Access Denied when using Append Changes to Existing Text

A few days ago one of my customer’s reached out to me with a rather perplexing issue.  They have a custom list in SharePoint 2010 with a multiline textbox configured to append changes to existing text.  Whenever a user of the site tried to create or edit an entry in this list they would receive an access denied error. 

Since the user has access to other lists and content in the site it left me with a few possible options:

  1. The list has unique permissions which is causing the access denied error.
  2. A workflow task associated with the list is requiring a higher level of permission.
  3. An event handler associated with the list is requiring a higher level of permission.

The customer responded that none of the above possibilities were true.  The permissions were being inherited, no workflows were associated, and they were not using event handlers.

I was still very confident that this was a simple permissions issue somewhere.  To enable the append changes to existing text option on an textbox you must first enable versioning on the list.   Is it possible that the default permission levels in the site collection were changed, or maybe they are using their own custom permission level?   A quick email and I receive my response.   Yes!   They had created a custom permission level and removed the view versions ability.   Once they added that ability back into their custom permission level the users were able to add and edit items in the list. 

There is an article available on TechNet that can be valuable when dealing with issues related to permission levels. The article lists out all of the default permission levels and their settings.  A quick review of this document can assist an administrator in determining if a site collection owner has made modifications to the out of the box permission levels.

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