TeamSpeak 3 Server permissions and how they work

The Permission System is a very versatile and feature rich system that determines which users are allowed to do which actions.

What kind or permissions are there?

Boolean Permissions
These permissions can only have two values, true or false.

Example: b_virtualserver_modify_name

From the name of the permission you immediately see that it a boolean permission, since it begins with "b_". After this prefix is the actual name of the permission, which should give you an idea what the permission is about. In this case the permission controls if you may change the virtual server name. If it is set to true, you can change the virtual server name, if it is set to false or not set at all you can not edit the virtual server name.

Integer Permissions
These permissions accept integers as values.

Examples: i_channel_max_depth

From the name again you can see that it is an integer permission, because it is prefixed with "i_". The actual name of the permission, channel_max_depth in this case tells you what this permission controls. In this case it controls how "deep" channel structures you may create. So if the value is set to "0", it means you can create only top-level channels. If it is set to "1", you can also create sub-channels. Set to "2" you can also create sub-sub-channels and so on.

As with many permissions that have no logical limit i_channel_max_depth also has a special value of "-1" which means there is no maximum depth limitation for channels.

Power and needed Power Permissions
These permissions are a special case of Integer Permissions. They always come in pairs, one power permission and one needed power permission. You can only successfully issue the action the permission controls if your power is equal or greater than the associated needed power.


i_client_kick_power i_client_needed_kick_power

When you want to kick a client the permission system will compare your "kick power" with the "needed kick power" of the target of your kick. If you have equal or greater power, you will be able to kick this client. If your power is less than the needed kick power of your target, you will not be able to go through. This essentially introduces a "pecking order", you can for example grant your lower tier administrators the permission to kick only guests, but your high tier administrators are able to kick any user on the server.

i_needed_modify_power_* or Grant-Permissions
Every permission has an associated i_needed_modify_power_* permission, for example PERMISSION_b_client_ban_create has an associated permission called PERMISSION_i_needed_modify_power_client_ban_create. In the client interface these associated needed_modify_power permission are usually displayed as additional "Grant" value of the original permission, instead of as a separate permission of its own, which is why we call these permissions Grant-Permissions as well. These Grant-Permissions control which permissions a client is allowed to grant or revoke, so they are the key to modifying the permission system and are thus usually reserved to administrators. Editing the permission system will be explained further down in a separate chapter called "Who can edit the permission system?"

How do clients get permissions? How are they assigned?
The way a client receives his permissions is determined through a 5 layer system. Each layer can overwrite permissions from the previous layer. If a permission is not granted on any of these 5 layers, it will be assumed to be of zero or false value. These are the 5 Layers:

  • Tier 1: Server Groups
  • Tier 2: Client Specific Permissions
  • Tier 3: Channel Specific Permissions
  • Tier 4: Channel Groups
  • Tier 5: Channel and Client Specific Permissions

Example: You are in the "Guest" server group (Tier 1) which has the permission b_channel_modify_name set to false. But you are also a "Channel Admin" (Tier 4) and a channel admin has b_channel_modify_name set to true. Since the channel group is in a higher tier than the server group, in the end you *can* modify your channels name (but not that of other channels where you are not channel admin).

Now we will discuss each layer and it's special properties in detail.

Tier 1: Server Groups

Every client is part of one or more server groups. These server groups can contain any number of permissions, that you receive when becoming part of the group. Since you can be part of multiple Server Groups at once, and since the same permission could be granted in multiple of these Server Groups there has to be a way to figure out the "resulting" permission of the Tier 1 layer in these cases. The logic behind this is to use the best or highest value as result. Every permission in a Server Group can have the flag "negate" or the "skip" flags set, they will be explained later in this chapter. Since every client is always part of at least one server group, there is a special group that can be configured in the server configuration, called the "Default Server Group". When a new (previously unknown) client joins the server he automatically becomes a member of this group. Also if you are currently in the Default Server Group and you are assigned a new group you automatically leave the Default Server Group.

Example: Say you are member of three Server Groups: Server Admin, Clan Leader and War Organizer. Server admin has i_client_kick_power of 50. Clan Leader has i_client_kick_power of 100 and War Organizer does not have i_client_kick_power set at all. The permission resulting on Tier 1 for you is i_client_kick_power of 100, since this is the highest value you have from all your server groups.

