View Forum as User X

Just wondering if it possible to have an option where the forum can be viewed as a non-staff member without having to create a separate non-staff account? I feel it would be useful to see the forum through the eyes of members, not to spy on them but to see where the forum needs shoring up.

Doesn’t impersonate user accomplish this?

It does but only the admin account used for initial setup has permission to impersonate others.

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Should this be corrected then?

I have never fully understood the distinction so you would need to,direct that at @sam.

Admin can impersonate anyone except for admins

Developers can impersonate anyone


So my original suggestion stands? Simply impersonate the user that you want to see what they see?

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Yes with the caveat that most admins will not be able to impersonate admins.

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Be aware that impersonating a member may affect some statistics. for that member. eg. “last seen”.

It is as though that member actually logged in and did whatever was done during the impersonation.


Keep in mind, “impersonating” is there mainly as a “debugging” tool, it was never intended to be something you use regularly.


For all the work involved under the hood, plus the moral implications, I would suggest you make that dummy account for your purposes.

I made one for the same exact reason while on SMF 2.0 RC, and it worked well for any situation where I needed to view the forum as a regular member, without compromising a member’s privacy for a reason most would consider trivial.