Roles and permissions

Zulip offers several levels of permissions based on a user's role in a Zulip organization.

Here are some important details to note when working with these roles and permissions in Zulip's API:

A user's role

A user's account data include a role property, which contains the user's role in the Zulip organization. These roles are encoded as:

  • Organization owner: 100

  • Organization administrator: 200

  • Organization moderator: 300

  • Member: 400

  • Guest: 600

User account data also include these boolean properties that duplicate the related roles above:

  • is_owner specifying whether the user is an organization owner.

  • is_admin specifying whether the user is an organization administrator.

  • is_guest specifying whether the user is a guest user.

These are intended as conveniences for simple clients, and clients should prefer using the role field, since only that one is updated by the events API.

Note that POST /register also returns an is_moderator boolean property specifying whether the current user is an organization moderator.

Additionally, user account data include an is_billing_admin property specifying whether the user is a billing administrator for the Zulip organization, which is not related to one of the roles listed above, but rather allows for specific permissions related to billing administration in paid Zulip Cloud plans.

User account data in the API

Endpoints that return the user account data / properties mentioned above are:

Note that the POST /register endpoint returns the above boolean properties to describe the role of the current user, when realm_user is present in fetch_event_types.

Additionally, the specific events returned by the GET /events endpoint containing data related to user accounts and roles are the realm_user add event, and the realm_user update event.

Permission levels

Many areas of Zulip are customizable by the roles above, such as (but not limited to) restricting message editing and deletion and channels permissions. The potential permission levels are:

  • Everyone / Any user including Guests (least restrictive)

  • Members

  • Full members

  • Moderators

  • Administrators

  • Owners

  • Nobody (most restrictive)

These permission levels and policies in the API are designed to be cutoffs in that users with the specified role and above have the specified ability or access. For example, a permission level documented as 'moderators only' includes organization moderators, administrators, and owners.

Note that specific settings and policies in the Zulip API that use these permission levels will likely support a subset of those listed above.

Group-based permissions

Some settings have been migrated to a more flexible system based on user groups.

Determining if a user is a full member

When a Zulip organization has set up a waiting period before new members turn into full members, clients will need to determine if a user's account has aged past the organization's waiting period threshold.

The realm_waiting_period_threshold, which is the number of days until a user's account is treated as a full member, is returned by the POST /register endpoint when realm is present in fetch_event_types.

Clients can compare the realm_waiting_period_threshold to a user accounts's date_joined property, which is the time the user account was created, to determine if a user has the permissions of a full member or a new member.