Cant update email via API - invalid_access error

Hi Guys,

Im getting an error when trying to use the API to update email.
I have looked at the logs and can see the following:

Started PUT “/discussion/users/davetest/preferences/email.json” for xx.xx.xx.xx at 2018-05-11 12:22:11 +0000

Processing by UsersEmailController#update as JSON

Parameters: {“api_key”=>;"[FILTERED]", “api_username”=>;“daveAdmin”, “email”=>;“[](”, “username”=>;“davetest”}

Can’t verify CSRF token authenticity.

This is a PUT request, but looking at the scopes below, doesnt seem like PUT is supported for the WRITE scope? surely im misunderstanding, so could someone please assist?

I have re-generated the all-user api-key, also created specific user api-keys to use, but same result.

read: [:get],
write: [:get, :post, :patch],
message_bus: [[:post, ‘message_bus’]],
push: nil,
notifications: [[:post, ‘message_bus’], [:get, ‘notifications#index’], [:put, ‘notifications#mark_read’]],
session_info: [[:get, ‘session#current’], [:get, ‘users#topic_tracking_state’]]

Can you verify the content-type that you are making the API request as? It needs to be

"Content-Type: multipart/form-data;"

If it is not that content type you may see the CSRF token error.

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Hi, thanks for the reply.
I actually had tried it both with ‘application/json’ and ‘application/x-www-form-urlencoded’ and neither worked. I have now tried it with what you suggested (via postman) and getting:

“You are not permitted to view the requested resource. The API username or key is invalid.”

I have regenerated the global api key that is used for “all users” and using it with my own username, which is an admin too…


Here is an example of my postman request maybe you can spot any differences with what you are doing? I’m also using the “all users” key with an admin username.


yes, its the same, im using the Postman API collection supplied by discourse. So using it as suggested. I will try again tonight and see if i get any different results. Will update when ive tried. Thanks for assisting, much appreciated. Do let me know if you have any other idea.

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I’m experiencing this issue too and I’m wondering if it has anything to do with using an oauth provider for signing in and so this specific page is being blocked?

It most likely isn’t the oauth provider because the api keys will bypass it.

Could you share the code for your API request?

in python:

import json
import requests
import time

my_token = ''

url_base = '<>'
update_email = url_base + "users/<my_username>/preferences/email.json"

headers = {
    "Content-Type": "multipart/form-data",
    'user-agent': 'my-app/0.0.1',
    'Api-Key': my_token,
    'Api-Username': '<my_username>'

data = {
  "email": "<new_email>"

response = requests.put(update_email, data=data, headers=headers)


Edit: very similar code for setting groups on users etc worked, so the key / username combo (which is a user with admin privileges) works.

Edit 2: I’m guessing from other browsing in the forum that this has to be done directly in the database, (or rather, via the console) which is impossible for us.

Any more thoughts on this? My feeling is that someone with admin access rights should be able to set the e-mail of a person.

How so? I don’t think this is possible with the existing web UI, which defines the API. Therefore it can’t be done.

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You mean that the UX/API should make it possible to set a user’s email address to whatever you want. (Not that you believe that it is currently possible.)

You can initiate a change (via UX and I presume API) by editing their profile and entering the new address, but it won’t be changed until they click the link in their email. Is that good enough? If not, you’ll need to do it from the console or a plugin.

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Whenever I enter something in the UX for editing the e-mail (which I can only access through the direct URL i.e. https://<discourse>/u/<username>/preferences/email, there is no link through the user’s profile) it pops up that I can’t do this after clicking on “Change”:


And this is on my own account as an admin. I don’t get an e-mail.

Reached this point now too…

@pfaffman: you stated that it is possible to change the email address in the profile, but that needs email editable to be set, doesn’t it?

I learn that there is no way for an administrator or administrative API call to initiate a change of the email address unless users are allowed to change their email addresses as well, is there? I can definitely live with a confirmation email being sent and the change having to be authorized by the user.

My use case is that the users will be managed within some other app via the api. So, I don’t want them to change their email addresses by themselves, in discourse only.

Could you implement Single Sign On and make your other app the source of logins?

There is a specific sso setting sso overrides email that does what you are trying to accomplish. If you have sso setup you can then use the sync_sso endpoint and pass in the new email address.


Thank you @blake, that’s challanging but tickling :wink:

I’d have to import the passwords from Discourse to the identity hub … oh my.

Helped my original szenario with a 3-stepper: enable email editable, initiate change of email-address, disable email editable. Which seems a bit oversized, but works.

Will think about the sso szenario.

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