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Version 3.0: Major overhaul of User-Group Permissions

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I'd like to see a total overhaul of the "User-Group Permissions" in version 3.0, so that forum administrators can more easily control which "features" are available to each different user-group.

Access to individual forums can be restricted by assigning relevant permission sets. However, forum administrators don't currently have enough control over who can or can't use the various features (such as PMs, custom avatars, signatures, email and the skin selector, etc.) that are available in IP.Board. For example, all members can choose their own avatars, select a skin of their preference (if there is more than one skin available) and add their own signatures (which often include ugly, oversized, resource-hungry banners and multiple lines of bloated, meaningless text).

Why can't forum administrators take full control of these kinds of features by limiting their availability to specific user-groups? As a forum owner/administrator, I'm frustrated by IPB's lack of flexibility in this area. Why am I not able to specify in the ACP that, for example, "User-Group A" can use the Skin Selector to select their own preference of skin, whereas "User-Group B" must use the default custom skin? Why can't I prevent "standard members" from posting banner images in their signatures, while still giving "paid members" the option to do so???

The fact that I've got paid members on my own board is possibly the main reason why I feel that the User-Group Permissions aren't flexible enough. Forum administrators should be able to offer more features to long-term, loyal members, and/or those who may wish to contribute towards the costs of keeping a website online through paid membership.

Generally speaking, most people don't realise how much work is involved in owning and administering a website and/or online forum. They're also completely oblivious to the ongoing expenses involved in keeping it online; they tend to just take it for granted, and/or they expect all websites to be free. As we (website owners) all know, the reality is that there are usually significant costs involved. So, who should have to pay for this? The site owners? Advertisers? Why not the users themselves?

Often, discussion forums are the most popular area of a website. (As far as my own website is concerned, it certainly wouldn't be worth keeping online if it wasn't for the forums.) It makes sense, therefore, to ask the forum users to contribute to the costs of keeping a site online. Thankfully, Invision Power Services recognises this. As we all know, a subscriptions manager is built into IP.Board. This gives forum administrators the ability to offer paid subscriptions to offset the associated costs involved in keeping their sites online. However, as I pointed out earlier, most people choose to ignore this (unless a paid subscription is compulsory). The vast majority of web surfers expect the entire Internet to be free. Since that attitude isn't likely to change anytime soon, we need to be able to "dangle a carrot" by offering more features to those who might be prepared to support our sites financially to keep them online.

As an aside... there's currently no easy way to see a side-by-side comparison between the various User-Group Permissions. The only way to see what you've configured for the different user-groups is to load up the permissions for each individual one, one at a time. I'm surprised that there is no quick way to compare each feature. Because of this, I've compiled my own "User-Group Permissions Comparison Table" so that I can much more easily configure my preferred options. As much as this is for my own reference, members of my forums can also use it to clearly visualise and understand the differences between standard (free) and premium (paid) memberships.

I would like to see a similar table available from within the IP.Board ACP, as it would help immensely when trying to configure the various User-Group Permissions. Ideally, members would also be able to view a summary of these permissions via an external webpage (as per my example), so that they could clearly understand which features are available to each different user group.

Before I get too carried away on that, however, I would first of all like to see IPB have a serious rethink about why forum administrators don't currenly have full control over which features each different user group is able to use.

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Excellent suggestions and I totally agree. Most of what you're suggesting is what I would describe as basics. It's these basics that need fixing up before IPS adds more fancy features.


p.s. I see you're Wellington as well :)

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I would also like per forum attachment size options. We've got forums where we would like to restrict the attachment size and then other where we allow animations to be uploaded. We're stuck with the global one size fits all.

There's also no image resolution restrictions with the forums as there is with the gallery. Provided the member is under the maximum file size there's nothing stopping them posting a full res image at say 2048x1536 which is just rediculous. The moderators then have to delete the image and quote the forum rules. Seems a pretty fundamental restriction to me.

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It's these basics that need fixing up before IPS adds more fancy features.

Exactly! Everybody loves new features, but I hope IPB will work on the issues I've raised here before they get too carried away with anything fancy.

p.s. I see you're Wellington as well

Absa-kiwi-lutely! ;) Am out in the Hutt Valley, specifically, but still a proud Wellingtonian through and through! :D
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I agree as well. More control over these kinds of features on a per group basis would be really nice, and I'd especially like a group-by-group "Can use HTML in signatures?" option. As it stands now, I had to add a div style={option} BBCode to be able to customize my signature the way I wanted.

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