When you create a community, there are several permissions that you can set and continue to manage in order to control who can do what within the community. The permissions mainly regulate:
- who can join the community;
- who can see the community (i.e., its visibility on the All Communities list page);
- whether community content can be shared;
- whether community content is moderated (i.e., it must be reviewed and approved before it's publicly available); and
- whether users can collaborate on community content.
Permissions are set at a high level and are "inherited" as default settings for lower-level entities. For example, a community's permission settings apply to the entire community and its content. Refer to Community permissions hierarchy, below, for more detailed information on how this works in Higher Logic.
Overrides to the defaults can be set at various layers in order to have more granular control over different areas and aspects of a community. It's important to have a good understanding of what each setting controls so that you know which settings to select and what impact they will have for the users and on the content in your community.
Understand Join and View permissions
The Join Permissions and View Permissions for communities are initially set at the Community Type level. When you create a community, you'll be required to select a Community Type, which sets the default Join and View permissions for the community. Think of Community Types as templates for communities, with some settings being pre-configured; this saves having to set them for every community that is created.
You can choose different Join and View permissions (other than the defaults inherited from the Community Type) when you are creating a community or you can edit an existing community and update the permissions.
The following table describes the permissions settings that control who can join a community and who can see a community. Remember, these are set as defaults for Community Types and can be changed for a community, but the definition and effects of the permissions settings are the same.
|Show in Community List (Community Type only)||Controls whether communities of this type are listed on your Higher Logic community site's All Communities page.|
|Invitation Only||Users can join/view the community only if they are invited by:
|[site] Members||Only users who belong to an IsMember Security Group (i.e., the group's users have Member status) can join/view the community. ("Joining" occurs by default as a result of being in the Security Group.) Members of communities with this permission setting can also join/view communities set to Authenticated.|
|Authenticated||Any logged-in user can join/view the community, irrespective of their Member status.|
|Public (View only)||All visitors, whether logged in or not, can see the community.|
|Members of Immediate Parent Community (exclusive to Nested Communities)||Only members of this nested community's parent community can join/view the community.|
Community permissions hierarchy
In a Higher Logic community site, Admin users can set a variety of permissions at different levels in order to truly customize what is accessible and visible to the public, authenticated users, community members, and invited users.
Permissions can be set per:
These "tiers" indicate the hierarchy of permissions in Higher Logic, and each sub-tier inherits whatever permissions are defined for its parent tier. You can override these inherited permissions per entity. For example, you can change a discussion's permissions to something other than what is defined as its default at the community level.
The Admin > Community > Communities > Types page displays all default and account-created Community Types. The Visible column indicates whether communities of this type display on the All Communities page.
When creating or changing a Community Type, understand what the following settings affect:
- Show in Community List - Check this box to have communities of this type display on the All Communities page.
- Default View Permission for New Communities - Select which view permission level will be automatically applied to any communities that are created with this type.
- Default Join Permission for New Communities - Select which join permission level will be automatically applied to any communities that are created with this type.
- Default Moderation Setting for New Communities - Select which level of moderation will be automatically applied to any communities that are created with this type.
The settings that you select become the defaults for all communities created with this Community Type.
NOTE: Updates to a Community Type's default settings will not impact existing communities that were based on that type when they were created. However, new communities that are based on the Community Type will inherit those updated default settings.
TIP: Learn more about managing your Community Types.
The Admin > Community > Communities > List page displays all of your Higher Logic community site's communities. The View Permissions, Join Permissions, and Moderation columns indicate each community's setting, which could be either: the defaults that were inherited from the Community Type or overrides that have been set by a Super Admin.
When creating a community, select a Community Type and its default permissions settings will be applied. You can change the default settings now, while creating the community, or edit them in the future.
The community permissions options mirror the Community Type settings.
- Join Permissions - Select a permission override for this community.
- View Permissions - Select a permission override for this community.
- Moderation Setting - Select a moderation override for this community.
NOTE: You can change a community's Community Type on its Edit Community Settings page. However, the community will not inherit settings from the newly-assigned Community Type; it will retain its existing settings.
TIP: Learn more about managing your Communities.
The Admin > Community > Discussions > List page displays all of the community discussions in your Higher Logic site. The Additional View Permissions column indicates any view permissions, in addition to those inherited from the community, that have been applied by an Admin.
- Additional View Permissions - Select from a list to grant view permissions to additional users based on Security Groups.
TIP: Learn more about Discussions.
The Admin > Community > Libraries page displays all of the community resource libraries in your Higher Logic site. The Permissions column indicates the library's permissions, which are inherited from the community and/or the library's associated discussion; a library's permissions cannot be individually managed.
NOTE: Additional View Permissions that are set for a library's associated discussion are automatically inherited by the library.
Stand-alone library permissions can be managed with the following settings.
- Preview Name and Information - Which Security Groups' members can view the library's name and information.
- View Content - Which Security Groups' members can view the library's content.
- Add or Edit Content - Which Security Groups' members can add to the library (i.e., upload files) and edit the library's content.
TIP: Learn more about Libraries.
Permissions overrides with Security Groups
In this article, Security Groups have been mentioned a few times. But how are they really used in the management of the various permissions?
In Understand Security Groups, we see that security groups help you to "determine what your users are allowed to view and access across your site, both in terms of navigation and content." This site-wide permission, referred to as IsMember, is based on the security group's "membership" setting when the group is created (or edited), and gives "member" status to all users in that security group.
NOTE: A community can have multiple IsMember security groups with different collections of users, all of whom will have "member" status for the community.
- When creating or editing a community, choose [site] Members for the Join and/or View permissions to override the default settings that were inherited from the Community Type.
- Admins can edit a discussion (Admin > Community > Discussions > List) and add IsMember security groups in the Additional View Permissions field to override the default settings of the community.
By understanding these concepts and managing your security groups, you can secure and protect your community's content by controlling who can access it.
We hope that this article has helped you to better understand how permissions work and what they control in your community site. There is additional functionality with which admin users can apply ever more granular control.
- Manage Page and Content Access details how permissions can be applied to pages and content to control who can access and view them.
- Hide and Delete Pages and Content walks through how to hide pages and content so they are not directly accessible.
- Lock Pages and Content is a feature that is exclusive to site Super Admins to lock a community site's top-level navigation, individual pages, and page content.