Should we change the lock icon for restricted categories?

It was brought to my attention that the lock icon :lock: appearing next to the names of some categories could be giving the wrong impression.

The lock indicates that a category is accessible to the user but is not accessible to everyone. Access to some categories is based on either group membership or trust level. Access can mean the ability to read, reply, and/or make topics.

However, as far as I know, users who cannot access a category simply don’t see that category at all. Thus, any category with a lock that a user can see is something they can access, but the :lock: icon gives the opposite impression that they are locked out of it and cannot access it.

I have some initial thoughts on potential changes:

  • The unlocked lock emoji :unlock: seems a natural choice, but it doesn’t look that different.
  • Perhaps the key :key: or the eye :eye: might work?
  • It looks like some people use the eye-slash emoji.

Any thoughts on swapping that emoji and/or what might make a good replacement?

Dropping these links here for future reference:


There’s :closed_lock_with_key: or https://fontawesome.com/icons/unlock-alt?style=solid and https://fontawesome.com/icons/lock-open?style=solid

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I’m a fan of
https://fontawesome.com/icons/unlock-alt?style=solid

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I agree with unlock-alt solid from fontawesome. It looks pretty close to the existing icons in style, so it won’t look out of place in the UI. And it’s simplicity of form means it’ll still work well at very small sizes, like in the category listings on the homepage.

unlock-alt-solid

I don’t think lock+plus or lock+eye really add to the meaning.

Let me know if you need help adding it to the theme @MelissaGraham.

@jsick I think I do need help adding it to the theme, please.

Following this meta.discourse.org topic, I think I just have to add this code:

<script type="text/discourse-plugin" version="0.8"> api.replaceIcon('lock', 'unlock-alt'); </script>

to here:

But I can’t find out whether version="0.8" is appropriate for our use case, or how to tell if this icon is already added to our svg icon subset?

Ok, I’ve added it. I implemented it as a component so that when we switch over to a Rubin Observatory-branded theme the change will carry over.

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You may need to refresh/reload to see the change.

Awesome! Thanks @jsick.