Custom Permissions II

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We are very happy to inform you that we finished two big features this week: a significant upgrade to the way messages work and the first round of custom permissions.

As we have explained before, we are building RPGpad based on the philosophy that the system should not get in the way of the game. This also means that we normally try to do the opposite of restricting access or editing — after all, with table top groups or smaller forum games that would only get in the way.

However in the case of larger groups, or forum roleplays with multiple game masters, there is a lot of use for a “secret plots” forum, or a Game Masters Meetings forum; or even simply a “Players Only” forum that cannot be viewed by guest that are not a player in the campaign.

Small but significant The first round of custom permissions brings you the ability to protected and lock wiki pages, and to create forums that are restricted to a certain group of people. There will be further rounds of improvements to the custom permissions over time.

Only two new permissions might seem like a small step. But the restricted viewing of forums is a significant step forward — by having them, we are able to create new permissions much easier in the future.

What’s the big deal? So, what makes this single “who can view the forum” permission such a big deal? The fact that we want to be very sure that RPGpad does what it promises.

When you make a forum for Game Masters only, this means that no information from the forum should reach non-Game Masters. Not that it is just hidden in the overview, but that other’s can’t see or discover the contents of the forum. There should be as little trace of the existence of the forum as possible.

Many little paths Though you may not expect it, there are many little ways that might give away the forum and its contents:

There is the search which might show you threads you should not know about, the activity feed for the forums might list new posts that should be hidden, the activity feed for the whole campaign can also do that, as can the RSS feeds for both. Then there is the listing of threads with a certain tag which might leak out the existence of a thread of it is tagged, and of course when you link from a thread to a wiki page the thread should not show up in the wanted pages “linked from” list. And the list goes on…

And that’s only for the forum. When we look at the potential hidden wiki page permission, there’s also the indexes, the listings of people, locations or items, and the [show] tag on pages.

Conclusions Instead of trying to work on all these “little paths” separately we worked on a method to protect any hidden thing from being shown in any of the listings, indices, activity feeds, etc.

That way, when we add new custom permissions later on, you can be sure that your secret plots page remains a secret!

As always, you can check out the changelog for a detailed list of changes!

While not all our ideas from for messaging improvement and custom permissions made it into the release for this week, we’ll keep chipping away at them in the background while we work on other big things. We would love to hear from you what you think of the improvements so far!