multiple google calendars in the ios calendar app

i hate administrator privileges

Often as system administrators, we're doing three things at once: administering an application or a service; providing support to the folks who use that service; and using that service itself.

In systems where permissions can be assigned on a fine-grained level, those tend to get rolled up into a handful of roles. The most basic case is to have two roles, "user" and "administrator", where the latter has all the privileges of the former. When answering a user's question, I've frequently found myself wondering: is this something everyone can do, or is it because I have elevated privileges?

Unless the permission system is VERY explicit — consider sudo for example — it's kind of hard to keep up. This is a little easier with applications that have a separate administrative panel. You know you're there, and it's obvious that access to it is a function of your role. But those roles and permissions extend into the rest of the application. In an application where every screen and button and field relies on some level of access, visually indicating the required access level isn't particularly practical.

I've come to the conclusion that I want two accounts, in cases like this. I want a regular user account for my day-to-day use, which I can use to provide instructions or guidance to others; and an administrator account that I can use to resolve issues or help with other tasks.

I've been using this pattern with our Gitlab installation at work and I've found it useful. It is a little annoying to switch between two different browsers, but the hassle has been worth it, many times over, in being able to give clear and useful instructions to other people. And, the hidden benefit: it highlights the places where our permission assignments aren't sufficient for everyday users. 

comments powered by Disqus