EE Tip: How to allow your members to submit entries.

I’ve had a couple of requests for how I went about setting up EE to allow registered members to submit entries for consideration so here’s the writeup I promised. First thing I did was make use of the instructions in the documentation on how to Mask Access to the Control Panel so that my link to submit entries would be different than the one I use to access the back end of the website. To do this I copied the admin.php file out of my system/utilities/ directory, renamed it to submit.php and then uploaded it to the subdirectory holding SEB. Because I already have a path.php in that directory I didn’t need to bother with that step of the documentation.

Next I needed to modify the Members group to allow it limited access to the control panel. Go to Control Panel Home ›  Admin ›  Member Groups and click on the Edit Group link next to the Members group in the list. You will need to modify only a few parameters the first being “can access control panel” which you should set to “yes.” Then under Control Panel Area Access you’ll define what areas of the CP they can access. Select Yes for PUBLISH page and, if you want them to be able to edit their own entries, select Yes for EDIT page. If you want them to be able to delete their own entries then under Weblog Posting and Editing Privileges you’ll want to set “can delete their own weblog entries” to Yes. Finally under Weblog Assignment you’ll want to change the “can post and edit entries in weblog: someweblogname” to Yes for the blog(s) you want them to be able to post to. Everything else should be left to the defaults.

I didn’t want guest posts to be published until I had a chance to look them over and this was easily accomplished by adding another Entry Status to the default group.  Simply go to Control Panel Home ›  Admin ›  Status Groups and select the status group you’re using on the blog you want to accept submissions to. Create a new status called “Pending” or whatever you want to call it. I suggest putting in a Highlight Color to help these entries stand out in the edit list as EE won’t notify you when someone submits a new entry*, you’ll have to look for them occasionally. I made my color red. You’ll also want to make sure that under the “restrict status to members of specific groups” that the Members group is allowed to use this new status. The next step, and this is the most important, is you’ll want to edit the Open and Closed statuses and make sure to set Members to NO. This allows them only one choice when they make a new entry: Pending.

We’re almost done, but due to a minor bug in EE we need to change one more setting. You’ll want to edit your weblog under Control Panel Home ›  Admin ›  Weblog Management and change the Default Entry Status to Pending (or whatever you named it). If you leave it set to Open then EE will make that the default status even though Members are restricted from choosing it. It’s a minor annoyance.

Finally, you’ll want to put a link someplace on your index that points to your submit.php file so members can access the editing screen. That’s it. Now your members can access the Publish and Edit screens and will see only their entries when doing so. When they submit the entry will be filed as Pending for you to review and change to Open later as you see fit. The only two drawbacks are that EE doesn’t notify you when someone submits a new entry and you have to remember to change your entires to Open when you post them because you’ve changed the default status.

* Both of these issues are no longer true. You can set EE to notify you of user submissions to your blog under the Notifications preferences for that blog and EE will properly set a new submission to the PENDING status if it’s the only one available to the user who submitted it.

10 thoughts on “EE Tip: How to allow your members to submit entries.

  1. Thanks for the instructions, Les!

    Two questions:

    1) Can you post instructions for highlighting “guest” entries so they are different from others on the main page?
    2) Have you submitted a bug report for the entry status bug?

  2. Awesome tip Les!  I’ve enabled this on my site as well, but I’m going to wait until I can put together a user-friendly “how to submit a story” entry.

    Keep us posted on how this works for you (although I guess we’ll see for ourselves soon enough).

  3. Horribly off topic, but is something up with your RSS feed? Bloglines has it marked as an error since your Photo Meme post. I’ve tried re-subscribing with the same result, as well.

    Could just be visibility from BlogLines to you, of course.

    Oh, and my last three “submit words” were son, him, and higher… I smell a conspiracy.

  4. Etan, I never got around to answering your question about highlighting guest entries because I got sick.

    Did you still need the answer to that or have you figured it out?

  5. So I have a question regarding EE. I came to your site after searching for Membership Status info. When considering the primary options for entry status, open or closed, I’d like to find something inbetween for members of a blog. Does EE alow you to create member-only posts, and what needs to happen to do that? I’ve been checking the instructions and am still looking in several places, but thought you might be able to shed some light…

    Thanks,

    khalil

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