The community I manage depends on manually approved usergroups for accessing the majority of content. Guests may register, and freely post within a single section of three boards. To gain access to the rest of the site, they must put in a request via the usergroup menu in their user control panel to join a usergroup that allows access to additional content.
There is an addon installed that private messages all managers of usergroups when someone puts in a request to join. They then get this notification which provides a link to the "pending requests" menu for their assigned usergroups and can confirm/deny/ignore the requests. In addition to the first publicly visible usergroup, there are several secondary 'private' groups that get assigned manually to allow access to even more "private" areas of the board.
When it comes down to implementing usergroups to enable features such as avatars, signatures, or any extra bells and whistles; I've never really used usergroups for that.
What I really would like to have is a similar system:
- board administrators can configure a usergroup as one that users can request to join, and have that request queued up for the managers of that group.
- Usergroup join requests are displayed in some area of the user's personalized menu, possibly the 'alerts' dropdown? a private message works but can really bog down a manager's box.
- Instead of a system with just primary/secondary usergroups, I would like to be able to form a parent/child usergroup where the child usergroup can only be joined if a user is already present in the parent usergroup. Until that point the group wouldn't be seen as joinable by a user. You could do some interesting stuff with forum promotions such as registration date, post count, likes, and other things in combination with something like this.
Anyway! As I originally asked: How do you use usergroups on your board(s)?