Composr Tutorial: People in their roles

Written by Chris Graham (ocProducts)
Composr is a huge product, and as a result, has a large number of concepts designed for various systems within it.

We have made things as clear and clean as they can be, but one area in particular where there can be confusion is the various terms that may be applied to 'people who visit the site'.

This short tutorial aims simply to clarify what all these terms to relate to, and hopefully you will understand why they are all necessary.


The terms

Term Meaning Reason the term is needed
Visitor A visitor is any person who visits the site, and used when no specific implication of identifying them is intended. This is a vague term used when nothing needs to be known about someone.
Member A member has an account, meaning they have specifically joined. Because they have an account, they have a member-ID (a number) and a username. By using this term, we imply the user has joined and logged in, and thus is very distinguishable, via their member-ID. It is always preferable for people to be logged-in members, for reliable association.
Guest A user who is not logged in. All guests share the same member-ID: that of someone who is not a real member (usually '1', depending on the forum driver and database driver). By using this term, we imply a user is not logged in. For example, we reference that guests do not receive points: the reason being, there is no known account to associate the points to. Code might associate stuff with the guest account, but this should never be anything that needs to have a distinguished user (like a point transfer).
User A user is an identifiable visitor to your website. However they are not necessarily a member, they could be a guest. To identify a user, their session ID or IP address must be used: both are temporary/transitory, and thus for some actions, being a member is required. By using this term, we imply the visitor has a purpose on the site, rather than just 'passing in the night'.
Author Authors create works that are on the website. They may not even be actual people, they could be legal entities. An author is specially defined, and optionally tied to a member (either automatic by the author name being equal to a username, or via manual configuration). The author may not even have visited the website. There is a distinction from merely a 'submitter', who has no special configured status: logically, just because someone submits content, does not mean they authored it.
Subscriber A subscriber to the newsletter. A subscriber receives newsletters, and does not even need to have ever visited the site if someone subscribed on their behalf and they confirmed the subscription. Subscription comes with a degree of public anonymity, compared to being a member.
Submitter A submitter is a user that has submitted some content. By using this term, we imply the association between the user, and the content, in terms of who submitted it. Saying 'submitter' is quicker than saying 'the user who submitted'.
Staff
(aka Webmaster)
Someone who is a super moderator or super administrator. If the staff filtered is enabled, they must also be chosen as staff.
Often the term is used loosely with the literal meaning of staff not really being intended – in such situations it is used to mean any user in usergroups with permissions that, by default, only staff have.
From a users point of view, staff is synonymous with 'authority figure', and sometimes this meaning is used.
This term is used to distinguish someone with authority from regular users.
Super moderator (often, simply 'mod') A special usergroup of second level staff, as dictated by the forum driver. By default, super moderators can do almost anything, and possibly elevate themselves to administrator via indirect methods.
With Conversr , being a super moderator is simply a matter of being in the aptly named user usergroup, which is automatically assigned staff access and privileges.
This term is a specific term to identify second level staff.
Super administrator (often, simply 'admin') A special usergroup of first level staff. Administrators have full, literally undeniable, access.
Membership is defined by the forum driver (i.e. similar to above). For Conversr, a member is a super administrator if they are in a usergroup that is marked as one.
This term is a specific term to identify first level staff.
Super member Super member is a vague term, that has no hard coded meaning. It is purely created as an abstraction to help allocate access permissions, especially to the 'Collaboration Zone' zone.
Conversr has a default 'Super member' usergroup.
To distinguish privileged members from ordinary members, and to help allocate permissions.


How to rename the guest user (advanced, Conversr-only)

Some Composr users want to change the term "Guest", for whatever reason. For example, maybe a hotel doesn't want to confuse an anonymous user with an actual hotel guest on their website.

Composr is not hard-coded with the name of the Guest user, however it is a little work to change it.

Let's imagine you are changing "Guest" to "Anonymous user".

First, you need to change some language strings. Go to the Admin Zone and do a search for guest. You will see that GUEST and GUESTS come up under "Language". These are both in the global.ini language file, so click through one of them and you'll be able to change both on the same form.
Change GUEST to "Anonymous user" and GUESTS to "Anonymous users".
You'll find lots of other more casual occurrences throughout various strings. Change whichever you consider worth changing.

Next go to Admin Zone > Security > Usergroups and edit the Guests usergroup. Change its title to "Anonymous users".

Next you'll need to change any posts by guests on the forum, as the name Guest is saved in when the post is made. Go to Admin Zone > Tools > Commandr, and enter this command…

Code

:$GLOBALS['FORUM_DB']->query_update('f_posts',array('p_poster_name_if_guest'=>'Anonymous user'),array('p_poster_name_if_guest'=>'Guest'));
This will batch-update the database.

That should do it!

Concepts

Visitor
Someone who visits the site in some vague sense
User
Someone who uses the site in a determinable way
Member
Someone has is joined and logged in
Guest
Someone who is not joined or not logged in
Author
Someone who authored something (not necessary a user)
Submitter
Someone who has submitted something
Staff
Someone who is on the staff list, or generally has staff access (term is often used vaguely as a convenience, as permissions in reality are very configurable)
Super moderator
Someone who has special staff-like access, but not full site control
Super administrator
Someone who has full site control, and can't have it taken away as long as they are a super administrator
Super member
Someone who in in a super member usergroup, which typically has Collaboration Zone access; a vague concept to avoid having to refer to the low-level permissions

See also


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