1.5. Setting permissions
After you created your first forum, you have to decide who has access to it and what your users are allowed to do and what not. This is what Permissions are for. You can disallow guests to post or hand out moderating powers, for instance. Almost every aspect of user interaction with phpBB3 Olympus can be adjusted with permissions.
1.5.1. Permission types
There are four different types of permissions:
User/Group permissions (global) - e.g. disallow changing avatar
Administrator permissions (global) - e.g. allow to manage forums
Moderator permissions (global or local) - e.g. allow to lock topics or ban users (only global)
Forum permissions (local) - e.g. allow to see a forum or post topics
Each permission type consists of a different set of permissions and can apply either locally or globally. A global permission type is set for your whole bulletin board. If you disallow one of your users to send Private Messages, for instance, you have to do this with the global user permission. Administrator permission are also global.
Figure 1.6. Global and local permissions
On the other hand local permissions do only apply to specific forums. So if you disallow someone to post in one forum, for instance, it will not impact the rest of the board. The user will still be able to post in any other forum he has the local permission to post.
You can appoint moderators either globally or locally. If you trust some of your users enough, you can make them Global Moderators. They can moderate all forums they have access to with the permissions you assign to them. Compared to that, local moderators will only be able to moderate the number of forums you select for them. They can also have different moderator permissions for different forums. While they are able to delete topics in one forum, they may not be allowed to do it in another. Global moderators will have the same permissions for all forums.
1.5.2. Setting forum permissions
To set the permissions for your new forum we need the local Forum Based Permissions. First you have to decide how you want to set the permissions. If you want to set them for a single group or user, you should use the Group or User Forum Permissions. They will allow you to select one group or user, and then select the forums you want to set the permissions for.
But for this Quick Start Guide we will concentrate on the Forum Permissions. Instead of selecting a user or group, you select the forums you want to change first. You can select them either by selecting the forums manually in the top list, or by single forum and single forum plus subforums respectively in the lower pull down menus. Submit will bring you to the next page.
Figure 1.7. Select Groups
The Forum Permissions page shows you two columns, one for users and one for groups to select (see Figure 1.7, “Select Groups”). The top lists on both columns labelled as Manage Users and Manage Groups show users and groups that already have permissions on at least one of your selected forums set. You can select them and change their permissions with the Edit Permissions button, or use Remove Permissions to remove them which leads to them not having permissions set, and therefore not being able to see the forum or have any access to it (unless they have access to it through another group). The bottom boxes allow you to add new users or groups, that do not currently have permissions set on at least one of your selected forums.
To add permissions for groups, select one or more groups either in the Add Groups list (this works similar with users, but if you want to add new users, you have to type them in manually in the Add Users text box or use the Find a member function). Add Permissions will take you to the permission interface. Each forum you selected is listed, with the groups or users to change the permissions for below them.
There are two ways to assign permissions: You can set them manually or use predefined Permission Roles for a simpler but less powerful way. You can switch between both approaches any time you want. You can skip the manual permission introduction and jump directly into the section on "Permissions Roles", if you are eager to get everything running as quickly as possible. But remember that permission roles do only offer a small bit of what the permission system has to offer and we believe that to be a good Olympus administrator, you have to fully grasp permissions.
Both ways only differ in the way you set them. They both share the same interface.
1.5.3. Manual permissions
This is the most important aspect of permissions. You need to understand this to properly work with them. There are three different values that a permission can take:
YES will allow a permission setting unless it is overwritten by a NEVER.
NO will be disallow a permission setting unless it is overwritten by a YES.
NEVER will completely disallow a permission setting for a user. It cannot be overwritten by a YES.
The three values are important as it is possible for a user to have more than one permissions for the same setting through multiple groups. If the user is a member of the default "Registered Users" group and a custom group called "Senior Users" you created for your most dedicated members, both could have different permissions for seeing a forum. In this example you want to make a forum called "Good old times" only available to the "Senior Users" group, but don't want all "Registered Users" to see it. You will of course set the Can see forum permission to Yes for "Senior Users". But do not set the permission to Never for "Registered Users". If you do this, "Senior Members" will not see the forum as the Never overrides any Yes they have. Leave the setting at No instead. No is a weak Never that a Yes can override.
Figure 1.8. Manual permissions
1.5.4. Permissions roles
phpBB3 Olympus ships with a number of default permission roles, that offer you a wide variety of options for setting permissions. Instead of having to check each radio button manually, you can select a predefined role in the Rolepull down list. Each role has a detailed description, that will pop up when you hover your mouse over it. Submit your changes with Apply Permissions or Apply All Permissions when you are satisfied with them. That will set the permissions and you are done.
Figure 1.9. Permission roles
But permission roles are not only a quick and easy way to set permissions, they are also a powerful tool for experienced board administrators to manage permissions on bigger boards. You can create your own roles and edit existing ones. Roles are dynamic, so when you edit a role, all groups and users that have the role assigned will automatically be updated.
1.5.5. Assign moderators to forums
A quite common use case for permissions and roles are forum moderation. phpBB3 makes assigning users as moderators of forums really simple.
As you might have already guessed, moderation of specific forums is a local setting, so you can find Forum Moderators in the section for Forum Based Permissions. First of all, you will have to select for forum (or forums) you want to assign new moderators to. This form is divided into three areas. In the first one, you can select multiple forums (select multiple by holding down the CTRL button on your keyboard, or cmd (under MacOS X)), where the moderator settings you will set in the following form will only apply to these exact forums. The second area allows you to select only one forum but all the following settings will apply not only to this forum but also all its subforums. Finally, the third area's selection will only affect exactly this forum.
After selecting the forums and hitting Submit, you will be greeted by a form you should already be familiar with from one of the previous sections in this guide: Figure 1.7, “Select Groups”. Here you can select the users or groups that should get some kind of moderation power over the selected forums. So go ahead: Select some users and/or groups and hit the Set Permissions button.
In the next form you can choose, what moderator permissions the selected users/groups should receive. First of all, there are some predefined roles from which you can select:
- Standard Moderator
A Standard Moderator can approve or disapprove, edit and delete posts, delete or close reports, but not necessarily change the owner of a post. This kind of moderator can also issue warnings and view details of a post.
- Simple Moderator
A Simple Moderator can edit posts and close and delete reports and can also view post details.
- Queue Moderator
As a Queue Moderator, you can only approve or disapprove posts that landed in the moderator queue and edit posts.
- Full Moderator
Full Moderators can do everything moderation-related; they can even ban users.
Figure 1.10. The Forum Moderator's Permissions
When you're done simply hit Apply all Permissions. All the permissions mentioned here can also be selected from the right side of the form to give you more granular options.
1.5.6. Setting global permissions
Local Permissions are too local for you? Well, then phpBB3 has something to offer for you, too: Global Permissions:
In "User Permissions" and "Group Permissions" you can allow and disallow features like attachments, signatures and avatars for specific users and user groups. Note that some of these settings only matter, if the respective feature is enabled in the "Board Features" (see Section 1.3.2, “Board Features” for details).
Under "Administrators" you can give users or groups administrator privileges like the ability to manage forums or change user permissions. For details on these settings please read the Section 3.7, “Permissions”.
The "Global Moderators" form offers you the same settings as the forum specific form (described in Section 1.5.5, “Assign moderators to forums”) but applies to all forums on your board.