Using Cloud Premium and Automation to create a rule to set the Epic Status as part of a rule execution. I added the Epic Status field to my task screen but it doesn't show up. Am I being thwarted by this locked by Jira field? Does it only appear on Epics no matter what you tell it to do?
Yes, that's the whole point of the Epic status field - it applies to the Epic. It's not for other issue types.
They display it in some places, but the value is taken from the Epic they are linked to.
The field is locked to prevent you making the mistake of putting it on other issue types - if you could, you could put yourself in a situation where the issue shows the wrong Epic status.
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