Sometimes you might want to create a Server Group that negatively affects the users that are put into it. For example a "Sticky" group that disallows switching of channels or a "Silent" group that removes the privileges to talk from the clients that receive it. To allow this the negate flag can be added to permissions in a server group. If you are member of a group that has a permission flagged with the negate flag, you will not receive the highest value of this permission, but rather the lowest that is flagged with negate.

Example: You created a Server Group called "Sticky". It contains only one permission: i_channel_join_power set to "-1", and a negate flag is applied to this permission. Now if I grant sticky group to any client they will not be able to switch channels anymore. This also works if the user I put into "Sticky" group has a positive i_channel_join_power set, since the negate flag will make sure the Tier 1 result will be the lowest negated i_channel_join_power permission, so -1 or less than that. The reason why it is not possible to switch channels anymore is that normally a channel has no i_channel_needed_join_power set, and if a permission is not set it is assumed to be zero. Since -1 is smaller than zero, the user won't be able to join.

Since Server Groups are the first Tier of permission layers, it is possible that they will be overwritten by a higher tier permission. Since it is sometimes desirable to prevent Channel Groups (Tier 4) to overwrite permissions that you received through your Server Group there is the "Skip" flag. If a permission in either Server Group (Tier 1) or Client Specific Permissions (Tier 2) has the skip flag set, this permission will not be altered by any overlapping permission in the Channel Groups (Tier 4) layer.

Example: As the admin of your server you do not want the channel group to be able to restrict your permissions. By adding the skip flag to all of the permissions in the server admin group you make sure that no matter how these permissions are configured by any channel groups you may be granted, these channel group permissions will not take any effect on your abilities.

Tier 2: Client Specific Permissions

These permission are set to a specific client, and they will overwrite any overlapping permissions from Tier 1. Permissions on this layer can also (like Server Group permissions) have the skip flag set which will make sure the Channel Group (Tier 4) will not overwrite the value of this permission.

Example: You are in the "Guest" Server Group, which has a i_client_kick_power of zero. Since you want to be able to kick without assigning yourself an admin group or similar, you added a client specific permission of i_client_kick_power with value 100. Since Client Specific Permissions are Tier 2, they will overwrite any Tier 1 permissions when overlap occurs.

Tier 3: Channel Specific Permissions

Channel Specific Permissions are similar to the Client Specific Permissions, but applied on a channel level. One example of how this can be used is to control who is allowed to talk in a channel. Simply set a i_client_needed_talk_power value on the channel and only clients with a equal or higher i_client_talk_power permission will be able to talk in this channel. Other useful use cases might be channels that can only be joined by some users (via i_channel_needed_join_power) or that can only be looked into by some users (via i_channel_needed_subscribe_power). All channel specific permissions that can logically be applied to a channel scope are only valid within the channel scope. For example if a channel specific permission gives you a high i_client_kick_power value, you can only use this to kick clients that are in this channel, not clients that are in other channels. Of course some permissions have no logical channel scope they can be applied to, for example b_virtualserver_stop - these will work exactly the same as if they were granted e.g. via a Server Group.

Tier 4: Channel Groups

Every client is part of exactly one channel group. When a client is inserted into a new channel group, the server automatically removes this client from the previous channel group. All permissions you get via a channel group can only be applied on the channel level, for example if you are granted b_channel_modify_password it will only let you modify the password of the channel in which you actually have this permission. There are two special channel groups that are configured in the sever settings, the "Default Channel Group" is assigned to any client that joins a channel for the first time and the "Default Channel Admin Group" is granted to the client that creates a channel.

Tier 5: Channel and Client Specific Permissions

Channel and Client Specific Permissions are like a combination of Client Specific Permissions (Tier 2) and Channel Specific Permissions (Tier 3). They apply to a client and a channel at once; only when the specified client and the specified channels are concerned do they take affect. This is used by the client for the priority speaker feature: when you are granted priority speaker status, a channel and? client specific permission is added for your client and the current channel you are (called b_client_is_priority_speaker). As with Tier 3 and Tier 4 all permissions that can logically be applied to a channel scope will only be valid within channels where you have this permission granted.

Who can edit the permission system?
The permission system also decides who is allowed to edit the permission system itself, usually a task that only administrators will be trusted with.

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