Discovered a couple of things:
When user creates a new account, the role of Reader is always available and is checked by default. If the user unchecks that and creates the account, then they are members of the conference but have no role. I'm not sure why that's allowed.
If the current date is in the range specified in Author registration opened and Author registration closed in the Current Conference / Timeline admin page, then the role of "Author" also appears on the Create New Account form, but is unchecked by default. Only the db-admin can modify that and it affects all conferences in the system. If the user does not check that Author checkbox, then they are not entitled to submit a proposal.
If the current date is NOT in the range specified in Author registration opened and Author registration closed in the Current Conference / Timeline admin page, then the Author checkbox does not appear, so the user cannot give themselves permission to submit.
The user is not able to make themselves an author after the fact either - they have to write to the conference admin who can add that role to that user. We're trying to get the library to change that form so that if the Author checkbox is displayed, it is checked by default.
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