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We’re currently making rapid changes to the product so our docs may be out of date. If you need help, please email

What is a role?

If authorization is about who has permission to be allowed to do what you want to do, then Roles are common patterns of authorization across users - reducing the administrative overhead.

Why do I need to know about roles?

Some bugs can only be seen for users with specific roles. You will need to change the role to reproduce a problem.

How do we implement roles in Forem?

Roles are implemented in this application using Rolify. The list of roles can be found in app/models/role.rb and you can search for has_role in the codebase to find which pages need which roles.

A new user starts without any roles, and there is no administrative way of adding roles to users yet. To assign a user a role you will have to run commands at the console.

Example of adding permissions to a user

  • open the Rails console.
rails console
  • after verifying the user test_user_name is missing the trusted role we proceed to add it and then verify the role has been added:
> user = User.find_by(username: "test_user_name")
> user.has_role?(:trusted)
=> false

> user.add_role(:trusted)
=> #<Role:
name: "trusted"
.. >

> user.has_role?(:trusted)
=> true

Another common requirement is changing to the administrative role, and an example of this is found [on the admin page][5].


A more complex query to list all the users and their roles:

User.joins(:roles).order(:id).group(:id).pluck(:id, :username, Arel.sql("array_agg("))

Further Reading

  1. Rolify
  2. [What is the purpose of Rolify?][4]
  3. [Admin][5]