One of These Things is Not Like the Others: Challenge 2 Answer


Well, another week, another weekly challenge. And just like we saw in our first One of These Things is Not Like the Other Challenge, everyone who entered was able to figure it out. That includes Aleksandar N., who isn’t even using Lync Server yet but has still managed to come up with the correct answer to both our weekly challenges. So there you have it: Lync Server PowerShell is so easy to use that even people who don’t use it know all the gory details.


Note. And yes, that would make a great marketing slogan wouldn’t it? Microsoft Lync Server 2010: So Easy to Use That Even People Who Don’t Use It Know All the Gory Details. We’ll bring that up at our next staff meeting.


And it will no doubt end up where all our other suggestions end up.


Last week we showed you the following set of Set-CsConferencingPolicy parameters and asked you to tell us which parameter was not like the others:







And the answer is (for added effect, click here to listen to a drumroll as we unveil the answer): AllowExternalUserControl. Why? Well, as most of you pointed out, AllowExternalUserControl is the only parameter that gets applied on a per-user basis; the other three parameters get applied on a per-conference organizer basis.


What does that mean, and what difference does it make? Well, a policy that gets applied per-user always applies to that user, regardless of the conference he or she is participating in. For example, suppose we’ve applied a conferencing policy to Ken Myer that prohibits external user control, and we’ve applied a second policy to Pilar Ackerman, one that allows external user control. Ken Myer organizes a conference and invites Pilar to take part. Will Ken be allowed external user control? Nope; his conferencing policy prohibits that. Will Pilar be allowed external user control? Yep; that’s because her policy allows her to do that.


OK, now switch things around: this time Pilar organizes a conference and Ken is invited to take part. Will this affect their abilities to allow external user control? No; a per-user policy always applies to the user in question, regardless of the conference he or she is taking part in. Pilar will always be allowed external user control; Ken will never be allowed external user control


Hey, life is tough, right?


Now, let’s compare that to a per-organizer setting, such as AllowPolls. As we’ve seen, a per-user setting affects individual users; that means you could have a conference where some users (like Pilar) are allowed external user control while other users in that very same conference (like Ken) are not. But let’s assume that Ken’s conferencing policy allows polls in conferences but Pilar’s policy does not. This setting affects the conference organizer, which in turn affects every single person in that conference. If Ken organizes a conference then everyone in that conference will be allowed to conduct polls, even Pilar. That’s because the setting only applies to the conference organizer.  And what about a conference that Pilar organizes? In that case, no one will be allowed to conduct polls. Why not? Because AllowPolls applies to the conference organizer, and Pilar is not allowed to conduct polls. That means that polls will not be allowed in any conference organized by Pilar. Period.


It’s a little confusing, yes, but if you play around with it a bit you’ll see how it works. And, on the bright side, it’s the only policy that has this distinction between per-user and per-organizer settings. Which means that you only have to worry about this when you’re configuring conferencing policies.


Note. Good question: how do you know which setting is applied per-user and which is applied per-organizer? Well, as far as we know, the only way to do that is to read the help. And yes, we know: no one likes to read the help. But, as we may have mentioned already, life’s tough sometimes.


As we noted, everyone who submitted an answer came up with the same answer we did: AllowExternalUserControl. That’s outstanding, and we congratulate all of you. On the other hand,  that means all of you think exactly like we do. And yes, you should be afraid of that. Very afraid.


Thank you all for playing along, and remember, Challenge 3 is already up and just waiting for you.


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