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As a moderator, when I access any user's profile I am greeted with the following menu at the top of the page:

example profile menu

When I click "edit" I am able to edit that user's profile. When I click "preferences" I am able to see and alter that user's preferences. When I click "flair" I see that user's flair. When I click "my logins" I see and can edit that user's login information. When I click "meta user" I am transferred to that user's meta profile, and similarly clicking "network profile" gives me that user's network profile.

What about "privileges"? If you've been following closely it should come as no surprise that when I click "privileges" I see my own privileges.

I know that a user's privileges can be accessed through the "mod" link, but mainly because of the inconsistency of the interface, I suggest that the "privileges" link should give that user's privilege information instead of my own.

(Spurred by Aziz Shaikh's comment below, this would appear to be exceedingly simple to fix/change. Instead of linking to /help/privileges, link to /help/privileges/user/<id>. The other links in the menu are generated from the user id, and reason suggests this one could be, too.)

  • @Oded The fact the user privileges page does exist suggests it shouldn't be a big dev issue to link that 'privileges' menu item to that mod page instead of the standard privileges page. – JonW Sep 2 '14 at 10:24
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    Btw, seeing another user's privileges is open (and not a mod-only link), type /help/privileges/user/<id> and you are there. Reference: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8211/… – Aziz Shaikh Sep 2 '14 at 10:24
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    @Chenmunka Only moderators can do that. So it's not a security hole, it's a mod-only feature only used when really necessary. – JonW Sep 2 '14 at 12:02
  • @Chenmunka: I've never attempted to alter another user's preferences (not even those of a temporary fake account created for this express purpose). But I am presented with a page that looks very similar to the corresponding page from my own user profile, except with another user's data. (To be honest, I would have thought that altering the "my logins" would present more of a problem, but maybe I'm not seeing things correctly.) I have to believe that any moderator using this maliciously would be de-diamonded in short notice. – user642796 Sep 2 '14 at 12:06
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If you go to the moderator menu on a user's profile, you have convenient access to the route that shows the user's privileges instead of your own. It's in Mod -> Info -> Privileges. We like to put things that behave differently for moderators behind an obvious 'here be mod things' curtain, with the exception of votes and flags (and there's a reasonably large internal debate regarding that).

However, this has less to do with moderation than anything. The link is there for the user themselves to see what privileges they've unlocked. To make this right, let's forget about the mod use case and either:

  • Show that link only to the owner of the profile (because what sense does going to someone else's profile to see your privileges make) and leave the mod route in the mod menu

  • (probably better) Just make the link go to privileges/user/id for anyone else but the owner of the profile. The owner still goes to /privileges as this is the link that most users care about, it's easy to remember, and it won't ever change.

What remains is, would the existing UX on the privileges page be sufficient for viewing someone else's privileges, and not easily confused with your own? That's what we'd have to determine, so I'm putting a status-review on this.

For now, if you (as a mod) want to see another user's privileges you can use the shortcut link in the mod menu, or just note their rep and look at the page in any form, it's pretty simple :)

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  • Part of the UX of the user privileges page is in the discoverability of that page itself, not just the content of that page. – JonW Sep 2 '14 at 12:16
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    I think I understand what you mean about separating things that behave different for moderators and regular users. This would appear to stem from the philosophy that if two users viewing the same page take the same action (they both have access to), the result should be the same. I think this philosophy is broken in terms of the "privileges" links on a specific user's profile. While each user is brought to the same URL, the actual result — the experience — depends entirely the user. (As an aside, I generally think of the "mod" menu as anything but convenient, especially as it concerns "info".) – user642796 Sep 2 '14 at 13:16
  • @ArthurFischer Yes, it's just wonky all around. We shouldn't need a mod info link there to begin with. Just show the privileges of the owner of the profile, if not your own, seems the simplest thing to do there. I have to look into it because a lot of twiddling went into the privileges page surrounding potential confusion. There's more work on profiles coming up, if that doesn't outright fix this, then we need to address it individually. – Tim Post Sep 2 '14 at 14:58
  • @TimPost Surely the link on the profile page displayed about a user can be /privileges/user/id (and thus be consistent for everyone accessing the page, including the user himself); and /privileges can simply be a shortcut -- if an id is not supplied, default to the user's own and redirect to /privileges/user/id. – Andrew Leach Dec 31 '14 at 7:46
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Though the UI for the settings page has changed in the 5 years and 8 months since this was requested, the issue was still there. Happy to report that it has been fixed.

For mods who are viewing another user's [Profile and Settings] page, clicking on the [Privileges] link will load up the privileges page for that user. And the header at the top of the page will include the name of the user (linking to their profile), to make it clear whose privileges you are looking at.

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