Users & Permissions

dotCommunity provides comprehensive user management functionality to all websites.

Through the pages in the Users & Permissions tab you can maintain a list of all the members of your site, specify exactly what they should have permission to do within the website, and use a simple interface to get in contact with them all via email. You can even allocate some of your members to be additional administrators to help you maintain the site.

Membership Policy

There are three membership policies that you can choose for your website:

Open (anyone can join) - if you select this then any registered user of the system can become a member of your site without requiring any approval from administrators. They can join by clicking the Join Group link in the top bar of your homepage. Think carefully before choosing this, especially if you allow members to contribute to discussions forums, since this means people you don't know will be allowed to post.

Closed (membership requires approval) - any registered user can request membership of your site by clicking the Join Group link in the top bar of your homepage. You need to approve their request from the Members page before they become a full member (see Members below).

Private (invitation only) - The Join Group link is not shown on your homepage, and users cannot request membership of your website. Administrators can still invite other users from the Members admin pages though (e.g., if you want to create a new administrator).

Members

Screenshot of members admin

The Members page lists all the members of your website and their current state. It allows you to add and manage your members and administrators. Members can have one of two Roles:

  • A member is someone who has joined your group as an ordinary approved member.
  • An admin is someone with administrative rights to your site. You can give administration rights to any member of your group. An administrator has the same capabilities that you do as the main administrator of your site, including the ability to grant and revoke administration rights to other users.

If you have a Closed membership policy, then whenever someone applies to be a member of your website a needs approval filter will appear on the left of the page (1 in diagram). To approve their membership click the filter and then the Approve button next to their name. Once a user is approved you can change their role by clicking the Make administrator or Revoke administration link. To stop a user being a member of your website click the Remove button.

The search box (2) allows you to quickly find people in your members list by name or email address - useful if you have a lot of members!

To access the email address of a user please click the + symbol that is to the left of the users name.

If you know the email address of someone you would like to invite to your website, click the Invite others to join link (3) and fill in the details in the displayed form. If the invitee is already registered on the site they will receive an email informing inviting them to click a web link to verify they want to join the group. If that person clicks this link then they are automatically made a member.

If the invitee is not already registered on the site they will receive an email with the relevant web link to register for an account. Once the registration process is complete that person automatically becomes a member of your site, without the normal approval step.

Note, you must enter the exact email address of the user you wish to invite and the registrant must use the same email address when filling out their registration form.

The invitation function does not work if your site is disabled or hidden (e.g. in development).

Permissions & Sharing

From here you can set the access permissions for your website. For further information see the Permissions & Sharing page.

Email

This page gives you controls and settings for sending emails to the members of your website.

Welcome Email

You can create an email which will be sent to new users when they join your website - for example you may wish to welcome them and invite them to post some information about themselves onto a discussion forum. When an email is being sent the following special keywords (including the curly brackets) will be replaced with the corresponding values.

{first_names} - The first names of the new member
{last_name} - The surname of the new member
{user_account_page} - The account details page for the new member
{site_url} - The url to your site

Examples of their use can be seen in the default email.

Email Templates

You can create email templates (e.g., newsletters) and save them for later use. If you create an HTML template then you can use the full WYSIWYG editor, and include pictures in your emails.

This page allows administrators to configure an automatically generated email to be sent to all new members of their website, i.e. after their membership has been approved.

Once you have created an email template, clicking Send next to the template allows you to choose who you want to send it to, as well as making any further required edits before it is sent.

You can choose to send email only to yourself, rather than to  your members, which is useful for testing that the email looks just right when it is received.

Send Email to Website Users

This allows you to send a custom one-off email to your users, without using one of the predefined templates.