Managing Group Roles and Memberships

If you’ve created a group or administer one, you can manage the members’ roles from the group home page. Access your group’s home page by first clicking Groups in the lefthand menu:

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Then click the My Groups tab and find the title of the group you’re looking for:

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From here, it’s easy to invite new members. Click on Send Invites in the left sidebar of your group home page, then use the search box to look for Commons users and click the Send Invites button:

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As an admin you have control over a wide range of things, which means that you can run your group in a variety of ways. You could have, for example, an extremely locked-down group, where only the admin is allowed to invite people. This might be appropriate for cases where the group is being used strictly as an official news outlet. Or you could have a more flexible group, where every member is an administrator. Both extremes are possible in Humanities Commons; more probably, you’ll want something in the middle.

Things become more complicated with bigger groups. If you have a very active group with fifty members, for example, a few admins may be kept busy, but they should be able to manage the site. An active group with five hundred members is a different story: overseeing so many people is probably more work than a handful of admins can do. For such a large and active group, it would be useful to have moderators. Moderators can’t control everything in the group—for example, they can’t decide to rename the group, as an administrator can—but they can process requests to join the group, and they can edit content within group discussion topics.

You can choose the roles of members in your group by going to the Manage area of your group (accessible only to admins). Click on Manage on the left-hand menu of your group’s home page to change roles.

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Next, click on Members in the menu that appears in the Manage area.

Admins and Moderators all have buttons that say Demote to Member next to them. You can also demote yourself—if you’re tired of running your group, you can hand it off to someone else. However, all admins can’t be demoted at once. Each group has to have at least one admin.

Members have different buttons next to them. An admin can remove Susana from the group by clicking Remove from group. At that point, she will no longer be a member. If you click Kick & Ban, she’ll be thrown out of the group and banned from rejoining. This is a serious step, and we hope this will never be needed in Humanities Commons, but it’s a possibility. (You can also remove admins from a group, but this is a two-step process: first you’d click Demote to Member to make them a member, then Remove from group to take them out of the group.)

If you think a member could help the admins run the group, you can make them a moderator by clicking Promote to Mod. If you think they should be running the group, you can make them an admin by clicking Promote to Admin.

From here, you can also control the amount of e-mail that a member gets from the group. If a member of your group complains that they’re not receiving notifications, you could make sure that they’re being e-mailed with these settings.

Group Roles in Sites

Roles are also important for sites and blogs.

To set up your member roles for a group site, click Manage on the left-hand menu of your group’s page to access admin settings. Next, click Site to control the settings for your group site.

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At the bottom of the page you’ll see your Member Options for the site:

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If Enable Member Posting is checked, members of your group will be able to write posts on your group site. If it’s not checked, only you and other admins can write posts.

Any group member can be assigned any one of five site roles—administrator, editor, author, contributor, or subscriber—which determine how much control that person has over the posts on the site. Group roles do not need to align with site roles. A group administrator, for instance, could be assigned the site role of subscriber, while a group moderator could be assigned the site role of administrator. Here are the differences between the five site roles:

  • Subscribers can read and post comments on the site, but they can’t write posts. If the site is private, you wouldn’t be able to read it or see it if you’re not a subscriber.
  • Contributors can do everything subscribers can. They can also write posts on the site. However, they can’t actually publish them.
  • Authors can do everything subscribers can, but they’re also allowed to publish or edit their own posts.
  • Editors can do everything that authors can do, but they can edit and publish everyone’s posts, not just their own.
  • Administrators can do everything editors can do and everything else. They can change the way the site looks, and they can delete anything they don’t like.

A site must have at least one administrator. Aside from that, there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules. It generally makes sense to have the group admin also be the site admin. A good set of defaults might be:

  • Group administrators = site admins
  • Group moderators = site editors
  • Group members = site authors

With these settings in place, anyone who’s in the group is allowed to write and post on the site, although only moderators and administrators can change other people’s posts. If the group is designed to be more collaborative, you might have something like this:

  • Group administrators = site admins
  • Group moderators = site editors
  • Group members = site editors

Here, everyone’s an editor; this allows people to work together on posts.

Different settings will be appropriate for different groups. And bear in mind that these are only two among many possible alignments of roles. Any group admin can change the settings for any individual member of the group using the Users menu item inside the WordPress Admin Panel.

Group Roles in Docs

If you’re using Docs—collaboratively authored and versioned documents—in your group, you can choose which roles are allowed to create docs. To do this, click on Manage in the left-hand menu of your groups page, then Docs.

You’ll see a drop-down menu labeled Minimum Role to Create New Docs. You can set it so that only group admins can create docs, so that admins and mods can create docs, or so that everyone can create docs. Everyone is a good default, but if your group is getting cluttered with too many docs, you might want to restrict it.

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