[wp-edu] Authors and permissions

Jay Collier jay.collier at thecompass.com
Tue Aug 31 20:53:50 UTC 2010


In my experience managing and editing department sites, I've found that custom permissions weren't worth the extra effort. In WP 3 multisite, each department will have its own site, so only those users you've assigned to that site have access. 

Also, I have always asked for a single editor authorized to publish content (at the default "editor" level) and when there are others (such as faculty) who have permission to update individual pages, I've assigned them as "authors" for final approval by the editor. As people show their enthusiasm and skills, you can shift them up ... or down ;)

(BTW, Tiny-MCE-Advanced allows you to shut down most of the eggregious editing buttons -- like text and background color, left and right justify, etc. -- so authors and editors don't get into trouble in the first place.)

Then, using WP-Audit-Trail, student assistants, armed with quality assurance guidelines, periodically checked out what had been published on each site and provided recommendations for improvements directly to the site editors. Of the 50 sites I managed at a previous college, I only had 1-2 editors who were resistant and who were escalated to me for triage. Over time, the deans assigned others to take over that role. As a matter of fact, recognition of the importance of public communications was integrated more deeply into job descriptions for future hires.

As to initiating sites: at first, we assigned sites based on the org chart -- so there would be clear authority in a dean or director -- and then eventually opened up to microsites that targeted particular audiences or activities, and for which there were experienced editors. The only "administrators" on each subsite were members of the central team, who made changes to widgets, child themes, etc.

Your college culture may or may not support that type of workflow, but I would recommend prototyping with some early adopters and see if the built-in permissions are enough. If not, you can always add more control later.

Hope that is helpful ...


> Lafayette and Bates are two amazing examples of what can be done with WordPress to power a university site. I am heading up efforts at Lincoln Memorial University to convert our existing site to WordPress. One issue we are running into is how to properly assign permissions to the various people on the team, which includes multiple departments on campus. Would those who have implemented WordPress in this way share how they arranged their organizational chart to handle admin, safety, security, updates, web standards, duplication of efforts, etc.? Any other pieces of advice would also be appreciated. Thanks!
> Joshua


Jay Collier, The Compass LLC
Web: http://thecompass.com
Web: http://jaycollier.net
E-mail: mailto:jay.collier at thecompass.com
Voice: callto:+1-207-956-0320

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