User Accounts

For obvious reasons, user logins are required to data entry and administrative functions. Conceptually, there are four levels of access:


Should be used by

Grants access to

Is capable of


The public

Publicly available information.

Viewing things, and submitting new ballots/feedback if electronic submission is permitted by the tournament.


Data entry helpers

The assistant area

Entering, confirming and printing ballots and feedback, checking in ballots and people, and displaying the draw.


Chief adjudicators

The administrator and assistant areas

Generating draws, allocating adjudicators and venues, and editing ballots, feedback and adjudicator scores.

Staff and superuser

Tab director

The administrator, assistant and Edit Database areas

Editing the database directly.

If a user account on the tab system belongs to someone who is also a participant in the tournament (e.g., a chief adjudicator), these two capacities are completely separate. User accounts are only used to regulate access to administrative functions. Tabbycat doesn’t know about any relationship between user accounts, and who is participating in the tournament.

Account roles

You should create an account for each person who needs to access the tab system. When you create an account in the Edit Database area, there are checkboxes for Superuser status and Staff access. Superusers have access to the administrator area, and staff have access to the Edit Database area. You should grant permissions as follows:

  • Tab directors should get both superuser and staff status.

  • Chief adjudicators and their deputies should get superuser status, but not staff status.

  • Tab assistants (helping only with data entry) should get neither superuser nor staff status.

Tournament participants (other than tab staff) do not need an account. Everything they need to know can be accessed without an account. If you’re using electronic ballots or electronic feedback, they access these using a URL that only they know (see Private URLs).

When doing data entry, users with superuser status should use the assistant area. The administrator area is intended for managing the tournament, and should not in general be used for data entry. Specifically, the administrator area lacks checks that are important for data integrity assurance. It should be used only to override the normal data entry procedure, for example, to unconfirm or modify a ballot.

The Edit Database interface should not be used except where it is actually necessary. There are a few functions which require this, but as a principle, it shouldn’t be used as a matter of course.


In theory, you could grant an account staff status but not superuser status. But then they’d be allowed to edit the database, but not run the tournament, which would be weird.

Allow users to create accounts.

If you wish to allow select staff to create their own accounts, you can do so:

  1. Go to the Configuration area of any tournament.

  2. Select the Global Settings section.

  3. Specify a secret password for the types of account creation you wish to enable. This should be hard to guess (don’t just use “Admin” or your tournament name).

  4. Provide the password of the desired account type to people needing an account. This password is part of a link to the signup form. This form is available with the URL path /accounts/signup/KEY/, replacing KEY with the password.


It is not possible to create a link that automatically gives super-user access. You should either manually create other superusers, or use the admin interface to promote them once they have created an account this way.

Adding accounts manually.

To add an account:

  1. Go to the Edit Database area of the site.

  2. Under Authentication and Authorization, click the Add link next to Users.

  3. Ask the user to enter a username, password and possibly email address.

    • Only they should know what the password is.

    • If you’re hosting on the internet, all passwords should be at least moderately strong!

    • Passwords are not stored as raw passwords, so you can’t figure out what their password is.

    • The email address is optional.

    • This email address is only used to reset their password if they forget it, and has nothing to do with the email address that Tabbycat uses to send emails to tournament participants (e.g. private URL links).

  4. If they are being assigned superuser and/or staff status, check the relevant boxes.

  5. Click “Save” or “Save and add another”.