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Permissions UI gets unwieldy with a large number of roles and categories

We moved a forum for our Cybernations alliance over from SMF to Vanilla, and although it's been better in a lot of ways, one things that's extremely frustrating is the permissions UI.

We probably have 30 or more roles, and a similar number of categories, virtually every one of which has custom permissions applied. It's becoming a nightmare just to set up new roles and categories.

For background, Cybernations is a nation simulation game, with a primitive, limited number of actions per day interface, and an extremely rich metagame that plays out on the forums and IRC channels of player-run alliances. Spying on other alliances is allowed, if not encouraged,

This leads to relatively low traffic forums, with unusually complex granular permission requirements.

There are basically 4 classes of users.

  • Registered Guests - who may view public information and post in application forums.
  • Diplomats - which have access to general "offtopic" boards and the "embassy" board corresponding to their own alliance.
  • Members - which have access to all "member" boards, all the offtopic boards, and all the embassy boards.
  • Government - which have access to everything.

On top of this, we have to compartmentalize members into divisions. Suffice it to say, there's very close to a 1:1 relationship between roles and categories at this point.

When you consider that every role lists a mass of checkboxes for each of the categories with custom permissions, and every category with custom permissions lists a mass of checkboxes for every role, it gets unwieldy very quickly.

What would be better in this scenario, and for anyone else that might be suffering from "role overload" is to only list a row of permissions for each role that has permissions assigned, and have a "Add new permissions" button.

For example:

Custom Permissions for "Some Category"
Member:  [Remove Permission]
   Discussion: View [x] New [x] Edit []  Delete []
   Comment: View [x] New [x] Edit [] Delete []

   Discussion: View [x] New [x] Edit [x]  Delete [x]
   Comment: View [x] New [x] Edit [x] Delete [x]

[Select a role...] [Add New Permission]


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