymous feedback (among other things), and find that having the data in one place, connected to information about events and so on, is more useful to us.
    – liblogger
    Jan 15, 2017 at 15:37

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