how to set logged in user programatically?
I guess one of the many plugins I already have installed is conflicting some way.
I believe this was moved to the centralized permissions page. Select your category from the drop-down and configure which groups can access it.
It is a standard widget that comes with nodebb, you will need to run latest master though or wait for the next release.
There is an issue open to add areas, but for now, you have to add them yourself.
If you just want to change some css, you can use the class that is added to the body tag, and add to the custom css section ike so: