Tips and Tricks: Permissions

Last week, while you weren’t looking, we gave you new permissions options for files and Private Label sites. Sometimes we’re sneaky like that. So we thought it would be an excellent time to give you a quick tips-and-tricks style review of your privacy and permissions settings, and remind you that switching up a handful of different settings (all easy to do, by the way) gives you an enormous number of options for the way your site behaves, and how people behave on your site.

What kinds of permissions can I set?
It depends on the plan your wiki is under, but, at best, you can set permissions for the whole wiki, and then separate permissions for every page and file in that wiki. (If you have a Private Label site, you’ll have more advanced settings for the entire site — we’ll talk about those in a little bit.)

You can set your wiki permissions by going to Manage Wiki > Permissions and choosing one of the four options:

  • Public: The whole world can see your wiki, and anyone can contribute edits, whether they have a Wikispaces account or not.
  • Protected: You can show off your wiki to the world, but only active users with membership in your wiki can edit pages.
  • Private: No one can see your wiki, or edit any pages, except you and the people you’ve accepted as members of your wiki.
  • Custom: Pick a mix! You can decide who is allowed to view or edit the wiki, based on their membership level.

But you can give any individual page more restrictive permissions than the whole wiki, if you want. Just go to that page and click the down arrow on the Page tab to get the page menu. Select Permissions. Once again, you have four options:

  • Default: Leave the page permissions the same as the rest of the wiki.
  • Locked: Anyone who can see the wiki will be able to see this page, but only you and other organizers will be able to edit it.
  • Hidden: No one can see or edit the page but you and your fellow organizers. (I like to use this one for work in progress.)
  • Custom: It’s up to you. Choose your own settings for who can view and edit the page.

Wait, didn’t you say something about file permissions?
I did! To change permissions on a single file, go to Manage Wiki > Files and select the file you want from the list. Click the down arrow on the File tab, and select Permissions. Then just pick your setting:

  • Default: This file will have the same permissions as the wiki.
  • Locked: If someone can see your wiki, they can see this file. But only you and the other organizers will be able to delete it or replace it.
  • Hidden: Only organizers can see, replace, or delete this file.
  • Custom: Make up your own mind about who can see or delete and replace the file.

With so many options, where do I start?
You’ll probably want to make some decisions about who will be using your wiki and how they’ll be using it. As far as permissions are concerned, there are four kinds of people: organizers, members, registered users, and everyone else. Make sure that you’ve assigned membership — and the right type of membership — to all the right people.

Now you just tweak the settings for your wiki, pages, and files. You can find some of the more popular permissions settings scenarios on our Privacy help page.

What if I have a Private Label site?
If you’re on Wikispaces Private Label, then, on top of all this, you also have permissions settings for your whole site. Just go to Site Administration > Settings > Users & Privacy. You’ve probably already played with this a bit, deciding who’s allowed to see your site, and who can create new accounts, and turning your messaging system on an off, and some other things. But if it’s been a while since you last adjusted your settings, you might want to check in on some of our recent Private Label permissions upgrades:

  • Allow user account creation by domain: If you know that you’ll be approving every account request that comes from an email address within your school or company, anyway, save yourself time by automatically approving that email address domain. As soon as the user confirms their email address, their account will be active.
  • Grant guest access by IP address: Maybe you don’t want your site to be visible to the entire world, but you also don’t think that every person in your building needs an account to look at their wikis. You can white list your building’s IP address, and everyone in the building gets an automatic guest pass. Easy!

Honestly, when it comes to permissions, there’s a lot of ground to cover. I hope this has given you at least a taste of the possibilities. Our Privacy help page goes over this in some more detail.

NOTE: If none of this answers your questions, you might want to check out our archive blog posts on custom permissions for Super and Private Label plans, or page-level permissions.

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  1. Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    I think it’s a nice idea to help people understand how their work flow can be improved by judicious use of permissions:

    “switching up a handful of different settings (all easy to do, by the way) gives you an enormous number of options”

    … except that several crucial features discussed here seem not to be available below the Super level of account. Perhaps this article could be revised to set accurate expectations regarding what settings (and thus work flow) are available at each level.

    The unavailability of “Hidden” below the Super level is a particularly tough pill to swallow, for the exact reasons described above: it’s needed in order to hide work-in-preparation. If it really was available to all accounts, then that might raise the general quality of what’s exposed on Wikispaces. It’s restriction is especially odd since it’s a pretty standard feature on blogging platforms, and expected for sensible work flow.

    — Graham

  2. Kelly Posey
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    If I set the permission to lock so that the page can’t be edited, will the members still be able to post to the discussion? I am using my wiki with students and I only want them posting to the discussion board. Some of them have accidentally edited the page and lost what I put on it.

  3. Debbie
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kelly,

    Yes, they will still be able to post. Locking a page only keeps members from editing the content on the page.


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