Today we have made an important change to the permissions level in IFADAsia - instead of it being a closed, private site, by default all content will now be visible to be read by anyone visiting sites within the network, without the need to first register and log in.
This is in response to many of our members, who have told us that the barrier of a registration and log in page was putting off many of their partners and stakeholders from entering their sites within IFADAsia, and it was limiting the platform's usefulness for their work, in terms of communication, knowledge sharing and operations.
What this new permission structure means is that if you read or post content which you think is interesting or important, you can share it via social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, or send a link within an email or eNewsletter. When anyone clicks the link they will be able to read the content, and will only have to register and login to comment on it, or add their own content. It means that a visitor to the platform can begin to see how what type of content it contains before being asked to make a commitment to joining.
Another aspect of the change is actually to give greater privacy to other content items. While much content is best displayed publicly, there are some cases where our members have told us that they would like to share content only within a smaller group.
To allow for this, we have three other levels of permissions. These allow content to be seen only by:
- members of the IFADAsia network
- members of the current site (people who have 'joined' the site community
- members of a restricted group of the current site
When anyone creates any type of content they can easily choose one of the four permissions levels using a simple drop-down, and the creator and the site host can quickly edit permissions later at any time.
What do we see?
Each member will view the layout and page of a site within IFADAsia in the same way. However lists of the seven different content types (news, blogs, discussions, events, resources, images and videos) will simply show more or less items, depending upon who the viewer is.
Although this new permission structure gives us much greater freedom, and we hope will help IFADAsia continue to grow and become ever more useful, we must also remember that having our content publicly readable places greater responsibility upon each of us for what we write.
Whether it's a normal user thinking about copyright before choosing to copy and post entire articles from someone else's site (and instead choosing to write their own introduction and including a link to the original), or whether it's a site host taking the time to check new content in their site daily, it's important that we do not break any data protection laws, and that we do not allow content which is in any way inappropriate or offensive to exist within our network.
The restricted group will be the core team of a country programme, a project, or a group. If you need to share documents or discuss matters which are confidential, or simply which you feel would be inappropriate to be shared in a public arena, this setting gives you the chance to use your IFADAsia site in a different way.
At present, site hosts cannot edit the list of restricted group members of their site. To set up your group, please email me, Cleona Wallace, with your list, giving names and email addresses of the people we should include.
If you would like to read more, please take a look at our 'How to' guide to permissions.
I have tried to explain all this as clearly as possible. However I know that it's a fairly complicated concept and I'm sure we will discover much, and learn many lessons as we move forward. If you have any questions at all, or suggestions about how I could improve the way I explain anything, please do write a comment below. It's only by talking things through that we can really make sense of them!