TIL: Rails validations can have one or many contexts

In Rails 4.1 and later (see section 7.2 in the release notes) ActiveModel validations can be defined with an on: :some_context modifier. Which will trigger the validation check only when the modifier is passed in to valid? or save. For example:

class Person  
  include ActiveModel::Validations

  attr_accessor :name
  validates_presence_of :name, on: :name_required 
end

person = Person.new  
person.name = ''  
person.valid? # => true  
person.valid?(:name_required) # => false  

If Person < ActiveRecord::Base you can also pass the context into save like so:

person.save #=> true  
person.save(context: :name_required) #=> false  

More than likely if you see this it's a smell and your model is doing too much. But if you must add a layer of complication to your model validations, Rails has it built in.

Documentation:
ActiveModel::Validations#valid?